It seems like a bad science fiction movie. You know the story. We are living the story. Our nation, our world is upside down. We have already had and controlled Ebola, HIV/AIDS, MRSA, SARS and other real-life stories. Now we face Coronavirus and await a happy Hollywood type happy ending as we are huddled watching the news in our homes. ‘
The truth is that this is not the first or last time that we are fighting newly evolved viruses and bacteria. We live longer and survive with diseases and conditions that would have killed the last generation only to leave patients with weakened immune systems vulnerable to new diseases. We need to protect these individuals when they return to a contaminated home or workplace.
The People Most Likely to get Ill from a Biological Exposure
• Seniors over the age of 50
• Smokers and Vapors
• Immune compromised individuals
• Respiratory and cardiovascular patients
• Organ transplant recipients
• Chemotherapy patients
• Patients with health threatening injuries or illness
• People with extreme stress
• Caretakers under stress
It’s All About the Data
Dr Fauci and Dr. Birx are the medical leaders and public face of the amazing array of talented and dedicated professionals pulling us through the pandemic.
Figuring out how to solve the worldwide Coronavirus crisis is why the data is needed by the medical professionals working to save as many lives as possible. Who is sick? How it is transmitted? Who gets well? and What treatments work? are the critical questions where data being shared across the globe.
Disinfection of Buildings is Not “One and Done” It is a Process and a Battle
The first visitor to a building after a complete disinfection can contaminate the building as if it was never cleaned. Maintaining a safe and healthy environment is a shared responsibility for occupant and visitor alike. Communication is key to achieving that goal.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Methods
The first and most critical step in a disinfection program is a cleaning of touchpoints. This is referred to as “Deep Cleaning.” Simply spraying a treatment is not enough to kill viruses. Contaminates live withing biofilm and other dirt and debris that coats every object in a building. Wipe down and clean equipment, supplies, carpeting and other exposed surfaces and contents prior to treatment. Dust, skin oil, and stacked objects reduce the effectiveness of any treatment.
ULV (Ultra Low Volume) Fogging is a method of applying droplets of disinfectant to the surfaces in a room. This is best described as a humidifier like you would use in a room for a child with a respiratory problem on steroids. It is far more effective than spraying with a pump spray. This distribution is mostly straight line in the direction the equipment is pointed.
Electrostatic Sprayers were the next generation of disinfection equipment. These units create much smaller droplets that have a static electric charge that not only dissipates the disinfection product, but makes it better wrap around and cling to surfaces
“Touchless Disinfection” is the new a “hospital grade” answer to fighting serious disease contagions. Products, equipment and system for this method include Halosil and Steramist. These particles are even finer than created by Electrostatic Sprayers. The disadvantage is that the applicator can’t be in the area being treated. The equipment is set in each room and the room must be completely sealed. Entry to the room can only be made after the treatment is complete and the product has dissipated. This make this effective treatment difficult to accomplish in large facilities.
Set Expectations of Disinfection of Buildings at the Front Door
The first visitor to a building after a complete disinfection can contaminate the building as if it was never cleaned. Maintaining a safe and healthy environment is a shared responsibility for occupant and visitor alike. Communication is key to achieving that goal.
Post signage indicating that infection control measures must be followed at entrances.
Locally, the effort of Giant Eagle Supermarkets to install clear plexiglass screens between the customers and checkout staff is an excellent example of setting the tone for protecting all people who enter the store. That effort communicates that they want and expect all of us to keep each other safe while in their buildings.
Signage can begin as follows:
This is a building where infection control is necessary for the health of the staff and visitors
• Please use the hand sanitizer you will find at the front door as you enter the building.
• Masks can be found in a box at the front door. Please use a mask while in this building.
• Please do not shake hands with staff. It is not that we are unfriendly in this building. We care about you and our staff and wish all good health.
• Please wash hands after use of restroom facilities and before handling any food, beverage or equipment that will be shared with others. Examples of shared items include copiers, phones, and other equipment.
Educate all staff to basic practices as to the ways you can reduce or slow the spread of infections:
• Wash your hands frequently. Use paper towels or hand dryers. If leaving a restroom, use the paper towel to open the door to leave the room after hand washing.
• Stay home if you are sick (so you do not spread the illness to other people).
• Wipe all commonly used equipment before use. This includes phones, copiers, flashlights, shared desks, fountains, handles on appliances, faucets, etc
• Shared autos and trucks are shared close environments in which almost every surface is a touch point and not typically sanitized. This includes steering wheels, door handles, radios, dials, controls and equipment. These should be sanitized.
• Use a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand. Turn away from other people when sneezing, coughing, hacking.
• Use single-use tissues. Dispose of the tissue immediately. Do not leave sitting out for reuse.
• Wash or sanitize your hands after coughing, sneezing or using tissues.
• Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth (viruses can transfer from your hands and into the body).
• Do not share cups, glasses, dishes or cutlery. Paper plates, plastic silverware and disposable cups are suggested.
Understand and Combat Common Disease Transfer Methods
Airborne - coughs or sneezes release airborne pathogens, which are then inhaled by others. We now know that the minimum safe space is about 6 feet.
Contaminated objects or food – We now know that the virus can live on most surfaces. That includes all touch points and items that include bags, papers, doorknobs, light switches and anything else you may touch.
Skin-to-skin contact - the transfer of virus can occur through touch, or by sharing personal items, clothing or objects. The data tells us to ban handshakes.
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“Happy New Year” is a message brought to you by dozens of “start your diet” ads in every modern form of media. TV, radio, print and social media advertisers will endlessly pitch ways to slim down and get healthy by buying their programs.
Here is something to think about. We all eat maybe 3, 4, or 5 times a day. On the other hand, according to WebMD we breathe about 23,000 times a day. Going a little further, we can skip a day of eating. Things would not go as well if we skipped a day of breathing.
We are keenly aware of the health risks of a bad diet. On the other hand, we are often less aware that we have people with debilitating and often undiagnosed illnesses such as CIRS and MCS due to environmental illness. We are exposed to air borne contaminants that cause cancer, respiratory disease, asthma and countless other afflictions.
We look to the New Year for a fresh start and better times. Why not include our indoor air quality in that time of renewal?
Functional Medicine has evolved to help diagnose environmental illness, but we need to avoid those exposures in our homes. “Avoidance” is now considered an important medical treatment. The problem is that we need to know what to avoid in this world of more and more pollutants in everyday household items.
Indoor air health risks include dust, mold, bacteria, volatile compounds from fragrances and cleaners, formaldehyde, pet dander, dust mites, radon, carbon monoxide and a host of other exposures. Our energy saving technologies have reduced the fresh air in our homes while at the same time manufacturers have added toxins to thousands of consumer and construction products.
Dust is a Major Culprit in Poor Indoor Air Quality
We often don’t realize that common house dust is home to mold, dust mites, bacteria, pollen and allergens. Accumulated dust just sneaks up on you day by day, year by year. It hides in carpet, cabinets, books and your furniture. When a person is ill, it’s more difficult to do regular cleaning which makes a bad dust and particle problem worse.
The process of professionally cleaning a home is referred to as “deep cleaning” and is an important tool in mold remediation and reducing many environmental toxics including lead. It should be done using containment, specialized exhaust equipment, air filtration and personal protection for the people performing that work.
Many mold remediation firms shortcut proper treatment and simply spray or fog using toxic chemicals without first cleaning mold and allergens from surfaces. Failing to clean and remove the existing contamination is a primary cause of continued environmental illness after failed remediations.
Secrets to Reducing Dust, Mold and Allergens
• Use a dampened cloth to dust
• Use a Swifter with a spray on hard surface floors
• Use vacuums with HEPA filters built in
• Store items in plastic containers instead of cardboard boxes
• Reduce clutter that can attract dust
• Use HEPA room air filters, especially in bedrooms
• Regularly change furnace filters
• Clean items before bringing into living spaces from storage areas
• Replace appliance filters
• Run a dehumidifier in damp areas
• Ventilate bathrooms, kitchens, attics and basements
VOC’s and Other Indoor Air Toxins You Actually Buy and Bring Home
We live in a world of chemicals. Some are products to clean, some to make things smell, some to make things work better and others to make our homes look pretty. Many of these thousands of chemicals can make some of us very ill.
Synthetic fragrances are in almost every cleaning or laundry product, air fresheners or personal care product. They are often added to packaging to entice consumers to select a product. The organic chemicals are not tested for their effect on people or listed on the packages. Select any product that has an odor and look up the MSDS for that product. In almost all instances internet search will reveal a list of chemicals you will not be able to pronounce or know how they will affect your health.
Furniture, cabinets, flooring and plastic materials usually have chemicals that off-gas in the home. Everything from plastic children’s toys to artificial Christmas trees can be a source of lead dust. Many cosmetics and personal care products have been found to have asbestos and almost all have VOCs.
Secrets to Reducing VOC Contamination
• Look for fragrance-free or naturally scented cleaning and laundry products.
• Switch to mild cleaners that don't include artificial fragrances.
• Stop using aerosol sprays such as deodorants, hair sprays, carpet cleaners, furniture polish, and air fresheners.
• Avoid products manufactured overseas without environmental oversight
• Identify and remove things and products with odors from you home
• Ventilate the home, fresh air reduces indoor air pollutants
• Remove paints, gasoline and pesticides from indoor storage in your home
Check for Mold to Make your Home a Healthier Place
Walk through your home and check for water leaks and mold. These can sneak up on any homeowner. A tiny leak can cause a big mold problem over time. The earlier leaks are found, the less damage they cause and the easier they are to correct.
The most susceptible areas for mold in the home include finished basements, crawl spaces, areas with dirt floors, interior french drains, attics, areas with any leaks and areas that are not heated in cold weather. Homes with foam insulation systems and energy star construction are also extremely likely to harbor hidden mold. Professional mold assessments are a good idea if you have any of these conditions and any family members with health issues.
[b]Improve Your Home's Environment in the New Year
These suggestions will make you feel better in your home. It is your castle and should be the very best it can be. Take a couple of weekends and pick from the list of chores that can make your home healthier.
Merry Christmas and please pass the antihistamine or inhaler---‘tis the season for asthma and allergies. Like Aunt Helen’s twice re-gifted fruit cake, sneezing and congestion are simply not welcome guests at the family holiday celebration. For those suffering with CIRS or MCS, the joy can be interrupted with severe reactions and a tough choice between the beauty of Christmas, and their health.
Smack in the middle of Christmas debate is often the choice of a real or artificial Christmas trees, wreaths and other decorations. Which is better “real” or “artificial” is one of those questions that the answer is a resounding: “that depends, but let me explain.” The bottom line is that you want the “beauty of Christmas” and not the allergens to take your breath away.
If you want a quick clue as to how complicated the issue is, you need to know more about the first artificial tree. In the 1930’s, the Addis Brush Company created the first artificial-brush trees using the same machinery as they used to make toilet brushes. The Addis 'Silver Pine' tree was actually patented in 1950. Now, does a toilet brush go into the healthy or unhealthy category?
Why Allergies and Asthma Spike During Holidays
Stored holiday items can be a source of mold growth. Fiberglass and other insulation particles, dust and mold from storage areas and other allergens can get into improperly stored holiday heirlooms. Even tightly sealed boxes can attract mice and insects, each contributing to the allergen and germ categories. Yuck !
There has been an increase in the number of people affected with asthma and allergies spiking during the holidays. Obviously, Christmas comes at a time of year when homes are most likely to be closed up to protect from winter weather. Many homes are built with wet crawl spaces and improper venting systems. With tighter construction, attic and basement storage areas are often full of mold.
Fortunately, the suffering from Christmas allergies can be avoided with a few tips on proper selection, storage and care of holiday trees and decorations whether they are artificial or real.
Storage and Allergen Prevention Tips
• Start by selecting moisture and dirt, dust and insect free areas for holiday decoration storage.
• Clean stored items with a damp cloth before storage. Dirt supports the growth of mold.
• Store trees, decorations and other materials in plastic bins, or wrap in plastic bags, not cardboard. Cardboard holds moisture and is a food source for mold.
• Control humidity in storage areas. Dehumidify basement storage areas and install fans controlled with humidistat in attics.
• If the stored items from last year are already covered with mold and dust, place them in plastic bags or bins before carrying them through the house. Dragging mold and other allergens through the house can spread mold and allergens.
• Once out of storage, take the contaminated items outside of the home or into a garage to unpack them.
• Fresh cut trees or stored items can have dust blown off them using a leaf blower or they be can be hosed down with a garden hose. If you use a leaf blower, wear a mask. Both methods remove mold, dust, and some of the lead dust usually found on artificial trees and decorations.
• Discard contaminated packing and bring the cleaned items into the home.
• If your holiday items were covered with mold and dust, change the conditions in the storage area. Mold growing in the storage areas will affect the air quality in the main home all year around.
• Do not spray materials with pesticide no matter how grossed out you are by the bugs. The poisons designed to kill bugs will damage people’s health. Plain soap and water will safely and effectively remove insect and rodent contamination.
The Live Versus Artificial Christmas Tree Debate
In this corner, we have live Christmas trees and decorations. Live Christmas trees are a crop. The National Christmas Tree Association states that the average Christmas tree is 7 years old when harvested. That would mean that the tree was producing oxygen to improve the environment for 7 years. Those trees require care, thereby creating American jobs.
One disadvantage of live Christmas trees is that they require replacement every year. That cost may be greater than the cost of an artificial tree across its lifetime. There is also the issue that Christmas trees need properly disposed of each year. The good news is that they can be turned into mulch.
In the other corner are artificial Christmas trees and decorations
Artificial trees are light to carry and easy to assemble. It is the only option for people who can’t handle the work of a live tree.
According to the US Commerce Department, 80% of artificial trees are manufactured and shipped from China. That would be Chinese jobs created.
Artificial Christmas trees, tree lights and plastic decorations have been subject to warnings about lead. Lead is added to PVC during manufacture to make the plastic more pliable when hanging strings of light or adjusting tree limbs. That lead is a soft material will easily fall from the products containing it when they are handled Lead is a serious health hazard, particularly to children.
The process of manufacturing the PVC creates the toxic chemical dioxin, which is also released if the plastic is burned during disposal.
“Christmas Bonus” Healthy Indoor Air Tips
• Given a choice, it is better to place trees and decorations in areas of hard surface floors such as wood as opposed to carpet. These floors are easier to clean and hold fewer allergens.
• The use of a quality air cleaner such as a HEPA filter can provide immediate indoor air improvement by removing the circulating allergens.
• We want our homes to smell like Christmas. Many of those “plug in” scents contain synthetic esters and formaldehyde. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology states that “we know that asthmatics are clearly sensitive to odors and fumes; therefore it would not be unexpected that air fresheners could trigger asthmatic episodes.” Bake a pie or use potpourri as an alternative to the artificial scents.
No matter which type of tree and decorations you select, have a happy, allergy and asthma free holiday.
[/url]Click Here to Download Christmas Can Bring Allergies Along With Good Cheer Article
Welcome “Back to School” Mold
In thousands of homes and on social media posts across the land, you saw the annual notice heralding the end of summer vacation: “Summer is over and the kids are back in school”. Some will cry, some will cheer, some will only shrug their shoulders. No matter what we do or say, every school year, the emotion, and the back to school sales come to an end and attention shifts to the students actually being in school.
That is “all as it should be” with each new school year. The sad news is that the “welcome back student” message has been accompanied with too many news stories about mold being found in our nation’s schools. It is not an accident that “National Mold Awareness Month” is September.
The bottom line on this is that parents DO NOT want their child sick because they go to school. Our schools that have mold are like the “Jaws” movies. Just when you think it is safe to return, we find out that it is “not so safe.”
When we experience any school environmental issue such as mold, it can be front page headlines, TV, talk show fodder and Facebook news feed material.
Environmental issues in schools are not “just another student health issue”. These problems are a public relations nightmare, a staff human relations mine field, a facility management challenge, a budget buster, a political fiasco and a liability time bomb.
Signs of Mold in School
If a school is flooded or has leaks that are not quickly cleaned up, there will be mold. Whether it is a roof leak, plumbing leak or any other area of wet surfaces, you can count on mold growing.
Parents should take a look around their child’s school. Water stains are the target to look for. Fuzzy or splotchy areas are the bullseye in the search for suspected mold. These can be in almost any area of a building anywhere from the highest ceiling to the lowest floor.
In addition to the visual indicators of mold presence, odor can be indicator. When the odor of mold is in the school or on a child’s clothes, books, papers or possessions, mold should be investigated as a source of the offensive smell.
Sewage backups, leaks and all floods also have a host of water borne diseases and contaminants. When these occur, a professionally conducted disinfection must be conducted even when mold is not visible. Even a little dust left in an obscure corner after the flood is gone can enter through a cut in a student’s hand or their lungs long after the water is gone if the areas has not been disinfected.
Mold is a Science Project
Though not part of the approved school curriculum, mold that is found in the school is really a science experiment. Anywhere on earth that there is food and water, something will grow. It can be the deepest ocean or highest mountain. It can be the north pole or south pole or anywhere in between. That scientific fact is that books, paper, wood floors, drywall, dust, or any other material or any other substrate that can grow mold will grow mold within 48 hours of leaks or high moisture occurring.
The most common sources of mold problems in a school are:
• Roof, wall foundation or other leaks from the exterior
• Plumbing leaks
• Malfunctioning or poorly designed HVAC Systems
• Condensation issues caused by improper temperatures and humidity being maintained
The first step in preventing recurrence of mold is determining the conditions that were mold conducive. If mold grew in a school over the summer because the air conditioning was not run, or there are roof leaks, or any other reason, it will return if the cause of mold is not corrected.
Failure to correct the underlying cause of environmental hazards as well as the hazard itself, is a waste of money, and serves to mislead parents, administration and faculty into believing that the school mold environment is safe. In school we learned to consider both cause and effect. The same applies in the process of creating healthy indoor air quality.
Schools Can Get Help to Keep our Children Safe from Mold
The EPA provides great online tools available to learn the issues and solutions to mold problems. These are great general guidelines, but can’t address individual conditions. Mold problems are often complicated by being the result of several underlying conditions that require expertise in multiple construction fields.
Unfortunately, learning to use and to then implement these tools is often much tougher than obtaining them. Professional assistance is a good option to get an environmental awareness and mold prevention program up and running properly. Once established, existing staff can usually keep the program running.
Usually an indoor air quality (IAQ) program process starts with an initial site assessment, or information gathering session. The environmental risks are evaluated and appropriate tests then conducted. These could include mold and allergen testing. If there was flooding or sewage backups, testing for a number of common infectious diseases should be added.
An educational staff can’t be expected to have the full knowledge to implement a program, but often, once in place, the good health of school occupants can be maintained through the corrections and adjustments made in the facility. There are several companies that have assessment and monitoring programs that include a yearly Indoor Air Quality Certificate for posting after the assessment and completion of any appropriate testing and corrections.
School district participation in an environmental awareness and preventive care program can pay for itself in lower medical costs, lower property repair costs and better long term health of students and staff. The other benefit is “peace of mind” for parents, particularly in schools that have had prior mold problems.
Go to www.InspectorLab.com for infomation about testing for mold in your child's school, homes or other places where we want our famlies safe and healthy
For additional links, resources and information about Mold in Schools , go to: www.Envirospect.info/MoldinSchools
The roofing manufacturers recommend that the nails penetrate at LEAST 3/4" into sheathing. If the sheathing is less than 3/4" they will penetrate through the roof
That being said. a hard hat may be a better solution than snipping nails.
Yes, locally we have an ASHI chapter and I belonged.
After 35 years as a home inspector, I "retired" to be only an environmental inspector, and remain an honorary member of the chapter (thanks to the chapter) Sharing on local news, issues, etc will help you.
You should connect with RWS and start out with their Recallchek and Warranty programs to give you credulity nd a safety net so that people can hire "the new guy" without fear
The RWS TOP group and Mike Crow are good sources for help with growth. Either one can give you the tools and systems to succeed
So .....why not use a piece of paper and pen to do the mapping? Thirty five years ago, when we moved into the home that we raised our family of 6 children in, I completely replaced wiring, plumbing, heating. I added speaker, cable and phone wire into each of 14 rooms. I THOUGHT I was smart enough to remember all of the locations of all of the mechanicals I ran. I was a brilliant young man ...how could I forget?
Fast forward...35 years.....beats me how I hid all of those pipes, cable and wires.....boy i was good at hiding them.
Get out a pad and pencil....room by room write it up with hand sketches....save yourself from a learning curve of learning the technology. By the time you need it, whatever media you use will be out of date. .......don't believe me? If I had done it 35 years ago, it would have been on 5" floppies (look up what those were on Wikipedia)
Paper? Pen? its still all good.
If I were wanting to start in the home inspection business, and wanted the best possible start, I would go to Mike Casey's school.
If I did not want to go to California, I would go to Carson-Dunlap https://www.carsondunlop.com/home-inspector-training/
The education is complete as written by a couple of the first training people in the industry. I know and respect some of the best talent in the inspection industry who have been trained by each of them. Their leadership has been the core of the culture that has made home inspections a good living to raise and educate a family
We were discussing the toxic contamination that cooking Meth leaves in a home and how to test for the residue in my Advanced Environmental Class.
The importance of testing for Meth when it is suspected? It can be toxic to new and unsuspecting occupants of a building. Take a look at the ingredients below. Can you imagine what exposure to even trace amounts could do to a young child?
I have had cases where it has made persons in apartments proximate to the cooking Meth ill. One case my first hint was that the Drug Enforcement Agency was the three sign ins before me. The tub drain was rotted out and porcelain was worn from the bathtub in that residence.
Let me also mention that the mix is generally made by less than laboratory qualified personnel in unsanitary conditions by individuals that may be in an altered state of mind….from toxic ingredients.
THE STORY IN METH: Methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth or meth, is a highly addictive drug. It is an artificial substance made from very toxic materials, which can cause serious harm or death when handled or inhaled. Methamphetamine is typically ingested, snorted, smoked or injected. Although there are different formulas used to create meth, there are some main ingredients that are consistent. Most ingredients are extremely flammable and can be lethal.
What are the common toxic ingredients in crystal meth?
• Acetone- This is found in nail polish remover and paint thinners
• Lithium- From batteries
• Toluene- solvent used as fuel additive, in paint thinners, nail polish, brake cleaner
• Hydrochloric acid- Highly corrosive mineral acid used to remove rust from steel and refine metal
• Pseudoephedrine- found in cold medications
• Red Phosphorus- found in explosives such as road flares and on matchboxes
• Sodium hydroxide- also known as lye, in drain cleaners
• Sulfuric acid- found in toilet bowl and drain cleaners
• Anhydrous ammonia- found in fertilizer and countertop cleaner
• Lantern fuel or lighter fluid
• Ether found in starting fluid
• Iodine crystals
Cold and antihistamine medications (that include pseudoephedrine and ephedrine) are necessary as a main ingredient in meth production.
(Join us for our class to learn about identifying and testing for environmental hazards in real estate and buildings with Sick Building Syndrome)
Your best marketing is free.
It is how you treat your clients, it is your deliverables, how your report looks, your visibility in the community
It is how you are dressed, your respect for people's homes and how you speak.
Are you pleasant? Best marketing is a smile and making people know you care abut them and their family
Do you like to shop in a dirty store , or go into a business with crabby or unpleasant people ....neither do home inspection clients
YOU and the environment you create are the key to your success no matter how much you spend.....but yes, it is very wise and essential to spend on marketing in good times and bad.
This is a great idea to do. If there is low flow or pressure at a home, the future residents will be irritated every time they turn on a spigot
If you don't tell them about it, it is "the inspectors fault". If you do tell them about it, "its the sellers fault".
Yep, out of SOP, right in
the middle of buyers irritation zones. I'm with you Mike ! Do it, SOP or not, especially when you notice pressure/flow issues
I have always had fun with the question for buyers......Where's the water pressure higher? 200 feet from the water tower, or 2 mies away at the the homes along the river?
Answer: Down in the low area near the river. Water pressure is made by the difference in height from the water in the tank to the open spigot
The diference is 1/2 PSI per foot of difference
The water pressure in a 2nd floor bathroom, 16' higher than the basement laundry tray woud be 8 PSI less
That can get some buyers scratching theiir heads.......
I am on just about every environmental health feed. This one on US Public water was published today
Link below and story below that :
Unsafe Water Found in Faucets Across the U.S.
By Serena Gordon
MONDAY, Feb. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Flint, Mich., isn't the only American city where the water hasn't been safe to drink, new research suggests.
Almost 8 percent of community water systems are plagued by health-based violations of water quality standards in any given year, the study found. That meant up to a quarter of all Americans were affected.
"Generally, the U.S. has high-quality water," said study author Maura Allaire. "But health-related violations do extend well beyond Flint. When I dug into the data, I saw about 21 million people were receiving water from systems that didn't meet standards in 2015.
"In terms of hot spots in the country, rural communities and rural low-income communities in Oklahoma and Texas are really struggling," said Allaire, an assistant professor of urban planning and public policy at the University of California, Irvine.
"They lack the technical capacity of larger systems, and have small customer bases, which means they can't afford the latest and greatest technologies. And they often have only a part-time technician monitoring their water systems," she explained.
In total, violations affected between 9 million and 45 million people in the United States during each year the researchers studied. That's between 4 percent and 28 percent of the U.S. population.
So what exactly is in the water?
"In terms of what's being reported to the Environmental Protection Agency, the vast majority are microbial concerns," Allaire said.
Coliform bacteria, found in the feces of humans and animals, were the germs most often found. Generally, coliform bacteria don't cause illness. But they often indicate the presence of other contaminants that may cause illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Other contaminants found in water systems included viruses and the parasites cryptosporidium and Giardia lamblia, the study reported.
Waterborne microbial illnesses often cause abdominal cramping, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea and, if severe enough, dehydration, the CDC says.
Water quality was also tainted by chemical contamination, along with excess arsenic, lead and copper.
Nitrates were also a common contaminant in water systems, the study found. Nitrates can occur naturally, but excess levels of nitrates can occur as a result of contamination from chemical fertilizers, septic systems, animal feedlots, industrial waste or food processing waste, the CDC says.
The study found that areas that purchase their water were less likely to experience contamination, Allaire said.
"It may be that they're able to afford more robust treatment techniques," she said.
Ensuring safe drinking water is likely becoming more difficult in many communities due to aging infrastructure and shrinking budgets, the study noted.
Jennifer Li, the interim senior advisor of public health programs at the National Association of County and City Health Officials, agreed.
"A big challenge is the aging or decaying infrastructure of the old water main lines -- usually made of concrete or fired clay. Small fissures in the pipes allow contaminants and biologicals like Legionella into the water system post-treatment and present a public health risk to recipients," Li said.
Li said investing in infrastructure would help improve water safety. She also suggested that there should be more transparency in the water testing and reporting procedures. Depending on the contaminant, water systems have between one and 30 days to let the public know.
Both Li and Allaire said it's important to follow any notifications you receive from your water system, such as a "boil water" notification.
Li also recommended having emergency water supplies on hand. For example, one gallon of water per person and pet, per day, as well as a camping filter for water to remove contaminants.
Allaire said that merging and consolidating water systems might help ensure quality drinking water because a larger system would likely have more resources available.
But, she said, right now each municipality usually has its own system, so consolidating systems might meet resistance because doing so could have political ramifications.
The study included data from nearly 18,000 community water systems. The data spanned 1982 to 2015.
The findings were published Feb. 12 in the journal PNAS.
Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Yes Run water at least a minute before use is the recommendation for lead in the house supply plumbing
The lead in the main supply lines is not so easy ....hence the Flint Michigan ad other major city problems
Ingestion of lead damages neural systems (lower IQ , behavuor issues ) and is not reversable
It most effects children under the age of 6 and pregnant women as the body mistakes the lead for calcium and more readily absorbs it
Most filters do not capture lead, Reverse Osmosis equipment to treat drinking water is the best household methjod for lead in water lines
(The article I attached in the post with the pictures deos a great job of explaiing what you need to know if a client asks you about lead in water or problems with municiple water supply like the phalate issues)
Here are a couple more lead water line pictures. Many of our cities still have lead main water supply lines. That was the next material fro water lines after steel pipe that rusted.
The City of Pittsburgh, still has a few lines made of wood.....which predated the steel lines
The problem is that as we change chemistry in some water treatment systems, the chemicals to kill organisms create other chemicals that need addressed with more chemicals that ....can react to free lead into the drinking water.
I will also attach an article you can use to share with any of your clients that ask about Lead and other contaminants in water ...Like Flint Michigan
Another option is a webpage on the subject you can share http://www.envirospect.com/SafeDrinkingWater
Identifying and cleaning touchpoints is the best practice to control the spread of germs in homes, schools, and businesses. Touchpoints are the places where germs can sit and wait to infect the next person.
The “handshake” is the ultimate touchpoint where we transfer communicable diseases to each other in the name of greeting each other. We do this ritual everywhere from the workplace, and grocery store to our houses of worship. In times of communicable diseases, the elbow bump makes a lot more sense than the handshake.
Other common touchpoints are light switches, doorknobs, the back of chairs, restaurant menus, faucet and refrigerator handles. Less obvious touchpoints are the food storage container, the juice bottle, the top of a chair you pull out or the kitchen counter. Use the office microwave or use a grocery store cart? Well, you get the picture.
In the cases where someone in a home has a serious illness such as C-Diff or MRSA, every linen, TV remote or candy dish they touched can be the source of reinfection. The more serious the illness and worse the immune system of occupants, the more critical disinfection of a property becomes to stop the spread of an illness.
The good news is that there are some excellent disinfection systems and programs that were originally designed for medical facilities that are now available for use in any type of property. Once we identify a risk, we can implement effective solutions for just about every cause of Sick Building Syndrome.
Suggestions for Stopping the Spread of Illness in the Home
It is really, really hard to pay attention to details and healthy practices when we are sick with a nasty bug. The only way this works in most households is to put these habits into practice before there is a sick person in the home. If you don’t have disposable plates and cups in the cupboard before illness, you are not going to the store to buy them after you are tending the sick.
• Get available vaccines
• Wash or disinfect your hands frequently
• Use paper or disposable plates and cups
• Use disposable tissues as opposed to handkerchiefs
• Have ill household members wear a mask to protect from spreading their illness
• Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth (viruses can transfer from your hands and into the
• Have children only handle toys that can be easily disinfected before being shared
Suggestions for Stopping the Spread of Illness in the Workplace
The best solution is to have a plan in place before dealing with the illness and human resource challenges that a sick workforce can bring to a professional organization. There are consultants that can set programs in place that can work for just about any facility. It is a matter of their establishing a system of communicating responsibility and direction for the workforce.
• Create and communicate an infection control plan.
• Use signage to remind visitors and co-workers of best practices
• Wipe and disinfect all touchpoint surfaces and workspaces each day
• Provide soap, sanitizing wipes and boxes of tissue at convenient locations
• Put hand sanitizer and masks at the entries to the facilities
• Remove magazines and papers from waiting areas or common rooms
• Verify that ventilation and air filter systems are working properly.