Saturday, October 11, 2014

Asbestos , Huntington Beach Schools, 1300 students with no where to go

A beleaguered Huntington Beach school district has now closed three of its campuses because of an asbestos scare, leaving 1,300 students without a school to attend.

The three grade schools have been closed since last Monday when parents learned that their children could have been exposed to potentially carcinogenic asbestos while the Ocean View School District worked to modernize school sites.

Since then, hundreds of parents have been uncertain when and where their children would return to the classroom.

The school district is losing about $63,000 a day in state funds because students cannot attend class.

About 100 families have requested that their children be transferred to schools in other districts.

"There's no way I can trust my son is going to be safe there anymore," said parent Lily Coffin, who said she hoped to move her son to the neighboring Huntington Beach City School District.

District trustees voted during a special meeting last week to close Lake View, Hope View and Oak View elementary schools for the week, while classrooms were cleaned and tested to make sure they were free of potentially carcinogenic asbestos dust. Lake View was later closed indefinitely, and now the district has decided to keep the other two schools closed indefinitely as well.

"Recently, we received information from our consultants and experts that it is not in the best interest of students and staff to reopen these three schools until we obtain additional information," said Gustavo Balderas, Ocean View's superintendent.

While the district has determined it can move students from Lake View to other campuses in the district, it’s unclear what will happen with the 1,300 students from the other campuses.

Ocean View officials have said they were aware that asbestos has been in their schools for decades. However, parents became upset when they learned the district may have been removing the material as part of a large-scale modernization project while students were present.

Ongoing testing revealed there was asbestos in two classrooms at Lake View, while a single asbestos fiber was found in a classroom at Hope View. Test results from Oak View were inconclusive, officials said.

The district said it will test for asbestos during the next several weeks at all 11 schools in the district. The cost of the tests is about $700,000, said Assistant Supt. Roni Ellis.

Construction has been suspended at every school until the summer and the district, along with Cal/OSHA, is investigating whether contractors continued to remove asbestos while students were in classrooms, which would violate state law.

Ocean View officials could not yet provide an estimate of the number of families who have applied for transfers.

The loss of state funds and the cost of asbestos removal could leave the district in financial trouble. Officials said they may end up asking the state to help with costs.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that until the 1970s was widely used in building products and insulation materials. The fibers can be released into the air during demolition work, repairs and remodeling, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

When Lake View, Oak View and Hope View schools were built decades ago, asbestos was used as fireproofing on metal beams above the ceiling. Over time, the dust began to fall from the beams and settle on top of classroom ceiling tiles, district records show.

Though coming into contact with asbestos that hasn't been disturbed isn't harmful, it becomes a hazard when the dust becomes airborne, said Steven Viani, a registered civil engineer and engineering contractor with experience in asbestos and other hazardous materials.

Inhaling high levels of the dust can increase the risk of lung disease that isn't detected until years later, including a type of cancer called mesothelioma, experts say.

Teachers have expressed concern that they weren't notified about the asbestos above the tiles and said the district should have placed signs restricting access to limit the risk of the dust becoming airborne.

hannah.fry@latimes.com
Twitter: 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Biohazardous and Medical Waste Overview

Learn how to identify and properly dispose of biohazardous and medical waste.
County and state laws strictly regulate the packaging and disposal of biological waste generated by research and patient care. Disposal procedures depend on whether the waste is classified as biohazardous or medical waste.
  • Biohazardous waste, also called infectious waste (such as blood, body fluids, and human cell lines), is waste contaminated with potentially infectious agents or other materials that are deemed a threat to public health or the environment.
  • Medical waste is waste generated in labs or clinical settings that is not contaminated, but could appear hazardous to outsiders.

Disposal methods

Contamination determines the disposal method:
  • Contaminated biohazard waste must be collected by a licensed biohazardous waste hauler.
  • Non-contaminated waste can be disposed of as medical waste.
See How to Package and Dispose of Biohazardous and Medical Waste for detailed disposal instructions.

Biohazardous waste

Biohazardous waste includes the following categories:
  • Sharps, including but not limited to hypodermic needles, blades, and slides. For more information on recognizing sharps, read How to Dispose of Sharps.
  • Dry biohazardous waste
    • Contaminated cultures, petri dishes, and other culture flasks
    • Infectious agents
    • Wastes from bacteria, viruses, spores, or live and attenuated vaccines
    • Waste contaminated with excretion, exudates, or secretations from infectious humans or animals
    • Paper towels, Kim wipes, bench paper, or any other items contaminated with biohazard materials
  • Liquid biohazardous waste
    • Human or animal blood
    • Human or animal blood elements
    • Human or animal bodily fluids or semi-liquid materials
  • Human anatomical specimens

Medical waste

Medical waste includes the following:
  • Non-contaminated paper towels, wipes, and gloves
  • Non-contaminated cultures, petri dishes, and other culture flasks
  • Non-contaminated syringes (no needles!)
  • Decontaminated (i.e., autoclaved) dry biohazard waste
  • Empty specimen containers
  • Bandages or dressing containing dry blood or body fluids
  • Trace chemotherapy waste, including empty containers and IV tubing
  • Animal carcasses and body parts
  • Any material resulting from medical care that is not biohazardous
  • Any equipment used in a biomedical lab that could appear hazardous
Notice: Disposal of hazardous waste using sinks, intentional evaporation, or as regular trash is against the law. Campus laboratories must abide by strict state and federal waste disposal requirements. You may be held liable for violations of applicable laws.

Asbestos - Tremolite-asbestos, California. Asbestos is a term ......

Chrysotile and amphibole asbestos (such as tremolite) occur naturally in certain geologic settings in California, most commonly in association with ultramafic rocks and along associated faults. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and inhalation of asbestos may result in the development of lung cancer or mesothelioma. The asbestos contents of many manufactured products have been regulated in the U.S. for a number of years. For example, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has regulated the amount of asbestos in crushed serpentinite used in surfacing applications, such as for gravel on unpaved roads, since 1990. In 1998 new concerns were raised about possible health hazards from activities that disturb rocks and soil containing asbestos and may result in the generation of asbestos laden dust. These concerns recently lead to CARB to revise their asbestos limit for crushed serpentinite and ultramafic rock in surfacing applications from 5 percent to less than 0.25 percent, and to adopt a new rule requiring best practices dust control measures for activities that disturb rock and soil containing naturally occurring asbestos.
tremolite-asbestosAsbestos - Tremolite-asbestos, California. Asbestos is a term used for a group of silicate minerals that occur as asbestiform fibers having high tensile strength, flexibility, and heat and chemical resistance. Tremolite is a hydrous calcium magnesium silicate with the chemical formula Ca2Mg5Si8O22(OH)2 . Tremolite can occur in a variety of crystal shapes and sometimes occurs as asbestiform fibers. Click on image for larger view.  
The California Geological Survey (CGS)  provides information on the geology of asbestos occurrences in California to a number of state, local and federal agencies, private industry, consultants and the public. CGS's recent projects related to asbestos  include the following:.....

http://www.conservation.ca.gov/cgs/minerals/hazardous_minerals/asbestos/Pages/index.aspx

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles

http://www.ewastedisposal.net