Monday, October 27, 2014


SCAQMD hearing on Exide 1
Residents express their outrage during a community meeting hosted by the SCAQMD.

Vernon, CA shares a dubious association with Frisco, TX, Baton Rouge, LA, Atlanta, GA, and perhaps other cities: their soil, air, and water have been contaminated by the battery recycler, Exide Technologies. Vernon, CA is one of many ‘toxic hot spots’ in California and across the nation where homes and schools are one door away from polluting industries.

Exide has operated the facility on South Indiana street since 2000. Since then they’ve built an impressive pollution rap-sheet. Air quality regulators (South Coast Air Quality Management District or SCAQMD) deplored the serial violator as a “higher cancer risk to more people than any of more than 450 facilities the agency has regulated… in the last 25 years.” The consequences are recorded in people’s bodies as residents witness family members and neighbors develop major illness, such as cancer, and children’s development is stunted.

In April, 2013 officials warned that over 110,000 residents were at a heightened cancer risk from the arsenic emanating from the Vernon plant. In March this year soil testing by state officials revealed lead contamination at 80-1000 ppm in areas around Exide. In response, regulators suggested residents wash their hands.
CBE is joining with the community and allies, and we’re doing more than ‘washing our hands.’ CBE organizers, scientists and lawyers have stepped in to end Exide’s lead and arsenic contamination of our communities. Stay tuned as this campaign develops

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Odd asbestos-containing materials found during building suveys

Odd asbestos-containing materials found during building suveys

Technical Chief - The Environmental InstituteTop Contributor
We have a lot of interest here in the odd materials we find during building surveys...especially those many might not always find even with much experience. If you have odd materials you've found that you can describe with how they were used...let's make a list so we can all benefit from the combined experiences.
  • Stephen
    Gheen Engineering
    Good topic! I'm always interested in expanding may knowledge and avoiding change orders. I'm not sure these qualify as odd materials, but they are often asbestos containing and I don't often see them in other consultant's reports: vapor barrier behind brick veneer; vapor barrier on the interior side of exterior walls behind plaster; gypsum roof deck (this is less often ACM, but I've found it on at least 3 roofs); mastic / vapor barrier below floor filler and flooring; and vapor barrier below terrazzo floors. I'm sure I've forgotten others.
    Tom Laubenthal, Jim Evans and 2 others like this
  • Jim Evans
    Senior Environmental Consultant at Watts Architecture & Engineering
    Tom, great topic! Thanks.
    Stephen, let me add bituminous waterproofing on concrete foundation walls below grade. We often expect it to be there, but rarely bring a shovel or backhoe to an asbestos survey. Are we noting in our reports that our survey excludes below grade materials? Hope so!

    How about built-up roofing UNDER concrete? We designed removal of built-up roofing on a concrete roof deck years ago. When removal was finished, the contractor showed us a surprise. The concrete was actually a repair, and was on top of another built-up roof on another concrete roof deck. Ouch, that was a heck of a change order.

    Transite breaker blocks for electrical circuits, and transite board behind electrical panels.

    Transite sandwiched between sheet metal for window infill panels - typical 1970s energy conservation measure of installing smaller windows in schools and offices, and filling the rest of the opening with these transite sandwiches.

    Electrical wire insulation or jacket. Not only in old buildings, but sometimes within 1950s to 1980s fluorescent light fixtures.

    Paper, or foil and paper, insulation above light bulbs in old incandescent light fixtures.
  • Tom Laubenthal
    Technical Chief - The Environmental Institute
    Top Contributor
    A friend involved with a building demo found elevator cars coated with a black sealant of some sort that was ~15% chrysotile (on the exterior of sides and rear metal panels). When the elevator cars we dismantled, a demo guy starting cutting through the door with a reciprocating saw only to find the door stuffed with perfectly layered corrugated asbestos paper insulation.
    Tony R., Yilmael D. like this
  • Jim Evans

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles