Hazardous Mold Outbreak Triggers Army Order to Inspect All Barracks, Offices

USA Today by Tom Vandenbrook

Washington, DC – The Army has issued an order to inspect all its buildings around the world for mold after outbreaks at bases have left barracks uninhabitable, forcing soldiers into temporary housing. The executive order issued by the Army headquarters at the Pentagon requires commanders to inspect 100% of barracks, family housing, and offices for active duty soldiers by Nov. 18 for “unhealthy, unsafe, substandard living conditions.” For the full text, click here.

CT Weatherization Program Will Tackle Mold, Asbestos, and Other Barriers

Energy News Lisa Prevost

National – A new Connecticut program is expected to help cut energy bills and improve living conditions for low-income residents throughout the state. The Statewide Weatherization Barrier Remediation Program, overseen by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, will pay for the cleanup of mold, asbestos and other health and safety barriers that can prevent homeowners from pursuing weatherization projects. The new program is expected to cover the cost of remediating hazardous conditions for up to 1,000 income-eligible households over the next three years. For the full text, click here.

CT Legislators Set to Decide On the Acceptable Amount of Mold Found in Marijuana

CT Mirror Ginny Monk

Hartford, CT – Legislators are dealing with an issue that they might not have imagined just a few years ago: The acceptable amount of mold in marijuana. But for some patients who use medical marijuana, the question isn’t a novelty but a serious matter of health. The state Department of Consumer Protection proposed a change that would set the maximum amount of colony-forming mold and yeast units in medical marijuana at 100,000 per gram and would allow no traceable amounts of a breed of mold called Aspergillus that is known to cause a lung infection.

For the full text, click here.

EPA Announces ‘clean Air in Buildings Challenge’ to Help Building Owners and Operators Improve Indoor Air Quality

EPA National

EPA released the “Clean Air in Buildings Challenge,” a call to action and a concise set of guiding principles and actions to assist building owners and operators with reducing risks from airborne viruses and other contaminants indoors. The Clean Air in Buildings Challenge highlights a range of recommendations and resources available to assist with improving ventilation and indoor air quality, which can help to better protect the health of building occupants and reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. 

For the full text, click here.

For more information on the challenge, click here.

Citing Howard Protest, DC Council Members Urges City to Keep Up With Mold Inspections

WTOP by Abigail Constantino Washington, DC

One D.C. department has housing violation authority but claims it does not have expertise to conduct mold inspections. Another agency has the expertise but no enforcement authority. So, a member of the District’s council now wants to know how this is being reconciled amid ongoing issues at Howard University dorms. At-Large Council Member Christina Henderson in a letter said she wants an update on pending regulations that would give the Department of Energy and Environment, or DOEE, authority over mold remediation enforcement and fines. 

Click here for the full article. 

Salmonella and Mold Prompt Recall of Marijuana Syrups and Distallates

Food Safety News Arizona

Public health officials in Arizona are reporting a recall of several marijuana products after testing found Salmonella and Aspergillus mold. The Arizona Department of Health Services reports that the recall includes edible products in the forms of honey-like syrup and distillates. Several unidentified dispensaries and other unspecified marijuana-related businesses initiated the recall. Consumers who bought the products listed below are being advised to throw them away. 

Click here for the full report. 

EPA Rescinds Previous Administration’s Guidance On Clean Water Act Permit Requirements

EPA Washington, DC

EPA is rescinding a guidance document entitled “Applying the Supreme Court’s County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund Decision in the Clean Water Act Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program” that was issued by the Trump administration on January 14, 2021. The previous Administration’s Maui guidance reduced clean water protections by creating a new factor for determining if a discharge of pollution from a point source through groundwater that reaches a water of the US is the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge to such water. The addition of that factor skewed the “functional equivalent” analysis in a way that could reduce the number of discharges requiring a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The agency determined that this is inconsistent with the Clean Water Act and the Supreme Court decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund

Click here for the full text.

How Gas Stoves Are Related to Indoor Air Quality and Climate Change

NPR by Jeff Brady

National – Gas stoves have become a focal point in a fight over whether gas should even exist in the 35% of U.S. homes that cook with it. Environmental groups are focused on potential health effects. Burning gas emits pollutants that can cause or worsen respiratory illnesses. Residential appliances like gas-powered furnaces and water heaters vent pollution outside, but the stove is the one gas appliance in your home that is most likely unvented. The focus on possible health risks from stoves is part of the broader campaign by environmentalists to kick gas out of buildings to fight climate change. Commercial and residential buildings account for about 13% of heat-trapping emissions, mainly from the use of gas appliances. 

Click here for the full text.

Office Air Quality May Affect Employees’ Cognition, Productivity

Harvard School of Public Health

Boston, MA – The air quality within an office can have significant impacts on employees’ cognitive function, including response times and ability to focus, and it may also affect their productivity, according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The one-year study, which included participants in offices across six countries working in a variety of fields, including engineering, real estate investment, architecture, and technology, found that increased concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and lower ventilation rates (measured using carbon dioxide (CO2) levels as a proxy) were associated with slower response times and reduced accuracy on a series of cognitive tests. The researchers noted that they observed impaired cognitive function at concentrations of PM2.5 and CO2 that are common within indoor environments. 

Click here for the full text.

Indoor Air Pollution Remains a Deadly and Unregulated Problem

Bloomberg Law by Jennifer Hajazi

National – The air you breathe outside is more heavily regulated than the air you breathe in your home, and air quality advocates want more protection for indoor air quality issues—especially as climate change impacts like fires and heat force people to seek shelter indoors. Harmful indoor air quality has been listed as one of the top five environmental risks to public health, according to Environmental Protection Agency comparative risk studies. Yet there’s no comprehensive regulation that addresses those harms outside of a patchwork of protections and standards of care. 

Click here for the full text.

%d bloggers like this: