5 Mistakes that Lead to Hazardous Waste Fines

No one wants to be slapped with a hazardous waste fine. Not only is the fine punishment, the knowledge that you may have done something that could harm the environment can weigh heavy on many people’s shoulders. This fine can also snowball in to a long and expensive legal battle and investigation. In order to avoid the hassle and the guilt, we have compiled a list of five mistakes that lead to fines.

  1. Toxic waste into the sewer system – This is less common these days than it was in the eighties and nineties, but we will still find some companies dumping toxic waste into a sewer system, either without realizing that it could be harmful, or laboring under the belief that they will not be caught. This kind of dumping is unequivocally illegal, and because most municipal sewer systems are equipped with specialized sensors, it is now easier than ever for law enforcement individuals to figure out who has been dumping what kind of waste into the system. The take away from this mistake is to just not dump your hazardous waste into the sewer.
  2. Incorrectly labeling hazardous waste. This is one of the most common mistakes and definitely one of the most common reasons a company is fined by the Department of Toxic Substances. It is easy to commit. You’re just working along, and a container is incorrectly labelled—or, even worse, not labeled at all. Labels are required by just about every state, not just on the containers themselves, but on the rooms that house the containers.
  3. No lids for hazardous waste containers, or improper use of lids. This occurs most often as a result of incorrect handling procedures. Both the EPA and the DTS require most hazardous materials to be in closed containers. This means that the lid is closed tightly enough to prevent both leaves and the escape of vapors. Neglecting this could lead to serious fines, so make sure that all containers are properly closed.
  4. An improper contingency plan. As a company that handles hazardous waste, it is required by law that you have a contingency plan. However, some companies, even if they have a plan, will not keep it up to date. This can lead to serious fines, as every company is required to have an updated plan that includes the newest guidelines and methods.
  5. Exceeding the limit of hazard waste accumulation. Most companies are only allowed to store 55 gallons of waste at a time, before correctly disposing of it. Having more than this allotted amount can incur fines, even if the containers themselves are properly closed and sealed and the waste is being properly disposed of.

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.

Mold: An Indoor Air Quality Concern

Did you know that we are constantly coming into contact with mold spores? Mold is a part of our everyday lives and it is usually not a major concern, until it finds a place in our homes to attach and begin growing a colony. Both summer and winter create indoor environments that are conducive to the development and proliferation of mold colonies, and therefore, and increased number of mold spores in the air. While a few spores will likely have no effect on a person, air that is saturated with these spores can present a serious health risk.

What is mold?

Mold is a branch of the fungi family. It travels in the form of microscopic spores, which float through the air. Indoor and outdoor air is full of spores. While this might sound frightening, they are usually not in a high enough concentration that they pose any health risk.

As these spores travel, they land on the surfaces of our home. If they find a damp place, they may begin reproducing and creating a colony, that will release even more spores. An accumulation of these spores in the air may become toxic, as mold, especially black mold, contains mycotoxins. In general, it is best to assume that all mold is dangerous and have it properly disposed of.

Why are summer and winter the worst seasons for mold growth?

Mold prefers moderate temperatures, humidity, and low air flow. These conditions are most common in the summer and winter. Many places in the world have very humid summers. When the wood of a home becomes wet, simply through the humidity in the air, it becomes a breeding ground for mold. Areas like basements or crawl spaces, where there is no air conditioning are the most likely spots.

And because many people heat their homes in the winter, and may even humidify rooms in order to stave off dry winter air, the home again becomes a prime spot for mold. Anytime mold finds a patch of damp, it will attach and begin to grow.

What are the health risks of mold?

Some of the most common health risks include irritation of the eyes and sinuses, as well as serious respiratory illnesses. For young children, the elderly, and those that have asthma, a higher concentration of mold in the air can become very dangerous, very quickly. Anyone with a pre-existing respiratory problem might be at significant risk.

If you notice allergy or other illness symptoms while at home that clear up when you leave home, mold may be to blame. It is best to have a qualified inspector and remediation company inspect and remove any mold that is found.

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.

Lead Exposure May Cause Depression and Anxiety in Children

A high level of lead exposure has long been known to cause serious behavioral problems in children, however, a recent study has found that even low levels of exposure can create serious problems. Anxiety and depression were among two of the most common affects cited in the study.

This study was conducted in China, following over a thousand children in Jintan, where experts believed that pollution, caused by industrialization of the region, was seriously affecting the population. First tested as preschoolers, lead levels averaged at 6.5 micrograms per deciliter of blood. Cognitive and behavior were then tested until the age of six, and there was a definite positive correlation between high levels of lead in the blood and depression, anxiety, and cognition.

Other studies focused mainly on lead exposure and its effects on the teenage population. The goal of this study was to confirm earlier tests and to prove that even low levels of lead exposure can begin to become a large problem. The study was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and referenced earlier tests in which aggression and juvenile delinquency were closely linked to lead.

While teenagers who are exposed to this element are more likely to show outward aggression, especially to authority figures, the younger set was far more likely to internalize their anger and manifest it as increased anxiety or a depressed attitude. Reports of these moods came from both teachers and the children’s parents.

Until recently, the United States’ acceptable lead action level was as high as 10 micrograms per deciliter. That number has recently been lowered to 5 micrograms, though, in reality, the CDC admits, there is no number of micrograms that is safe for children. The Chinese’s level remains at 10 micrograms, despite the results of the study.

Where does this contamination come from? Largely from pollution. Though China no longer uses a lead additive in their gasoline, there is still plenty of pollution that contains lead, thanks to years of industry who used the lead-laced gas. Lead was also a main ingredient in many different kinds of paint, which are often used on toys. In recent years, when this was discovered, toys developed in China have been banned from many retailers, until the lead-paint issue has been resolved.

There is a third source of lead in China—the batteries on electronic bicycles. There is currently no system to deal with the dead batteries. Where the children in the study picked up their lead, it is impossible to tell.

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.

Health Risks from Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos has long been known to be a dangerous substance, though it was frequently used in both the construction and ship-building trades, because of its excellent insulation and fire-retardant properties. In recent years, however, it was found that inhaling loose fibers from the material could significantly harm the body, causing lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. For many people, however, bans on the use of this substance came too late.

What are the health risks?

The tiny fibers from asbestos can be breathed in and travel into the lungs. From there, they embed themselves in the lining of the lungs, where they can cause a range of problems. Some people may never experience a problem, and others will have rapid and uncontrolled tumor growth. Most asbestos-related diseases have an extraordinarily long dormancy period. Little is known about why some people develop a problem and why others don’t, and it is difficult to study, as by the time cancer develops, the asbestos exposure may be long forgotten and can never be identified.

Why is asbestos dangerous?

The fibers that asbestos produces are so small and so thin that they cannot be seen. They are invisible, and therefore, almost impossible to combat. A single human hair can be up to 1200 times thicker than an asbestos fiber. Their size is what makes them so dangerous. Unlike other particles which are filtered out of the lung, they are small enough to travel into the lung itself. Prolonged or repeated exposure is especially dangerous, as more fibers have the chance to enter to body and build up in the lungs.

Who is most likely to encounter asbestos?

Asbestos is still being used in some industries and after a long history of us in construction all over the world, anyone involved in construction or demolition is at risk of coming into contact with these fibers. Any time there has been significant damage to a building, especially one build before 1980, there is the danger that asbestos fibers have been released into the environment. In order to avoid these risks, people should know how to protect themselves from exposure.

How long after exposure does lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis occur?

Most diseases can take more than twenty years to develop and even longer before symptoms start to appear. By the time that a person starts to see symptoms, it is usually too late to take any preventative measures. Some people never develop an asbestos-related issue, while some may see a disease developing as little as five years after exposure. Because little is known about these diseases and about asbestos itself, there are no concrete numbers.

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.

The Dangers of Lead Exposure

You have probably already heard that lead exposure is dangerous, but few people are aware of just how poisonous it is—or how common it is in our world. In the United States alone, there are at least 24 million homes where high lead levels are affecting the inhabitant’s quality of life. At least of sixth of those homes have young children, who are especially susceptible to lead poisoning—primarily because children are more likely to put foreign objects in their mouth and suck on them than adults are. Children younger than six are most likely to be affected by lead in a household.

But where is this lead found in homes? While “lead” pencils no longer contain lead, there are plenty of items in the typical American home that could contain this harmful substance. Items that have been coated in lead-based paint are the most common. Some homes, especially those that were built before 1978, likely have lead-based paint on the walls—though if the paint has since been covered with a lead-free coat, which is not chipping away, the family is likely safe.

Toys and rooms with chipping paint, are the most likely to expose children to hazardous led. When it comes to lead paint on the walls, there are basically two modes of action—carefully and safely chipping it all away and repainting with a non-lead-based paint, or simply painting it over with a safe paint and monitoring it to ensure the problem does not reoccur.

Any toys that were recently produced and distributed in China may contain lead-based paint, as it was recently revealed that toy companies who outsources their manufacturing to China, were using some lead-filled paints.

If you are sure that neither your walls, nor the toys are a source of lead, check your jewelry, water, soil, and cosmetics for lead. Until very recently, lead was used in the manufacture of jewelry and makeup, and lead from underlying rock formations or pollution could be leaching into the water supply. Luckily, it is easy to test your water and soil for lead exposure.

The federal government is very concerned about lead exposure rates in the population. Recent regulations have been tightened to ensure that lead paint and other household items that contain lead are discontinued and that the public is alerted to the dangers, as the home is not the only place that children might come into contact with lead.

If you or one of your family members has been exposed to lead, try to identify the source of the exposure and report it to the local government. The proper agencies will then be alerted to help remediate your house or yard.

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.