There are major benefits for students of all ages to return to school. But if a school system reopens business as usual (like in 2019), uncontrolled COVID-19 transmission within the school system and the community could cause major public health problems. Reopening schools with reasonable and workable changes should radically reduce that COVID-19 threat.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals that have been manufactured and used in the United States since the 1940s. PFAS are commonly found in both household and industrial products such as non-stick coatings, stain and water repellent fabrics, and cleaning chemicals. Ground water contamination with PFAS has been associated with fire-fighting foams, manufacturing sites, landfills, and other industrial operations. Because of their chemical structure, PFAS are highly persistent in both the environment and human body. Studies have indicated that some PFAS compounds may be associated with adverse health effects, including:
Increased emphasis on green building design has resulted in a greater demand for more energy efficient building materials such as spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulations. Despite their excellent air sealing capability and insulating properties, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized that exposure to the isocyanates and other vapors, aerosols, and dusts created during and after installation, may cause respiratory sensitization, asthma, and odors.
Legionella is a type of Gram-negative bacteria that occurs naturally in freshwater environments. Although it is present in nature, Legionella becomes a substantial health concern when allowed to multiply in a building’s water systems. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), from 2000 through 2015, there were 49,930 confirmed Legionnaires’ cases in the United States. Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia that can rapidly become fatal. It is caused by breathing in aerosolized water droplets containing Legionella, with the majority of recognized Legionnaires’ disease cases occurring in hotels, resorts, cruise ships, and the healthcare setting.
CCA is excited to introduce Dr. Michael Mellette, Senior Scientist Occupational and Environmental Health. Mike has 15-plus years of experience in occupational safety and environmental compliance, industrial hygiene, exposure, and risk assessment. As an experienced former U.S. Army helicopter pilot with extensive education and experience in environmental, chemical exposures, industrial safety, Michael is a perfect fit for CCA’s disciplined, team-oriented approach. Michael will be responsible for leading cross-functional teams in investigations related to occupational and environmental health issues as well as safety investigations including accidents.
Michael's background includes:
Energy conscious building systems and "green" buildings are terms that have been around for quite some time. In fact, there are numerous interesting articles one can explore relative to the implementation of energy conscious building systems. Building professionals continually seek new ways to harness energy and develop innovative approaches to improve our environment and offset energy costs. Recently, we have seen the tremendous interest and growth in solar power from residential to large scale applications. Other renewable energy sources are also constantly being explored, such as converting energy expended by humans into energy used to help power buildings.
Mold spores are everywhere in the outdoor and indoor environment as a natural part of our world and they cannot be eliminated. Certain conditions are necessary for the growth and proliferation of molds into a problem area within a building. Controlling indoor moisture and humidity levels are key to controlling indoor mold growth. Air conditioning equipment and duct systems are very common locations for the development and amplification of mold in commercial properties. Property owners and managers need to be vigilant in inspecting and maintaining these systems, to minimize the frequency and magnitude of any exposures to occupants from hidden sources of mold.
Do not believe that asbestos is not being used in building products that you specify or construct. Contrary to popular belief asbestos is not illegal in the U.S. According to the EPA many building products can be manufactured with asbestos.