Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com, August 8, 2017
By: Michael Hawthorne
Federal environmental regulators are cracking down on a Southeast Side company after finding high levels of brain-damaging manganese in a low-income, predominantly Latino neighborhood.
Air quality monitors posted around the S.H. Bell Co. storage terminal recorded violations of federal health standards during nearly 40 percent of the days when samples were collected between March and June, according to data posted online Monday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Average concentrations of the heavy metal exceeded the legal limit of 0.3 micrograms per cubic meter of air during the period and spiked up to four times higher, prompting the EPA to cite S.H. Bell with violations of the federal Clean Air Act.
Monitors at one of the sites owned by KCBX Terminals picked up high levels of manganese on days when winds blew across the river from the vicinity of S.H. Bell’s facility between 101st and 103rd streets. After S.H. Bell repeatedly ignored federal and city orders to install additional monitors, a court-ordered legal settlement required the equipment to be up and running by March.…
Source: http://www.stltoday.com, May 9,2 017
By: Bryce Gray
Months after a Bridgeton couple filed a lawsuit alleging that household dust and soil from their property contained elevated levels of radioactivity, the plaintiffs’ law firm said Monday that tests of four more homes show similar contamination.
All homes are about a half mile south of the West Lake Landfill, slated for cleanup through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program. The November lawsuit filed by Michael and Robbin Dailey of Bridgeton’s El Ferrol Court alleged that samples taken from the couple’s home matched the radioactive signature of the waste dumped in the landfill decades ago.
One of the new homes tested is also on El Ferrol Court. The other three are on nearby San Sevilla Court, elsewhere in the Spanish Village neighborhood.
Samples from all four allegedly show the presence of radioactive isotopes such as thorium, radium and lead that exceed naturally occurring levels. The newly tested households are still determining how to proceed — and whether to pursue litigation — after getting the results, said Winston Calvert, a spokesman for Hausfeld, the Washington-based law firm handling the Daileys’ case.
Calvert said that the firm has paid for area residences to get tested after being approached by individuals at community meetings. He said more test results are pending for other homes in both Bridgeton and near Coldwater Creek, regarding separate concerns of radioactive contamination.
“Our investigations of radiation contamination in the Bridgeton area will continue,” said Calvert. “We expect lab reports from other homes in the area soon.”…
Source: http://www.timesunion.com, April 24, 2017
By: Larry Rulison
Beech-Nut will be sitting down with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency soon to go over an EPA administrative order that it clean up the asbestos mess at its former Canajoharie plant.
Beech-Nut had until Friday to tell the EPA whether or not it intended to comply with the order, which was issued two weeks ago after a two-year investigation.
“In accordance with the terms of the order, the respondents have acknowledged receipt of the order and have made a timely request for a conference with EPA, which will take place in the near future,” EPA spokesman Elias Rodriguez told the Times Union.
Watchdog groups claim that Clifford may have left behind a huge public health problem.
The piles of asbestos and debris may have exposed anyone nearby to danger, said Emily Walsh, outreach director for the not-for-profit Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the inner lining of the lungs and chest wall that is linked to inhalation of asbestos.
“The asbestos debris that was left out in the open for years could have potentially life-threatening consequences,” Walsh told the Times Union. “Asbestos particles can become airborne and are toxic to breathe in. Once inhaled, the particles can become lodged in their lungs.”…
Source: http://www.businessinsurance.com, April 24, 2017
By: Judy Greenwald
A Travelers Cos. Inc. unit is not obligated to pay more than $36 million in indemnification and prejudgment interest to a manufacturing company because of an asbestos exclusion in its excess policies, says a federal appeals court, overturning a lower court ruling.
Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based General Refractories Co. manufactures and supplies refractory products designed to retain their strength when exposed to extreme heat, according to Friday’s ruling by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia in General Refractories Co. v. First State Insurance Co. et al.
GRC’s products previously included asbestos in some of its products, which led to about 31,440 lawsuits charging asbestos-related injuries dating back to 1978, according to the ruling.
“GRC’s insurers initially fielded these claims,” said the ruling. During the 1970s and 1980s, GRC had entered into primary liability insurance policies with a number of different insurers and also secured additional excess policies to provide additional coverage, said the ruling.…
Source: http://www.post-gazette.com, April 20, 2017
By: Sean D. Hamill
Katherine Landman had already benefited from one bone-marrow transplant from her younger brother, Paul, three years earlier when her acute myeloid leukemia came back in July 2015.
“She was doing real well until then,” her father, Lenny Boyce, said Thursday.
The 44-year-old New Castle mother of two college-age kids returned to UPMC Shadyside for a work-up and her doctors quickly decided that she needed another transplant. This time the bone marrow would come from her older brother, Louis, and preparations began for the procedure.
“But that never came about because she got this infection,” Mr. Boyce said.
The infection was a particularly deadly form of mold – rhizopus —- that had gotten into her sinuses sometime after she was admitted to Shadyside, according to the wrongful death and negligence lawsuit her husband, Steve, filed Thursday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court against UPMC and Paris Cleaners, the company that cleans UPMC’s linens.
In August 2015, she had two surgeries to attempt to remove the infection from her sinus cavity. But the surgeries could not stop its spread and Ms. Landman died Oct. 11, 2015.…
Source: http://www.lexology.com, April 20, 2017
By: John H. Kazanjian and Nicole B. Weinstein, Beveridge & Diamond PC
Companies facing environmental cleanup liability typically confront claims that are brought multiple decades after the alleged polluting activity took place. This passage of time often results in the loss or disappearance of crucial historic documents, including insurance policies, necessary to respond to the claims. Historic general liability insurance policies issued before pollution exclusions became commonplace in the 1970s are of particular value in protecting a company from exposure to “long-tail” environmental liability. Finding these policies, or evidence of their existence, therefore is a must. A recent New Jersey federal court decision serves as a helpful reminder that when the actual policies cannot be located, even limited documentary evidence of their existence, when buttressed by the expert testimony of a credentialed insurance archaeologist, may be sufficient to prove the coverage and facilitate recovery.
In E.M. Sergeant Pulp & Chemical Co., Inc. v. Travelers Indemnity Co., Inc., Civ. No. 12-1741, 2015 WL 9413094 (D.N.J. Jan. 17, 2017), the plaintiff policyholder was seeking insurance coverage for defense and indemnity relating to environmental pollution claims arising out of a New Jersey site. The policyholder, a distributor of heavy industrial inorganic chemicals and raw materials, owned property in Newark from 1942 to 1984. In 2004, the United States Environmental Protection Agency notified the policyholder that it was a Potentially Responsible Party (“PRP”) with respect to the Diamond Alkali Superfund Site. In 2009, the policyholder was sued as a third-party defendant in a lawsuit alleging property damage caused by environmental pollution from activities occurring 50-75 years ago.…
Source: http://mynews4.com, April 19, 2017
By: Kaleb Roedel & Kenzie Bales
The University of Nevada, Reno says it will be relocating 30 employees and several student workers working in an 8,000 square foot building where low levels of radiation were found.
The radiation readings in the Facilities Services Building are all below the government’s maximum permitted level of 100 millirems — a measure of radiation dosage per year — and below the levels that often occur naturally in the atmosphere, especially at higher altitudes.
UNR President Marc Johnson on Tuesday said in a letter to faculty and students that the Facilities Services Building, which sits between Ansari Business and Mackay School of Mines, was found to have low levels of radium in the fall of 2016. The discovery came after Nevada’s Radiation Control Program asked about the building, which was built in 1920 and used by the U.S. Bureau of Mines for research that involved the separation of radium from ore.
Johnson said the radiation readings in the building are all below the government’s maximum permitted exposure and are below the levels that occur naturally in the atmosphere, especially at high altitudes.
However, the law requires that the university removes the radium. Consequently, UNR it relocating its employees working in the building to alternate office space. The university says it does not believe any classes have ever been held there.
While UNR evaluates its next move, the university has received recommendations ranging from decontamination to the removal of the building, Johnson said.
“Decontamination is preferred given the historic nature of the building if it is not prohibitively costly,” Johnson added.
A spokesperson for the University told News 4 & Fox 11 that all of the buildings in the surrounding areas were also tested and found to be free of radium contamination.
Due to a law that requires the University to remove radium even if the amount falls below the maximum permitted exposure level, the University is relocating all occupants so that officials can evaluate the most feasible next steps.
University officials say that decontamination is preferred given the historic nature of the building, however; decontaminating the building could cost anywhere between $4.5 to $6 millions dollars.
Demolishing the building would cost $1.5 to $2 million dollars.…