Sheryl Barr

November 25, 2019

EPA will offer $4.8 million to study effects of ‘forever chemicals’

Source: Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), November 23, 2019
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will make $4.8 million available to study the impact of potentially dangerous forever chemicals produced and used by companies such as 3M on farms and rural communities.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, do not break down in nature. Decades of use in waterproofing and stain and heat resistance have left them spread across the nations drinking water, groundwater and soil.  Read more.

November 25, 2019

Record number of Legionnaires’ cases in 2018: Fighting problem an expensive undertaking

Source: Daily Southtown (Chicago, IL), November 24, 2019
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Cases of Legionnaires’ disease reached a record high in 2018 – a more than eightfold increase since the numbers began to climb nearly two decades ago.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported 9,933 cases in 2018 of Legionellosis, which includes both Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever. Legionnaires’ disease made up the vast majority of cases, according to the CDC. Read more.

November 22, 2019

Trump scales back safety rules adopted after deadly chemical explosion

Source: The Washington Post, November 21, 2019
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The Environmental Protection Agency weakened a rule Thursday governing how companies store dangerous chemicals. The standards were enacted under the Obama administration in the wake of a 2013 explosion in West, Tex., that killed 15 people, including 12 first-responders.

Under the new standards, companies will not have to provide public access to information about what kinds of chemicals are stored on their sites. They also will not have to undertake several measures aimed at preventing accidents, such as analyzing safer technology and procedures, conducting a “root-cause analysis” after a major chemical release or obtaining a third-party audit when an accident has occurred. Read more.

November 22, 2019

Military families are getting sick from mold in their homes. Now they’re suing

Source:, November 21, 2019
By: Kevin Knodell

Melissa Godoy had spent much of her life in military housing, living in bases around the country for a decade without issue. Then she and her husband, an Army combat engineer, came to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in July 2018. She recalled that the home her family moved into on base was slightly “stuffy.” It was an older home and she noted that the ventilation wasn’t great, but she thought little of it. Part of military life is making do with what you get. Read more.

November 21, 2019

Fla. Courts Continue to Expand Liability of Design Professionals on Construction Projects

Source: November 21, 2019
By: Charles E. Fombrun and Freddy X. Munoz

Design professionals such as architects and engineers are exposed to significant risk and potential liability for errors and omissions in their designs and other work on construction projects. In addition to potential up-front design errors, many professionals participate in project administration, which includes the review and approval of payment applications, inspecting and approving construction work as it progresses, and providing clarification and information through submittal approval and RFI responses, which also puts them at risk for post-completion claims.  Read more.

November 21, 2019

Lawsuit alleges negligence by Seattle Children’s for mold-related sicknesses

Source:, November 20, 2019
By: Hana Kim

Earlier this week, Seattle Children’s CEO Jeff Sperring made no excuses for the deadly mold problem at his hospital. They now believe that complications from Aspergillus mold has killed six patients since 2001.

“Looking back, we should have made the connections sooner. Simply put, we failed,” Sperring said. Read more.

November 21, 2019

The list of military sites with suspected ‘forever chemicals’ contamination has grown

Source:, November 20, 2019
By: Patricia Kime

The number of places where the U.S. military spilled or suspects it discharged perfluorinated compounds has grown, Pentagon officials said Wednesday, but they did not say where or how many sites are under investigation for possible contamination.

The Department of Defense previously identified 401 sites on active and former military bases where the compounds — perfluorooctane sulfonate or perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOS and PFOA — were released or a suspected discharge occurred. Read more.

November 21, 2019


November 21, 2019

The Pollution Exclusion Can Bar Coverage for Alleged Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Claims

Source:, November 14, 2019
By: Kevin M. Apollo, Goldberg Segalla LLP

Foremost Ins. Co. v. Rodriguez, a Pennsylvania federal district denied a motion to dismiss a declaratory judgment lawsuit filed by a liability insurer that sought to disclaim coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging carbon monoxide exposure.[1]

In the underlying state court lawsuit, tenants sued their landlords, alleging that the landlords refused to repair a heating system, which resulted, ultimately, in carbon monoxide poisoning. After the tenants’ hospitalization, the local gas company deemed the heater on the property unsafe, and instructed the landlords to replace the heater. Read more.

November 20, 2019

Florida bridge collapse | Catalogue of engineering errors revealed in final report

Source:, November 14, 2019
By: Sa,m Sholli

A catalogue of engineering errors during design and construction led to the fatal collapse of the Florida International University bridge, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has ruled in its final report.

The report concludes that design calculation errors made by Figg Bridge Engineers were ultimately to blame for the collapse of the main span which killed five motorists and one construction worker in March 2018. Read more.