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Clark Seif Clark

Environmental Newsletter

www.csceng.com 800.807.1118 February 2020 
  
Every day, Clark Seif Clark professionals are deployed across the nation helping both large and small customers resolve health & safety, industrial hygiene, environmental and indoor air quality issues. 
  
At a moment's notice, Clark Seif Clark can send their experts anywhere they are needed.  No matter if it's in response to a hurricane, wildfire, flood, tornado or other natural disaster, Clark Seif Clark is ready to help and can respond in no time at all.
Residents Learn of PFAS Contaminants Detected in Water Systems that Serve Millions
In March of last year, the California State Water Resources Control Board sent California Water Code (CWC) Section 13267 orders requiring soil and ground water samples to sites considered to be potential sources of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
 
The sites were selected because they have facilities or activities that could be a potential source for this type of contamination. In October, the Los Angeles Times reported that over 600 wells across California were tested and the chemicals were detected in 86 of the water systems serving approximately 9 million residents.
 
PFAS are described by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body - meaning they don't break down and they can accumulate over time. The EPA also states that there is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.
 
"For the majority of people, the most likely way they will be exposed is by consuming PFAS-contaminated water or food, although it can also happen by using products that contain the chemicals," said Jeff Bannon, Vice President of Environmental Services at Clark Seif Clark (CSC). "As far as human health effects are concerned, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that exposure to low environmental levels of PFAS are uncertain. Studies of laboratory animals given large amounts of PFAS have found that some PFAS may affect growth and development, reproduction, thyroid function, the immune system and injure the liver."
 
To help safeguard against exposure risks to PFAS, the environmental and industrial hygiene professionals at CSC offer consulting, testing and monitoring services for these and many other chemical contaminants. To learn more about PFAS or other environmental, occupational, health and safety testing services, 
please visit  www.csceng.com , email csc@csceng.com or call (800) 807-1118.
Veterinary Workers Issued Isoflurane Workplace Hazard Update from the CDPH
Last year, the California Department of Public Health's (CDPH) Hazard Evaluation System & Information Service (HESIS) published a Workplace Hazard Update about veterinary workers and potential exposure risk to isoflurane, a commonly used anesthetic gas. Isoflurane is used for both animals and humans and is sold under various trade names. It is a general anesthetic that is inhaled and can be used to start or maintain anesthesia.
 
The Workplace Hazard Update was released because CDPH reports the department found high levels of isoflurane in workers' breathing zones during common veterinary procedures. The 4-page document describes various peak inhalation exposure risks that can occur, including when veterinarians or technicians roll an animal over that is undergoing a procedure. In this instance, exposure could happen when the endotracheal tube is disconnected to reposition the animal while the gas continues to flow. If high exposures like this occur multiple times during a shift, workers could be exposed to isoflurane over the legal limit.
 
"Isoflurane is just one of many anesthetic gases that workers in the veterinary and health care professions could encounter," said Zahid Iqbal, MPH, CIH and Technical Director at Clark Seif Clark (CSC). "The term waste anesthetic gases, commonly referred to as WAGs, is described by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as small amounts of volatile anesthetic gases that leak from a patient's anesthetic breathing circuit into the air of operating rooms during delivery of anesthesia. These same gases may also be exhaled by patients during recovering from anesthesia. There are methods to monitor for WAGs in the air and ways to mitigate potential exposure, including engineering controls, hazard communication and training, and work practices."
 
A list of occupations provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that could put workers at risk of exposure to WAGs includes anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, surgical and obstetric nurses, operating room (OR) technicians, nurses' aides, surgeons, anesthesia technicians, post-anesthesia care nurses, dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, veterinarians and their assistants, emergency room staff and radiology department personnel.
 
To help protect workers from exposure risks and occupational illnesses associated with WAGs, the industrial hygiene professionals at Clark Seif Clark offer consulting, air testing, monitoring and training services. CSC also recently sponsored an educational video about WAGs and exposure risks that can be seen here:

Waste Anesthetic Gases (WAGS) & Occupational Exposure Risks
Waste Anesthetic Gases (WAGS) & Occupational Exposure Risks

To learn more about this or other occupational, indoor air quality, environmental, health, and safety testing and training services,  please visit www.csceng.com , email csc@csceng.com or call (800) 807-1118.  

About Clark Seif Clark: CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both the public and private sectors address environmental issues.  CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering making them the preferred environmental consultants to healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.

In This Issue
Residents Learn of PFAS Contaminants Detected in Water Systems that Serve Millions
Veterinary Workers Issued Isoflurane Workplace Hazard Update from the CDPH
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