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News + Events

The Galson Blog

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Pam Weaver


Doing Whatever It Takes For Our Clients

I’ve been reflecting on my ­30 years helping Galson clients with their challenges, and 24 years as Client Service Manager. I’m pleased that Galson, now SGS Galson Laboratories’, significant growth has always come with enhancement of our ability to provide the best client service in the industrial hygiene industry. This is exemplified by the time we spend on the phone, LiveChat and email, the positive feedback we get from our clients, and of course the repeat and new business we receive.

SGS Galson is always trying to raise the bar by providing new and better services, and improved client service. Our latest improvement is the addition of an extra hour of Client Service Representative support, available at the end of each weekday. We are now available to answer you calls and chats until 9pm EST and 6pm PST on weekdays!

To assure that we’re able to cover the additional client service time, we recently hired our tenth Client Service Representative, Lauren Willert, who will be assisting you from our newly-established Client Service Center in Anchorage, AK.  Anchorage is our seventh client servicecenter, which also includes, Irvine, CA, Houston, TX, Stevens Point, WI, Charleston, SC, Mississauga, ON, and our home office in East Syracuse, NY.

No matter where you are, we strive to provide the highest service levels possible. I’ve always thought of our Client Service department and clients as trusted partners, and it’s your trust we plan to continue to earn.

We’re always available to help and now even more than ever. Again, we’re available Monday through Friday, 8am-9pm EST, at 1-888-432-5227 (LABS) or through the onlineIH Live Chat. And, of course, we’re on call 24/7/365.

Thanks, as always, for trusting in SGS Galson Laboratories. 

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Joe Unangst


Congratulations, Bill Walsh, CIH – Harriet Hurley Award Winner!

Awesome news for one of our team is also great news for the IH world.

In early March, SGS Galson Laboratories Business Development Manager Bill Walsh received the Harriett A. Hurley award, given annually to an AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Program volunteer who serves on the AIHA Analytical Accreditation Board (AAB). Bill accepted the award at the AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Program’s annual meeting.

The AAB through the Laboratory Quality Assurance Program (LQAP) works to establish high standards for laboratories and analysts. The outcome of these standards is high quality data used in evaluating exposures that affect the environment, natural resources and public health.  Bill has long been involved in the program and was recognized for “going above and beyond this past year, making major contributions at conferences and receptions, as well as providing outstanding service as an AAB member.“

A prestigious award

Bill, who actually knew and worked with Harriett Hurley, is a guy who gives his all in everything he does, and his involvement in AAB gives accreditation, and therefore, the IH world, impeccable credibility. Over the past year, Bill made major contributions by presenting testimony at the March 2014 OSHA hearings on silica. He also delivered remarks at the 2014 AIHA Fall Conference to commemorate AIHA-LAP’s 40thanniversary, and hosted the awards reception held for labs accredited for 40 years at that same conference. Bill also served on the volunteer appointment committee that screened and selected applicants applying for volunteer positions in AIHA-LAP. His presence always brings a high energy level and innovative thinking to whatever he is involved in.

“Bill always makes himself available to work with staff on regulatory, policy and technical matters when they arise and because of his outstanding service over the past year as an AAB member, we honor him with this award,”AIHA’s Managing Director, Cheryl Morton said.


Passion, helpfulness, expertise and professionalism accurately describe Bill’s approach and are the reasons why our clients appreciate working with him and he has gained so much respect in the IH world. 

Congratulations Bill, on this well-deserved award!

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Joe DeLeo


SGS Galson Laboratories Now Offers a Formaldehyde Home Testing Kit

I wrote you recently with my reaction to a 60 Minutes story that high levels of formaldehyde are being released from wood laminate flooring made in China and sold through Lumber Liquidators.  Since then, the New York Times also has chimed in.

Without re-hashing the gory details, there’s no doubt that these stories have caused alarm among those who have purchased this flooring. After all, formaldehyde is classified as a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,

To help homeowners get the information they need, SGS Galson Laboratories now offers a simple kit to test formaldehyde levels in homes. It costs as low as $99 and a home owner can readily determine if the levels are safe or if they need to call in an IAQ expert to assist. We try to make it as user-friendly as possible with simple instructions and offer a turn-around time for results in three days or less.

You probably spend most of your professional time at work sites but if you get questions from homeowners, we’re here to help.  The SGS Galson Laboratories Formaldehyde Home Testing Kit can be ordered by calling 888-432-5227 and we have a web page with more detailed information.  Let us know if we can help.

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Bill Walsh CIH


Should I test for formaldehyde after watching 60 Minutes?

I did not watch the 60 Minutes segment Sunday regarding excess formaldehyde off-gassing from laminate flooring made in China and sold in the US by Lumber Liquidators. The first I heard of it was in our weekly conference call Tuesday where it was related that our Customer Service group was fielding an amazing number of phone calls from concerned homeowners wondering if they had contracted cancer from their floors.  It was decided that a blog was appropriate and either Ed or I should write something.  I won and went back, watched the segment, and read the various resulting news stories.  These are my thoughts on the situation:

1)      If you have this type of flooring you are no doubt suffering from anxiety and I really can’t blame you given the tone of the segment.  It is easy to determine if you are being exposed to high levels of formaldehyde by calling SGS-Galson and obtaining a formaldehyde passive monitor. Since you will be looking for non-occupational levels of formaldehyde, I recommend using the Assay Technology 571 passive monitor.  The badge with analysis will cost you $87/each.  I recommend putting a badge in each area where the flooring has been installed, leaving it in place for 24 hours, and returning it to SGS-Galson for analysis.  You will get your results in five business days from the time we get your samples back at the lab.  These results will tell you if you have a problem.

2)      You do not need to evacuate your home if you have this flooring.  Unless you have a specific sensitivity to formaldehyde that could cause respiratory distress, we are talking about long –term health effects. 

3)      You may get positive formaldehyde readings from sources that have nothing to do with your floors.  Any furniture or building materials that were made using formaldehyde could be off-gassing to some degree.  This would include many carpets, paneling, and things made from plywood or particle board.  Many cleaning products and disinfectants also contain formaldehyde.  Formaldehyde is also a metabolic product from some organisms, trees for example.  It is a fact that there is no such thing as zero exposure, only exposures at what is considered to be a safe level.  Your results will need to be interpreted in terms of this safe level and the recommended safe levels vary according to source.  The CDC recommends you take action to limit your exposures if the levels found exceed 1000 ppb (parts per billion), says you may experience some health effects if your levels exceed 100 ppb, and are generally exposed everyday to levels around 10 ppb. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) referenced in the story has limits between 50 and 150 ppb, depending on the material being manufactured.   As in almost everything concerning chemical exposures, an internet search will easily turn up sources that dispute these levels and you should consider consulting an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) expert if you are concerned.

4)      If you are running a company that out-sources manufacturing offshore, it is very important that you consider contracting with SGS to confirm that the manufacturing is being performed to your specifications.  This segment is a poster child for this need, showing racks of flooring labelled “CARB 2 Compliant” just after the plant manager admitted they were not.  Assuring that this situation could not exist is a core business for SGS.

The following are my thoughts on the segment.  These are my opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.  This is the first time I’ve felt the need to say this, caused by some of the weasels involved in this story (my first opinion).

1)      The “short-selling” aspect of the story was glossed over in the segment but is really pretty significant.  The stock price of lumber liquidators has doubled in the past year, making it susceptible to price manipulation.  Short selling is the practice of promising to sell a quantity of stock on a certain date for a specified price.  If the price on that date is less than what has been promised, the difference represents profits. As you can imagine, the stock price of Lumber Liquidators has tumbled since this story aired and the people funding the legal actions referenced in the story stand to make a lot of money.  Is this a public health hazard or a pretty slick plan to drive the stock price down?

2)      The testing done on the flooring needs to be better defined.  Regulations such as CARB 2 specify limits on formaldehyde off-gassing at specific temperature and humidity parameters over a specific period of time.  Were these parameters followed when the flooring was tested?  For example, increasing the temperature of the testing chamber would increase the rate of off-gassing.  I am not saying this was done, but the testing parameters need to be clearly stated.

3)      The formaldehyde levels in the flooring may not directly correlate to levels found in homes.  Installation of the flooring as well as the environmental conditions in the homes will play a large role in amount of off-gassing that takes place.  The age of the flooring will also play a role and additional studies on these factors need to be done.  As I stated above, this testing is fairly easy to perform.

4)      A similar situation occurred around 10 years ago involving the temporary housing (trailers) distributed after Katrina.  Elevated formaldehyde levels were found due to the particle board used in manufacture of the housing. Were there lessons learned from the studies performed on these trailers that can be applied to the current potential problem?

My basic opinion on this story is that I’m not sure it is not just a stock-price manipulation but if I had the flooring I would do the testing, especially if anyone in my family displayed symptoms (sore throat, itchy eyes, cough, etc).  Given it is wintertime a lot of “false positives” regarding symptoms are going to exist, but peace of mind is worth the money it would cost to eliminate the possibility of a problem (at least to me).  If you agree SGS-Galson is ready to help.

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