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The Galson Blog

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Joe DeLeo


A Cup of....Mold?

I love coffee!  It really helps to get your day started right and for me personally allows much better focus and mental clarity. Now I am a very energetic person so one cup does wonders for me. Lately though I have noticed some interesting effects from coffee. I’ll get my brain and body revved up with a kick and then come crashing down.

I catch myself in a daze and usually have a bit of brain fog as well. What I noticed is that these symptoms occurred only after having coffee at places such as Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. When I purchased coffee from local cafes these symptoms never occurred. I investigated further and found that I was most likely experiencing symptoms from mycotoxins in the coffee beans. Read more here.

It all boils down to the fact that coffee doesn’t control for processing methods or the source of the beans and mold can grow on coffee beans which is a great environment for mycotoxins to flourish. Read more here.

This leads to all sorts of health problems such as cardiomyopathycancerhypertension, kidney disease, and even brain damage.

Mold can affect our health in many forms. At Galson Laboratories we focus on testing air quality and providing the data that protects workers. While you are probably reconsidering where you buy your coffee, take a few minutes and check out our website and learn more about how we can help you determine if your business, home, or other environment is suffering from mold exposures that are affecting your air and causing respiratory health issues. Chat with a client service representative to learn more!

Click here to chat.

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Bill Walsh CIH


Galson Implements Solution for Negative Oil Mist Blanks

Galson is pleased to announce a successful solution to the recurring problem of weight loss involving the 2.0 micron PTFE filters used to sample metal working fluids via NIOSH 5524.

Over the past several years, intermittent weight losses were observed whereby the blank filters used in the analysis randomly lost anywhere from less than 0.1 to more than 3 milligrams.  In researching the issue, we discovered that this was an industry-wide problem exacerbated by the fact that there is only a single manufacturer of these filters.  A quality control investigation by the filter vendor concluded that the problem was caused by raw material involved in the manufacture of the filter, though they have not yet rectified the problem.

Working closely with NIOSH, Galson developed a substitute 1 micron PTFE filter with a polypropylene support as an interim solution. Continuing research by NIOSH into the 2 micron PTFE has yielded a pre-rinse procedure that removes all unstable material from the filters.  Galson has extensively tested this pre-treatment for effectiveness as well as stability, and is satisfied that by using this procedure the filter stability problem has been resolved.

We realize that this has been a frustrating situation for our clients (as it was for us).  Galson takes great pride in the depth and breadth of our QA program and the resulting quality of our data. We deeply appreciate your business and thank you for standing by us while this problem was resolved.


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Bill Walsh CIH


Oops, Annotated PELs Trigger OSHA General Duty Clause

On October 24th, OSHA released a statement acknowledging something virtually every IH professional already knew; namely that the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) are outdated and in many cases can no longer be relied upon to provide a safe working environment.  In my opinion, this woeful state of affairs is directly a result of the litigious nature of American business (and labor).  The situation closely mirrors Congress, where anything the other side of the aisle does is EVIL, whether it actually is or not.

As a case in point, the proposed change in the silica PEL is estimated to have at least three to five years of lawsuits in front of it before anything is adopted. IHs in other countries simply cannot understand why this is the case.  At any rate the United State’s inability to update exposure regulations based upon science has seriously undermined its reputation regarding worker safety and health. It’s hard to point a finger at overseas conditions when our own have not been updated in 40 years.

About 15 years ago OSHA tried to update its PELs by adopting the ACGIH TLVs.  This resulted in lawsuits saying that OSHA circumvented its rulemaking process (true) and that the ACGIH was promoting de-facto regulations.  OSHA withdrew the proposal and ACGIH almost went under due to the cost of defending itself.

The current attempt lists the OSHA PEL, the NIOSH REL, the ACGIH TLV, and the CalOSHA PEL for each substance.  OSHA says it is doing so in order to educate employers regarding the current.  However, it may have just loaded business’s lawsuit gun following a recent action it took.

According to the Thursday, November 21stedition of the Wall Street Journal, OSHA recently fined a company in Wisconsin $49,500 for overexposing workers to styrene under its “General Duty Clause”.   This clause states “ (employers) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;” 

The citation happened even though the company was maintaining exposures below the current PEL of 100 ppm. The annotated exposure limits listed by OSHA range from a 50ppm REL to a 20ppm TLV.  The article did not mention the measured exposures in the plant, but two workers were taken to the hospital with symptoms attributed to styrene exposure by medical staff.

Needless to say, this is a cause for much consternation for the “we are meeting all legal limits” crowd.  That noise you hear is an outpouring of angry hornets resembling lawyers resulting from OSHA kicking their hive.


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Edward Stuber CIH


One Small Step for Workers and Giant Step for OSHA



What we in the Health and Safety Profession have known for years, and have shouted from the mountain tops, has been confirmed. The federal government (i.e. OSHA) has shown it recognizes the problem of outdated Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) and wants to do something about it. OSHA has begun an effort to provide more guidance and information to employers and workers to compare some of the many different exposure limits that are available and in use around the world.

Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, announced on October 24links to two OSHA web sites that will provide employers and workers with access to alternative exposure limits and additional information on establishing a chemical management system in the workplace. OSHA stated that providing employers, workers, and other interested parties with a list of alternate occupational exposure limits will serve to better protect workers.

There are two components to the OSHA announcement. The first component contains an Annotated Occupational Exposure Limits table that provides accurate and up-to-date chemical information to employers who want to voluntarily adopt newer, more protective workplace exposure limits for those chemicals that are covered by outdated OSHA exposure standards. The link now provides a comparison of the existing PELs, the ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs), the National Institute forOccupational Safety and Health Recommended Exposure Limits (RELs), and theCalifornia Division of Occupational Safety and Health PELs. You can find the tablehere. This is very similar to the “Guide to Occupational Exposure Values” booklet published yearly by ACGIH. The ACGIH booklet compares of the existing PELs, the ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLVs), NIOSH RELs, AIHA WEELs, and the DFG MAK’s.

Although OSHA stated that providing employers, workers, and other interested parties with a list of alternate occupational exposure limits will serve to better protect workers, the outdated PELs will remain in effect and are the legal limits. You can’t win them all.

In the second part of the announcement, OSHA has created a toolkit  ‚Äčto assist employers and workers in identifying and substituting safer chemicals to use in place of more hazardous ones. Here is the link to the tool kit.

At the beginning of this blog I stated this was a small step for the workers. I say this because now Health and Safety Professionals will have access to more up to date and more protective workplace exposure limits, but they are not legally enforceable.  This is a giant step for OSHA because this could be the first step in the process of updating the PELs, most of which are from the late 60s and early 70s. I am sure that most of the Health and Safety Professionals agree with me, that with this announcement and the proposed new silica PEL, OSHA is on the way to making the workplace a much safer place for all workers. For that I applaud them and look forward to many more giant steps from OSHA in future.


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