Friday, December 5, 2014

Library tested for mold problems

Excess mold in libraries can affect the
health and well-being of staff and visitors
and damage inventory.
Testing was underway after mold was found on a heating and cooling vent at the University of Missouri’s Ellis Library recently.

Environmental Health and Safety tested the area after the fungus was found and confirmed it was mold, according to a notice from library administrators. The vent was in the special collections area of the fourth floor.

“While we have confirmed there is mold in the area, that doesn’t mean anything,” Environmental Health and Safety Director Todd Houts said.

“Mold is in the air everywhere. It becomes an issue when there’s a lot. We’re not sure how much there is yet.”

Houts said workers set up “traps” to collect samples of the mold throughout the week. Later this week or early next week, environmental staff will examine the collected mold spores.

“Mold has a bad name because when people talk about it, they’re usually talking about extreme situations, but mold is present practically everywhere,” Houts said.

There is no imminent threat from the mold found in the library, he said, and no history of mold problems inside the library.

The notice from the library was sent to library staff, members of the Library Committee and the MU Faculty Council, library spokeswoman Shannon Cary said in an email.

“Environmental Health and Safety will be performing additional inspections and tests to make sure all affected areas are identified,” the notice reads.

“Any affected areas will be cleaned immediately by Campus Facilities, and other air ducts in Ellis Library will be cleaned as needed. In addition, MU Libraries administration is working with the Office of Energy Management to make sure that proper temperature and humidity levels are maintained at Ellis Library and the specialized libraries at all times.”

Last fall, mold damaged about 600,000 books the university had in off-site underground storage. Most were saved, with cleanup paid for through grants and a self-insurance fund.

Source: Columbia Daily Tribune.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

British government loses landmark air pollution case

Air pollution is a killer, experts say.
The Government will be forced to urgently clean up illegal air pollution in British cities, after a ruling at the European Court of Justice.

Following the case, brought by environmental group Client Earth, individuals will now be able sue the Government for breaching EU pollution laws, while ministers will be forced to prepare and implement plans to improve air quality “as soon as possible”.

In a slap-down for the Government, the court overwhelmingly dismissed a long-stated policy of seeking to comply with EU air pollution laws by simply appealing to Europe for more time.

Alan Andrews, Client Earth's lawyer, said: “Thousands of people die because of air pollution every year. This ruling will save lives by forcing the government to finally take this issue seriously. They will now have to come up with an urgent plan to rid our towns and cities of cancer-causing diesel fumes”.

In July the Government admitted that several British cities were set to meet toxic nitrogen dioxide gas limits within by 2010, at the same time in emerged NO2 legal limits were exceeded in 40 of the UK’s 43 urban zones in 2010.

Air quality campaigner Simon Birkett, founder of Clean Air in London, said “This is a massive win for Client Earth on all counts in a landmark environmental case that could be the most important in a generation."

He added: “This judgement means early next year the Supreme Court must take any necessary measure to require Defra to produce a meaningful new air quality plan that ensures the excedance period for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limit values beyond 1 January 2010 is ‘as short as possible’. The judgement also makes clear that these limit values are absolute ‘obligations’."

Campaigners say the ruling could see many diesel cars and commercial vehicles banned from city centres to cut pollution.

These are the biggest producers of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a harmful gas linked with heart attacks and asthma.

A clampdown could lead to policies like the London Mayor's plans for an “ultra-low-emission zone” being adopted across the country.

The focus of campaigners will now shift to the UK Supreme court which is expected to interpret what the time frame should be next year.

This should see the UK Supreme Court ordering the government to take action to meet limits in a much shorter time frame.

In the London Assembly Green Party member Jenny Jones called on Mayor Boris Johnson to “urgently review” his air pollution polices in light of the ruling.

She said: “This is great news for Londoners’ health. This judgment shatters the Mayor’s complacency on air pollution. The Mayor must urgently rewrite his strategy and reinstate emergency measures to bring pollution down from its dangerous and illegal levels.”

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