David Kahane, MPH, CIH Chairman of Board and Founder of Forensic Analytical AIHA IEQ Committee -Past Chair

Air Date: 9-7-2012| Episode: 255

This week we discuss running a successful business, the AIHA IEQ committee, fire related by-products, asbestos, mold and more with a mover and shaker in the IEQ world…

Full Description:

This week we discuss running a successful business, the AIHA IEQ committee, fire related by-products, asbestos, mold and more with a mover and shaker in the IEQ world. David Kahane, MPH, CIH is founder of Forensic Analytical, a family of laboratory and consulting companies specializing in industrial hygiene, environmental health and safety and the forensic sciences. Mr. Kahane provides technical expertise and litigation support for asbestos, heavy metals, fungal and other IH-related exposure cases. He performs and supports industrial hygiene and indoor air quality investigations for a variety of commercial, industrial, insurance, military school and residential clients. His company is also currently providing expert witness and laboratory services on fire and soot projects around the country. Mr. Kahane is a frequent guest instructor at UC Berkeley and  has served on both technical committees and on boards of the AIHA, ASTM, EIA, California Industrial Hygiene Council, as well as for CAL-OSHA.

Z-Man’s Blog:

Forensic Files

David Kahane, MPH, CIH the founder of Forensic Analytical, a left coast based family of laboratory and consulting companies specializing in industrial hygiene, environmental health and safety and forensic sciences joined RadioJoe and I on today’s episode of IAQradio.

Nuggets mined from today’s show:
•Legal aspects of doing “bad things” (indoor environmentally speaking) varies from country to country. The US has the most attorneys and the most litigation.

•Large US firms who manufacture products off shore have concerns with supply chain, risk management and worker safety and protection.

•Litigation and bad press can have a negative effect on the value of a brand.

•Asbestos is still a big part of his biz. Dave predicts asbestos remaining a big problem for the next 10-20 years.

•Litigation is moving downstream from the firms involved with “fluffy fibrous” asbestos to firms who incorporated small amounts of asbestos into their products.

•More advanced and sensitive sampling methods now allow smaller quantities of asbestos to be found than ever before.

•Naturally occurring asbestos and asbestos in settled dust are concerns. After an earthquake shakes a building in which asbestos containing materials have been used, asbestos fibers can be found in dust samples.

•Public companies have fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders and must report presence of asbestos.

•While the mineral has many benefits, banning of asbestos makes financial sense due to widespread and costly litigation.

•Asbestos is still used in Japan and many 3rd world countries. Besides science there is also a social context to asbestos. While there are safe ways to work with asbestos and it’s a highly useful mineral, it’s too easy to be sued.

•Over the course of his career, procuring business insurance has sometimes been challenging. Insurance for the forensic crime lab is very costly.

•Tips on obtaining business insurance: choose a good and knowledgeable insurance broker who makes the effort to learn about your business. Professional interaction with insurance companies through training and business events has proven beneficial.

•In the IEP world, the ability to communicate risk effectively will influence your success.

•Business advice. Dave follows Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character’s advice, “a man’s got to know his limitations”. He suggests surrounding yourself with good people who are smarter than you. Join a CEO group to learn from other CEOs. Passion, vision and what they value are important considerations about staff and partners. Always think twice about business decisions

•While the health hazards of mold are debatable the allergic effects are undeniable. While the dose makes the poison we need to consider mixed dose effects.

•IEP performing investigations need to be objective, logical and respectful. Many unsound decisions are being made on small mold issues. Ethical concerns about IEPs intentionally scaring people about mold.

•Health care and hospitality fields need higher awareness of mold. Mold measurement and sampling alone should not be the only trigger to decision making.

•Prevention, resolution and or control on Legionnella in complicated water systems require proper system design, operation and maintenance.

•Green construction methods may result in unexpected consequences.

•Litigation related to alleged property damage from wild fires is increasing. Insurance carriers are seeking clarity.

•Particulate residue from incomplete combustion is ubiquitous; it’s challenging trying to tie residue to a source.

•It’s also challenging to differentiate a minute amount of wild fire related residue from normal exposure: fire places, candles and cooking grills.

•Optical microscopy is a valuable tool in soot investigation. A well trained microscopist can discern what room from which sample was taken.

•Sensory tools are very important, can you see it and/or can you smell it? Damage may be in the eye of the beholder.

•Establishing the threshold for damage: microscopically visible soiling, darkening and/or presence of particulate. Accumulated particulate residue sampling in interstitial spaces is of more importance in a structural fire, while attics are more telling in wild fires.

•Investigators and labs should anticipate range of results beforehand.

•Advocates the use of a standardized approach to sampling, consulting, expert witness work, etc. What is the end goal, what is damaged, what is undamaged?

•Guidance documents are useful and valuable.

•Sampling may lead to sweeping comments and sweeping recommendations
Today’s music: Forensic Files Theme Song

Z-man signing off