Sunday, December 30, 2012

first year of testing

The goal was 750 and thing were started late.
The person collecting samples was not hired until the middle of March.
The final total?  751.
the person hired was able to do 707 of those samples, while the inspectors added 44.
This was in spite of the snow storm and hurricane, so it was a job well done.

But people are not interested in numbers, but rather results.

I think the most significant thing uncovered was extremely high chlordane levels in the mid west portion of Stamford, far away from all the tauted "sources". 
5 samples over US EPA MCLs and none relatable to the dump or the arboretum.
19% of the sample had some level of pesticide in them.
5% were over the action limits set by the State of CT.
The issue with pesticides and their affect on our lives may be more complex than simple carcinogens,
a recent study indicated there may be effects of the immune system and although it would be virtually impossible to study, there is thoughts that chromosome damage might be generational.

The numbers in the drinking water still pale in my view to the constant exposure that all of us have to all the newer agents used to control insects and the older ones still hanging around.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Well, people have finally been asking simple questions on the fly on how to do things.
It still perturbs me that these questions have not been asked before, but whatever.
Some acknowledgements came that i have been work 33 years and so i go to the first paper published in the National Environmental Health Journal about what we do to our wells with what we dump into a softener...
The paper was entitled:  Salt in Well water, Is there a softener in the background.

The study linked the usage of softeners discharging Sodium Chloride into septic systems as the major cause of chloride levels over the area average.
Over time and a switch to a more Eco-friendly potassium Chloride, determinations could be made of actual ground water flow tracking potassium levels.
This has changed back with economic hard times with more people abandoning ecologically friendly products and using cheaper sodium chloride again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Count down

Day 4...
On this day it was made clear that most of what i have done in the past 33 years,
will no longer be done at the Health Department lab.
Ok, i expected this, but i am disappointed that the reason is because of disinterest.

So for a report -
the abstract of a published paper in the National Environmental Health Association Journal:

Predictability of Swimming Prohibitions by Observational Parameters


Authors: Joseph E. Kuntz, BS, RS

              Robert Murray, MS, Laboratory Director           

              City of Stamford

              Health Department Laboratory

              888 Washington Blvd.

              Stamford, CT 06904

              phone: (203)977-5843


Using compiled bacterial analyses to predict the water quality when certain conditions have been observed, provides a way to establish public health policy that is active when a problem exists. Conditions were reviewed using a geometric mean specifying different parameters which included the amount of rain in previous days, wind direction and speed, tides and high tide height, water temperature, drought or flood conditions for the season, different materials coming into the swimming areas and the location and amount of any sewage spills. Only three events showed statistical significance (Chi-Squared P < 0.0001): rain events of 1.00 inch or more in a 24 hour period under normal weather conditions, rain events in a 24 hour period under drought conditions over 0.75 inches, and when "floatable" material from distant sewage spills (i.e. grease balls) are present at a beach. This evaluation enables a public health policy which restricts swimming when conditions are present that constitute a public health concern without needing to wait for bacteriological examinations to prove a problem exists.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

True closure

The following link on the City' Website: Reports and surveys will be shut down shortly.
This is not my decision, but rather the provisional lab directors decision.
All of these reports are things that i have written and reviewed, but it is deemed worthless, especially now that i am leaving.
I will be posting each of those here and so i am unconcerned.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Swan Song

In 7 days, i will no longer be the "chemist" at the Stamford Health Department.
There may be even fewer posts in this area after that.
I have allowed my RS in Connecticut to lapse as of November 30th, which shows you just how commited i am to leaving this feild.
I have kept my ACS (American Chemical Society) membership because chemistry is a very diverse feild and is involved in every part of our lives, whether it be using man-made items or natural products.

The lab at the Health Department will no longer be offering any metals testing - no iron or manganese, copper, arsenic, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc or lead.
At least until they hire someone new who is interested in these things (read what this says about the current person, who is strictly clinical).

This bathers me, but there are other labs that offer such testing, the lab has that list.

This bothers me because lead and copper still top my list of the most prevelant metals and the reasons are fairly clear - old pipes, old well pumps or pumps that failed and could not be extracted from the well, there is not natural lead and copper in this area.
Arsenic worries me because even though only 3 wells have been found at the action limit,  Arsenic was used extensively in many products and it remains a significant hazard.
Although a person has said they found mercury in their well, thay have not shared any results and that makes it hearsay and i personally think it is just some one wanting to make trouble.  No mercury has shown up in any tests submitted to me.
Uranium, one of those "natural" products has shown up in a number of wells and this does concern me.  We never could test for this, but other labs can.
Manganese is one of those discoloration metals that has the potential to be dangerous to your health at high levels.  It exists in many wells.
VOCs (Volitale Organic Compounds, think solvents) have been found in insignificant quantities (mostly due to chlorine use) throughout Stamford.
Pesticides, the big concern, have shown to be all over and very persistant in the environment.  Political and executive descions will prety much keep this as a Stamford problem, even though it is very clear to me that it is found anywhere that had some sort of usuage when the pesticide, particularly dieldren and chlordane) where legal to use.
People continue to use pesticides on lawns with great abandon, so more problems will show in the future.
This of course seems to only be a concern as far as wells are concerned.  Everything is treatable and i will continue to say there is more risk in all the other exposures that we have in eveeryday life, than form the well water.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

this is not a feel good post...

For many years i have thought of the pieces that i am going to write now.
I will probably do this over time, but I have started it this day in November

The air we breath,
the food we eat,
the water we drink.
The earth we live on,
the homes we build.
through so many reasons, that i can not enumerate them all...
are not safe.

And yet, the problems that are expounded on
and the solutions that are brought, seem to be less than i could imagine.

Taking care of ourselves,
eat right (but is there really a way to eat right?), exercise, do things in moderation, do not stress out, but everything conspires against this.
To much sugar, too little, to much fat, but only of a certain kind.
Protein only, no protein.
No pasta, but eat like a Mediterranean (without pasta?)
Vegan, vegetarian, carnivore is anything "best"?

water treated, water tainted - what is really bad and what is economically convenient?

And so i can go on, but you get the gist of it.

Is something "organic" because it has no pesticides?
What about the plastic it is wrapped in?  Is that safe and the truck spewing diesel fuel as it carries the "organic" produce to market, that does not taint the product?
 (celery seems to get the most pesticide, as an aside, but some of the things i have seen come from the packaging is far worse, yes really!)

The pesticides that are used and then get into the water we drink in nanogram quantities. 
Is it better that we ate them (pounds probably) as part of our daily vegetable intake over the years?

The hysteria the the US EPA made over Radon, extrapolated from persons exposed to huge quantities in uranium mines.

But chlorine and its by products is not a problem,even though we are exposed to large quantities in the water we drink and the cleaners and the laundry.

But chlorine is used to kill bacteria, all of them, even the good ones...but the bad ones still keep coming at the restaurant, from a sneeze, from our own kitchens....

The fear is real - we have done a lot to ourselves (or rather those we let process our food), but the blame game is an illusion.
Each of us, everyday, no matter how careful we seem to be or want to be are exposed to quantities of carcinogens and toxins and bacteria to will kill us.
Much of it is "natural", much we made to protect ourselves from something we considered worse.

We have to live with this understanding that it is no ones fault and everyone fault..

Thursday, November 1, 2012

disservice to the customer

This is not a restaurant review...

When "Sandy" hit, power was down all over.
The little (fill-in-the-blank) ethnic food establishment decided it would provide a service to its neighbors by opening up (or maybe it was just greed).
They had no power, but they cook with gas, no problem, right?
But the hot water is electric, so to wash their hands, it is only in cold water.
Okay i can deal with that, but then there is one more thing...
the refrigerators have no power and the little hole in the wall starts cooking at 11 AM for lunch.
Soon, with items being taken out of the refrigerator and freezer and with the ovens and stove going,
the temperature is no longer cold.
By 12 noon bacteria begin to grow in the food in these former safe zones.
Now, the E coli and Salmonella and camplobacter are not the worry, it is the simpler one, the bacteria that is everywhere normally that is the worry.
Staph, the kind that grows in your nose and in a cut.  It is everywhere.
It is also killed by heat, but it has a secret because by 6 PM, the organisms that are growing in the food in the refrigerators and freezers begin to produce a toxin.
The toxin is NOT destroyed by heat and so people begin to get sick.
The illness 's onset is rapid because it is a toxin and can be life threatening depending on how much a Person ingests.

If the power is down - do NOT go to the local food place where the power is also down, it will not end well.

Friday, October 19, 2012

a question of Integrety

I have been fielding a lot of issues lately and i watch how others deal with the same things and i see why people become confused or suspicious or skeptical.

In my 33 year, i have been an investigator.
My investigations have include environmental issues, forensic cases, illness investigations and insect problems.
The same method is used - you take your best guess - do as many tests as are needed to say yea or nay , refine your guess, do more tests and come up with a conclusion.
The conclusion may be nowhere near what the first guess was or it maybe exactly.
You do not worry that what you said at first contradicts what you come out with at the end.
You completely understand that first guesses can be wrong for anyone and do not worry about it.
It seems most people are afraid of this approach, they are afraid of my conclusions, but my conclusions are based on facts and it just does not matter.
So a good example is my thoughts that arsenic should be a problem in wells - it has a number of sources, but i really have not found any in well water.  A few traces, because my limit to see Arsenic is down to 1 ug/L and the EPA set limit is 10 ug/L, the CT public health has not set a lower action limit.
So i was wrong.
I did not think lead would be an issue in run well water, but instead, i find that it is and i understand that old pumps with brass fittings (which contains lead) and old solder are down in the wells.
I found that even the older water fountains might not have lead in the water until the cooling mechanism comes on.
I learn something new daily.
A sample comes in and it is suppose to be sewage - it smells like sewage, it has all the correct look and "feel" of sewage, but there is not fecal bacteria (or minimally so).  It is not sewage.  I make that conclusion and others get frightened of that statement.
What is it?  I do not know because i was looking for sewage.  More samples and even though time has passed, it is showing something odd...not sewage, but maybe fertilizer?  The evidence points to that and everyone runs from that statement because the initial assessment was that it was sewage.

Friday, September 28, 2012

issues of Heavy metals and bacteria

This is not about well water...
Recent investigations have turned up significant levels of arsenic in rice, particularly high in brown rice and so much that the FDA is begining to act (Chemical and engineering news, Sept 25, p 25).
Further information showed significant levels of arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead in chocolate, the highest levels found in dark chocolate (Released as an application note from Spectoscopy magazine)
In the news, you hear of salmonella, again, in natural, ORGANIC peanut butter.

All of these things are suppose to be good for you.
In my lack of information, i have wanted wells to be tested for arsenic, but the levels i have found in the wells pales in comparison the these reports.
It is scary.
As i llok of my database, of the 7,900 tests for bacteria in well water that i have performed since recording the ingfo in 1985, over  1,000 or 13% have not met the standards for bacteriological potability.
This is still the biggest, easily correctable issue a well can have.
enough said

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

transforming old farms into housing with wells is a bad idea.

more on pesticides
I have been tearing apart the data we have collected from all the well testing,
there are things i "see" as the data goes in that i have to prove by sorting and compiling the data.
That is part of why the Nitrate post was important, because the supposed link between Nitrate levels and pesticides is in the very fabric of current State of Connecticut thinking.
However, this does not mean the reason why that thinking exists is wrong.
The idea that old agricultural areas are to blame, i believe still holds water.
There are many old farm areas that have now become suburbs and this is what i address today.
Data was collected (as best that we could) on past uses of a property.
The entire dataset now has close to 1000 test results,
the dataset of property that used to be on farm land is smaller, but over my own designated limit of 50 wells.
Of all the wells tested, 19.1% of the wells have some pesticide present,
7.74% have pesticides over action limit
From homes that were built in areas that were farms:
26.23% of these wells have some pesticide present
14.75% have pesticides over the action limit.
When looking at the GIS map of this information, it should be noted that only a portion of the old farm area is effected, most of the area is not.
This would indicate that a significant portion (not the only) is from old farm dump sites.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Pesticide Nitrate relation

The State DEEP has been saying for a long time that if a well had Nitrate nitrogen over 5.0 mg/L, the well should be tested for pesticides.
A while back i said that it did not look as if it was so, but was waiting to study it.
Here is the data

343 wells tested for both pesticides and Nitrate-nitrogen.
66 showed pesticides at some level.
45 showed Nitrate Nitrogen > 5.0 mg/L
11 wells with high Nitrate-nitrogen showed pesticides
55 did not.

Lets put the nails in the coffin, this does not correlate!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Confusion, detection limits and action levels

It is time for me to "go" there.
The article was in the Advocate (Stamford newspaper) talking about detection limits and how tests before 2011 were not any good because they could not "see" trace amounts of the pesticides everyone was worrying about.
The reality is many tests done by several labs were reported down to a detection limit that was as sensitive as it could be, many were not and it depended on the lab.
A discussion on this can be found at the following link.
It is confusing.
There were labs which were simply taking peoples money and doing a test which was only a screening test.
There were other labs who would not report down to the detection limits.
Now tho, there is another wrinkle - the state lab will no longer report anything below the current action level.
There maybe politics involved since they used to do this.
If the DEEP uses the state lab, then one could expect to see some where around 5% of the wells with reportable amounts of pesticides in CT.
In Stamford, we have been looking for any amount detectable and that level runs about 19%.
This of course will mean that "pesticides" are a "Stamford" problem and not a big deal.
I have seen (and have some of them in my possession) reports from other towns with pesticides in wells that are both above the action levels and below.
These wells are not necessarily near Stamford.
Is 19 or 29% unacceptable and 5% is?
Those are questions people need to ask and it does get confusing.

Friday, August 17, 2012


We regularly send up different animals for testing, mostly bats and only a few of those come back positive for rabies...
This was in Stamford in the area of the Oaklawn cemetery.
One was typical - dogs going after a skunk in the yard.
the other very unusual in that the skunk attacked a person without warning.
There have been a number of other reports of unusual skunk behavior, but none have been positive so far.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

West Nile Returns to Stamford

We go through this now annually since the early 1990's.
First it is the dead birds, then Mosquito's , then Humans.
West Nile virus is here to stay and because we had a very mild winter and early, warm Spring.
The virus is present in the mosquitoes that bite humans a month or so early.
Limit activities in the early morning and early to late evening.
Wear long sleeves
Put on insect repellent.
If you have a party outside in the evening, put fans out - mosquitoes have a hard time navigating in wind.
Eliminate any standing water that you can.  Mosquitoes do not travel very far.
If the water can not be eliminated, us BT dunks.
This bacteria is effective against mosquito larva only, so very safe and effective!
Be safe!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The numbers reported on pesticides are not what we gave

The percentages that are being reported in the local papers are not correct.
Some of my issues my have a small bit to do with it,
but nothing is as high as is being reported concerning pesticides.
First the Percentages below the merrit parkwat were 25% presence - not above action levels.
Second, when doing calculations, the query for all tests, included a numebr of repeat positive tests.
Why, because i made a mistake:
In gathering all the information that i could on wells, there were times that the presence of a pool was not recorded or a well depth was recorded as what an owner remembered, not what a well drillers report showed.  Since the query was a "grouped" query, so that the highest level of pesticide found would show, individual properties were counted twice.
This increased the number of tests significantly.
So in this blog, i am trying to give the most accurate information that i can.

The current number of 30% above action level is being reported and yet even with all my mistakes, it never was that level.
24% presence level and above the action level was less.
so here is what i have, correcting previous mistakes:

total wells tested 766
less early test 713 (not using current methods and with poor detection levels.)

Summary of extra information collected

House Built Well depth well distance pool Onsite
Average 1958 250 33
Max 2008 1100 200
Min 1730 30 0
count 741 134 97 55
median 1962 200 25

Sum of pesticides

Chlordane Dieldren Heptachlor epoxide Transnonchlor alpha chlordane gamma chlordane
max 7.400 1.300 0.240 0.100 0.930 0.740
not 0 75 108 7 6 19 18
above AL 26 54 - - - -
above MCL 2 - 1.000 - - -

Percentages (Dieldren and chlordane only)

dieldren and chlordane both present? percent
both 33 4.31%
either 117 16.41%
both dieldren and chlordane >= AL percent
18 2.35%
44 6.17%

In the meantime i am doing one last study on nitrate levels in the wells found with pesticides and not found a significant correlation

To those reviewing this, know there are probably more mistakes that i have made and i will correct them when i find them

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pesticides and personal experience

many years ago before i was a chemist, i had a cat.
The cat was Siamese and was unusual the way Siamese cats often are.
He caught, one spring 4 baby quail and brought them to us unharmed.
We decided to raise them and built a large cage on the side of the yard.
The quail lived several years until a neighbor decided to spray their entire yard for insects.
Being in the 1960's - Chlordane was the probable agent and maybe mixed with dieldren.
The quailed died immediately after the spraying, along with a Horn Toad that liked our rock garden and a Red eared terrapin (turtle).
I did not understand all of it at that time, but it left an impression that i would not use pesticides when ever possible.
Fast forward to 2012 and a discussion with a state person asking for the original copies of test results from 1990.
The strange thing about this is that things have changed.
In 1990,the current method used for detection was not widely used.
The best Gas Chromatography used capillary tubes and the best detection level i saw was 0.5 ppb -
the current action level for chlordane is 0.3 ppb and 0.03 for dieldren and most levels are below 0.5 ppb.
There was an experimental method (at the time) that reached 0.1 ppb,
but the reality is you are comparing apples and squash - not even the same classification.

How we learn

Saturday, June 2, 2012

meaningless or meaningful data collection

over the 32 plus years at the Stamford health Department, i have sought to make my data collection meaningful.
It has been used to shape policy, locally, statewide and nationally.
To me this was what data is for, to make observations, come to conclusions and make action.
Being in public health, i believe it has prevented some people from becoming ill.
We do work for many other entities and i had a conversation (via email) with one of theses the other day that made my hair stand on end.
It was concerning beach testing - they had not brought sample to me on a day they seemed to specify and i innocently asked why.  The following response was what i got:

"I had no intention of closing the beaches regardless of the test results, hence there was no reason to test. I am planning on sampling today."

This from a health Director who's job it is to protect the public's health.

I asked why test at all and the response was "that it was good data collection."

I can not say anything more to this

Thursday, May 10, 2012

perigee tide issues

Last year in Sepatember there was a perigee tide that i had not seen previously and the predicted tide hieght was greater than 9.3 feet.
We had samples beaches just as the tide was ebbing and found high bacteria counts.
Now this was something that i had expected with other high tides, but not found in much significants and so this was the first and only perigee tide that i had found what was suspected.
There were no duplications of the tide or of the results.
The high tide this year occured past midnight and sampling was done at incoming tide after the low.
There was nothing, no bacteria.
The situation remains unproven, but it also begs the question on how long such an effect might last?
The rainfall issue (washing bacteria into the Sound) was carefully studied and we discovered that 24 hours was always enough, but 12 hours was not enough.
This tide will not be repeated anytime soon (at least till after 2013 is over) and i will not be the one to find the issues and the particulars.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

on the other hand...

below the merit parkway, in older homes, with no builder dumps, with no city dump...
the presence of pesticides was 25%.
This is clear support for the idea that they can be found in any well, any where and have more to do with how we used and discarded the pesticides when they were still legal.
This has been my statement all along.
Now it is up to the other places with wells and surburbia to start testing.

Monday, May 7, 2012

alternate explainations

based on information that i had from quarterly tests from the CT DEP (now DEEP), i had postulated that a significant rain after an exteneded low rain period might give false negative results for pesticides.
There were logical reasons for this, particularly if the contamination was coming from a "deep" source.
Samples taken 2 weeks ago, during the 5 day period after heavy rains that i was concerned with, gave several samples with both dieldren and chlordane. 
One would have been sufficient to disprove the theory.
Before this i only had one sample that fit the criteria. 
What is most sad about this is that it now sheds a bad light on HOW the samples were collected.
The DEP had made errors previously (and corrected them) and i was hoping this was not the case, but it appears it probably is the case and that error in sample handling might cause more issues than rain.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

progression of a flu-like virus

For what i experienced, it started with 2 people i new becoming ill with this virus inVirginia, while another, who lived in my house visited.
The last day of the visit, the person visiting became ill, but returned home never the less.
3 days later, it was diagnosed as Bronchitis, but was negative for our current Flu tests.
A neighbor who we talk to became sick, her and her baby.  Again the tests were negative for flu, but came back with pnuemonia for her.  the baby recovered rapidly.
2 more days and the other person in our house became ill.  The onset was so rapid that he cooked dinner feeling fine, but by 9:30 was coughing and sneezing, by morning his voice was gone.
He also had bronchitis.
I became sick 3 days later, but began anti viral therapy immediately and it did not develop into any thing more.
The husband of the neighbor and a friend who comes and visits often at our house. became sick yesterday.
She started anti-viral theraphy and is recovering rapidly, he did not and is getting worse.
This has all the markings of an influenza, but is not showing up on tests.
It is rapid and as a virus, supresses our immune system and so secondary bacterial infections are common.
I did everything i could at the house to minimize my exposure, but it just was not enough.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

pool closures

i have always been a big supported of the CDC - they seem to keep public health in the forefront, even when it is politically unpopular.
Of course i am writing today because i am questioning something.
In the fresh, treated recreational water section - there is a little part talking about closing a pool for only 20 minutes after raising the free chlorine level to 2 when a "formed" stool is found.
The assumption is that a formed stoll has not 1) started to dissolve by the time it is found and 2) only has E. coli as the creature to be concerned with.
Again the assumption is that a "formed" stool means that the person was not sick and e. coli is all that has to be worried about.
I have to say that i am not convinced that these assumptions can be made and that any fecal event should be treated the same - 13 hour closure with free chlorine being raised to over 3 ppm. (they say 12.75 hours, but i am not splitting hairs with 15 minutes).

Monday, April 16, 2012


The winter was very mild and the Spring was very real and long lasting,
but we are missing something,
something very important -
The Spring rain that causes some discomfort in its copious quantity.
It has been very dry in Stamford.
We are on a dry weather alert and when beaches open up, they will be closed on only 1/2 inch of rain,
if we get that much,
Even if we get the rain predicted for Sunday, we are low and expect problems with restricted watering and wells going dry.
The surprise is that the test results for the wells below the parkway are still coming back positive, so the dryness may not be a factor.
Ticks will not like this tho - they do not like dry and despite the warm weather, we have not had that many submissions for testing...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

what if

you have doen everything correctly and things still come out wrong?
This is something every person dealing with food or pools comes to face at some point...

The Restaurant has to do with fish - a restaurant gets their fish and treats it correctly, keeping it cold before cooking and there is no smell.
But when it was first caught, the fisherman did not do what was right and the fish built up high levels of Histamines.
The restaurant was a good one, but numerous people became ill with what is called scobosis and soon people would not go back and the restaurant closed.
Was it the restaurants fault - no, but "things" happened anyway.
A pool follows all the protocals for a solid fecal accident, but a patron complained and inspection was done.
water was analyzed - levels of free chlorine and pH were perfect, but bacteria showed in the test.  Why?  did the poop cause this?
Probably not.  Everything was at a level there should have been no bacteria, but 2 subsiquent tests showed it still present.  Something may have crawled in to the filter and that would not been evident to any one - exceopt the test.  They were shut down till everything was taken apart and cleaned.
The leson is - you never know everything.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

a little shaken

i have been noting an increase in samples with iron bacteria in them and remembered a couple of earthquakes last year.
While not dangerous (at least mostly) an earthquake occurring in an area that does not get them frequently will create some disturbance in wells.
This is an issue because it is unusual for us to have earthquakes, yet last year we had 2.
the pattern:

Earthquakes in Connecticut

Aug 23, 2011
March 24, 2011

November 30, 2010
June 23, 2010

March 11, 2008

August 26, 2003

June 16, 2000

January 9, 1992

Oct 28, 1991

From 1668 to 2007 Connecticut has had 137 earthquakes

opening new veins of water and losing iron in old veins is expected.
They clear up - over time, but with treatment systems, any iron bacteria will raise havoc!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

more pieces of a puzzle

while things seem to be very chaotic around me, i still search for information and answers...

Understanding the “why” of pesticides appearing in wells

The initial issue is dieldren and chlordane’s persistence in the environment.

Chlordane does degrade, but obvious takes many years to do so, but dieldren seems to last longer.

Both pesticides are considered water insoluble, with the solubility of dieldrin being 0.186 ppm and chlordane’s being 0.032 ppm.

The first thing to consider; dieldrin is slightly more soluble that chlordane and would move a bit better in ground water.

More to consider; a study performed in 1992[1] indicated that chlordane would become more soluble, significantly (> 400 ppm) more soluble in ground water with a high organic carbon content (such as septic systems).

Does dieldrin do the same thing?  There are no studies that I found.

What I do have is the information of the quarterly tests done on wells with Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection showing 2 cases where chlordane shows up in the well water test after 30 days of heavy rains.  This does not occur with dieldrin.

Chlordane also becomes undetectable when the rainfall amounts are not great.

The second issue is presence of chlordane in sediment from Long Island Sound (LIS) presented in a study from 2007[2].  The end discussion is that there is continued chlordane input into LIS, even though it is decreasing.  This means that most of the chlordane has “washed out” of the soils where it might influence well water.  There was no references to dieldrin.

Now this secind bit of information might have implications for the Lobster die off?
No - it clear says that levels have not changed since 1977 - chlordane is not the problem...

[1] Environmental Science & Technology, 1992, 26, 2234-2239, Partitioning Behavior and the Mobility of Chlordane in Groundwater.
[2] Environmental Science & Technology, 2007, 41, 7723-7729, Persistent Chlordane Concentrations in Long island Sound Sediment:  Implications from Chlordane, 210Pb, and 137Cs Profiles

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Public Health a review

Now that i have calmed down from my earlier spat, i think a bit of history is in order.
One of the very first public health acts occurred during the Roman Empire with the building of a sewer system, this prevented organisms from sick people infecting healthy ones.
Of course the Roman did not get everything right cause they delivered drinks in lead goblets, what we must learn.
This became a habit of large metropolitan areas to build sewer systems, Paris and London are good examples, but there is more.
There is the case of adding chlorine to water to kill organisms, which has saved many millions of lives simply by killing bacteria which can cause us harm.
There is the case of tracking down and eventually restraining "typhoid Mary" because she carried an organism and would pass it on feeding people in taverns.
These are only a few examples, but present the heart of public health.
It is not medicine, it is not treating disease, it is preventing or educating people about issue to prevent illness or harm.
Now a days we have become much more aware, but many forces stand against taking proper action, still today.
There is always a struggle.
Sometimes the struggle is with knowing too much...
people don't want chlorine in their water because chlorine is toxic.  They do not want vaccines for their children because they think the children should get immunity by having the disease.
These people are very short sited and have forgotten that many millions of people died or had serious debilitating consequences from getting disease that were preventable by these simple steps.  Can we learn new ways that are still safer?
And that is the crux of public health, learning new ways and methods of protecting the public as a whole.
Things which cause cancer are a much more difficult item to deal with.
This is because most cancer does not occur with a single exposure, but exposure over a lengthy time period and not all people react in the same way.
This then is the question about pesticides.
I asked a question for general basic info from the Westchester County Health Lab that tests water and they had no information for me because "Homeowners do not ask for a pesticide test".
As we struggle in Stamford, this ostrich like "hide your head in the sand" approach frightens me.
Public Health means asking questions, sounding gongs and making people aware and trying to get appropriate action taken.
That is all

Friday, January 27, 2012

What is public health?

This  is an extremely important question and oneas of late has created deep reactions inside me so this almost was posted on my other blog.
It is a valid question because some of the arguements i have had as of late revolve around this question and what a Health Department does.
The last heated discussion revolved over the role of a health department giving vacines.
To me this is a no briner, but was being challenged, so again the question what is public health?
I am looking for answers here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A day in the life of a Health Department

there have not been many samplesa lately 918 or so) and i have been lloking at data, the kind of data not everyone gets to look at.
I see that the incidence of Lyme disease and the rate of infection in ticks has dropped together.
I see an increase in sypilis and chlamidia.
I have noted rabies cases begining in an exposure out of the country (in NJ)
and i have seen a lower than normal year for influenza.
Each has significant implications and require information to be shared. outreach to be honed and hopefully bring about education and a decrease in the diseases.
AIDS is still a major issue, but the statitics are not covered by what i have.
Lots to do.

questions, not answers

i have been pondering information that has been presented to me and my question is how to determine if there is a way to verify the information.
This is what i try to do, not always successfully, so i ask questions.
The question is about major, unmarked dumps placed around the area in the past.
Now i believe that many people have "dumped" and still do, what are the consequences?
What is left behind?
These are two major questions that must be asked and of course there are more.
I believe the pesticide residues seen in well water is how we have in the past used and abused and then dumped the substances when they were available.  The residual is dieldren, the longest lasting of these and trace amounts are left in the ground to be be drawn down into drinking water wells by the actions that wells do, draw water.  The consequences are that people now drink that water and therre is a poential for illness to occur.
dumps from buildings or corporations oroil takes leave behind substances that can still be seen today and would be found in drinking water wells near these spots.
The testing that Stamford is offering will include pesticides and VOC testing and it should find trace amounts from any of this.
Since i get to look at this, i will get a better idea and perhaps be able to answer these questions better.