Accredited Environmental Technologies 







Earth Day Quotes 

"It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required."
Winston Churchill

"If your capacity to acquire has outstripped your capacity to enjoy, you are on the way to the scrap-heap"
Glen Buck

"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today".
Abraham Lincoln




     Daily Headlines: School evacuated... 911 dispatches fire department... NG leak causes fire/explosion.

     NG is a colorless and almost odorless gas which is used in homes and commercial buildings for cooking, heating, and water heating. NG consists primarily of methane.

     Since 1937 in the US, mercaptan (an odorant) has been added to NG to provide its distinctive rotten egg smell. This warning property was added after a buildup of NG in a school resulted in a fire/explosion which killed 300 students and faculty.

     What do you do if you smell natural gas?

  • Leave the building immediately
  • Do not attempt to find the leak yourself
  • Do not use telephones in or near the building
  • Do not turn lights on or off
  • Do not operate or unplug appliances
  • Do not operate or move vehicles or equipment
  • Contact 911 immediately and/or your utility provider

     IAQ Investigation: Occupants reported a foul "trash-like odor" upon entering a commercial building during the morning hours. AET's investigation included the use of a direct reading NG meter which detected a small gas leak around the bypass switch on the hot water heater. NG levels were below the lower explosion limit (LEL).

      Why the morning?

     The mercaptan odor associated with the leak built up overnight in the mechanical room where the hot water heater was located. The HVAC units in the mechanical room were on setback (not operating during non-occupancy hours). Upon morning activation of the HVAC system, the odor was dispersed via the HVAC system into the building.

Five Lead Facts

  1. Lead-based paint (LBP) was used in more than 38 million homes until it was banned for residential use in 1978.
  2. Lead-free paint can contain lead. The Consumer Product Safety Commission defines lead-free paint as containing less than 0.06% lead by weight or 600 ppm.
  3. Lead is dangerous to children especially under 6 years of age. Lead can affect children's brains and developing nervous systems, causing reduced IQ, learning disabilities and behavioral problems. Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies. Pregnant women exposed to lead can transfer lead to their fetus.
  4. In most cases, LBP that is in good condition is not a hazard. Even loose or damaged paint poses little or no risk to most adults as long as it is not ingested or inhaled.
  5. Removing LBP improperly or disturbing LBP by sanding, scraping, burning, brushing, blasting, etc. can result in unsafe airborne or surface dust levels. Lead dust associated with damaged paint may be invisible.
Six Things You Can Do to Protect Your Family from Lead Poisoning. 
  1. Treat all painted surfaces as LBP and maintain paint in good (intact) condition.... Treat/repaint surfaces as necessary, especially in homes constructed prior to 1978.
  2. Maintain surfaces free of visible dust by good housekeeping practices. Wet clean surfaces such as window sills, counters/table tops, etc. Wet mop floors. Dry sweeping or dusting can generate airborne lead dust.
  3. Frequently wash children's hands, bottles, pacifiers and toys. Hand-to-mouth contact to lead dust from contaminated surfaces or soil is the most common cause of lead poisoning.
  4. Minimize tracking of lead dust from the exterior by covering exposed soil with grass and leaving shoes inside door entries or wiping off shoes before entering the house.
  5. Use lead-safe work practices when performing repairs or renovations. Make sure contractors working in your home are trained/knowledgeable and take proper precautions when disturbing LBP. If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint. State licensing is required in many areas.
  6. Consult your family physician when your children demonstrate symptoms of lead poisoning. A blood test is the only way to find out if a family member has lead poisoning. Make sure children eat healthy, nutritious, low fat meals high in iron and calcium (such as spinach and dairy products). Children with good diets absorb less lead.

LBP Sampling Controversy...Chip or XRF

     EPA/HUD and most State/Local regulations recognize two different testing methods to determine lead content in paint. These regulations define LBP as a paint or surface coating containing lead greater than or equal to 1.0 mg/cm² (by XRF) or >0.5% by weight (paint chip).


: There is no correlation between the amount of lead measured by XRF and the amount reported by the laboratory analysis of a paint chip.


Testing is performed by a direct reading portable instrument in the field. XRF instrumentation measures through multiple paint layers using a gamma radiation detector and provides results by mg/cm2.

   Paint Chip: The lead inspector collects a small chip incorporating all paint layers down to the substrate. The lab first weighs the chip, analyzes it by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry and provides results by % weight.

     Paint chip analysis is more accurate

since it measures lead in the paint and only the paint. XRF instrumentation provides lead results with 95% confidence. XRF results can be biased as it also detects lead embedded in wood substrates, plasters and piping and solders within wall assemblies.

     Further, in today's buildings, rarely is the top layer of paint lead containing. Paint is often covered by multiple layers of non-lead paint from many repaintings. Paint chip analysis provides a result which is a measure of the average of all layers of paint. XRF reports lead without regard to the non-lead layers and may provide a false/positive result.

AET's position is:

Collect paint chips for lead surveys in industrial settings when destructive sampling is not restricted.
  • Utilize XRF in occupied housing and follow HUD protocol and decision-making carefully.
  • Utilize combination lead surveys with both XRF and paint chips for housing with planned renovations, demolition, or construction activities.

Children's Lead Levels Plummet

     According to a new study published in the March edition of The Journal Pediatric, far fewer kids have high blood lead levels. The government standard considers levels of 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood to be elevated. This study found an 84% drop in the blood lead level in 5000 children (ages 1-5). In 1988, about 9% of these children had high blood levels compared to 1.4% in 2004.


  1. Increased public awareness of LBP hazards. In 1996, Title X required owners and landlords of pre-1978 housing to inform prospective buyers and tenants about any known lead paint in their dwellings.
  2. Aggressive State/Local regulations to inspect, identify and control LBP hazards during renovations.
  3. Regulations now limit lead content in paint to

NJ Lead Regulations: Bureau of Housing and Inspections...Regulations for Lead-Safe Maintenance of Rental Housing

     As an NJ Certified Lead Evaluation Firm, AET is currently working with a 16 building (132 unit) apartment complex to comply with these regulations.

     Completed services have included:

  • LBP building inspections/risk assessments to identify LBP hazards and specify corrective actions to eliminate or control such hazards.
  • Development of a LBP Operations & Maintenance Program to manage LBP in-place, in good condition while controlling work activities which disturb LBP.
  • Preparation of NJ approved Certificates of Lead Hazard Free and/or Lead Free for future owners in the event of property sale as well as savings on licensing fees from the state.

     Our goal is to establish a LBP program that is not only regulatory compliant, but is easy to administer and cost efficient while ensuring the health and safety of building tenants and their family members.

     Lead Information Sources include:

National Lead Information Center (1-800-424-LEAD)

     EPA Pamphlets available:

Renovate Right, Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Childcare Providers and Schools
  • Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.

     Lead Training for Maintenance/Custodial Staff

Lead Safe Building Maintenance Practice Training provided by Rutgers University.This course is a 1 day training course available at a cost of $35.00 per person and complies with the training provisions of NJAC 5:10.   

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