December 30, 2015

Gas Leaks Dwarf Savings from Conservation 
The pipes under the streets of Massachusetts are leaking natural gas. Huge amounts. A fact that drives Audrey Schulman crazy. 
“I read an article about old leaky pipes in Boston and there was one line that said the amount of gas leaked in the city each year totally dwarfs the amount that Mass Save saves,” she said.

Mass Save is a statewide energy efficiency organization run by the utilities and funded by a small surcharge on our energy bills. The money is used to help homeowners and businesses reduce their energy bills through free energy assessments and incentives like rebates to homeowners who insulate their homes or install a more efficient heating system.

Schulman runs a non-profit called HEET, which helps non-profits access rebates and services from Mass Save so they can save money and “save the planet,” she said. “In the Cambridge YMCA, the work we helped them with this year will reduce their energy bill by almost $50,000 a year,” said Schulman. But she remains frustrated that her efforts to cut greenhouse gases are offset by the leaks in Boston (where half of the pipes are over 50 years old) that should be repaired. “I’m swimming against the tide!” ...

...The problem of decaying infrastructure and gas leaks is not just a local problem, it’s nationwide. “There’s a single gas leak in California,” said Schulman,” that spills enough methane into the air to equal 25% of that state’s total greenhouse gas emissions.”

Read the complete article: HEET: Too Many Holes in Energy Policy, Jewish Journal, Todd Feinburg, Jewish Journal Editor, January 07, 2016.
HEET has mapped the utility companies' gas data by town to create Google maps of 147 Massachusetts towns and cities

December 17, 2015

Simple Asbestos Management for Schools
VIDEO Simple Asbestos Management 
The mission of the AHERA program is to protect students, their families, educators and staff from exposure to asbestos in schools. To prevent exposure to asbestos in school buildings, AHERA requires all public and non-profit schools inspect each school building for asbestos containing building material and prepare an asbestos management plan to prevent disturbance of asbestos. DSHS strives to carry out the AHERA mission efficiently, effectively, fairly and professionally with respect and dedication to all Texans.
Whether your school is knowledgeable about AHERA or new to the AHERA requirements, get started through the AHERA Compliance Information page.



Failing the Grade: Asbestos in America's Schools. December, 2015.        


December 08, 2015

The Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) program recognized companies and small business groups as TURA 25th Anniversary Leaders. Massachusetts companies are leading the way to reduce toxic chemical use. Watch the video celebrating all TURA 25th Anniversary Leaders.​(Video 2:29 min)​
Hear what ChemGenes Corp., Stainless Steel Coatings, Inc. and Allston Collision Center have to say.
Representative Paul A. Schmid III

Representative Paul Schmid III and Senator Anne Gobi congratulate all nine TURA 25th Anniversary Leaders. 
Senator Anne M. Gobi


List of 2015 nine leading businesses.
TURI offers services & programs to reduce the use of toxic chemicals, energy and water while enhancing the competitiveness of local businesses.  Visit us at our website, at Facebook, or at our offices on the UMass Lowell campus.

November 22, 2015

Feed Your Heroic Imagination
The social sciences have not answered many of the questions about why some people act heroically in certain situations, while other people do not. However, we believe that an important factor that may encourage heroic action is the stimulation of "The Heroic Imagination" -- the capacity to imagine facing physically or socially risky situations, to struggle with the hypothetical problems these situations generate, and to consider one's actions and the consequences (Franco & Zimbardo, 2007). 
By considering these issues in advance, the individual becomes more prepared to act when and if a moment that calls for heroism arises -- a moment to act when most others are passive. — Matt Landon, et al. Is Lei Feng (雷锋) Still a Modern Hero?: A Consideration of Heroic Action in the Context of Culture 
There is a hero in your area. 
It could be you. 

 Feed Your Heroic Imagination  
The Hero Construction Company  Matt Langdon is the founder of The Hero Construction Company. He writes for an adult audience at The Hero Handbook, on how to become a hero and change the world. He curates The Gallery of Heroes — the internet’s best list of heroes.  Matt has been working with the idea of heroes to create positive change in kids and adults alike with one of the most well known names in psychology, Dr. Phil Zimbardo – Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. His work has been featured in Dr. Zimbardo’s TED talks on heroism. (The Heroic Imagination Project)
Giraffe Heroes Project  is a national nonprofit that since 1984 has been honoring the risk-takers, people who are largely unknown, people who have the courage to stick their necks out for the common good, in the US and around the world.

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, founded by author T. A. Barron in honor of his mother, celebrates outstanding young leaders. Each year the Barron Prize honors 25 inspiring young people who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet.
Giving Voice to Values: How to SpeakYour Mind when You Know What's Right by Mary C. Gentile Publisher: Yale University Press ISBN-13: 978-0300161182.  Review: By CSRwire Contributing Writer Elaine Cohen   ...Truly embedding a culture of ethics which compels every individual to take personal responsibility and act ethically in every situation is what makes it all work. This book offers practical advice on how to "build the muscles" to speak and act, plan "voicing values," "craft scripts" and generally be prepared for a range of situations in which bold action is required. As the author says, "It is not about deciding what the right thing to do is, but rather about how to get it done."  For more information about this book, please visit

The Gift of Fear By Gavin De Becker. Learn how to act on your internal survival signals to protect yourself from violence, abuse and the hazards and threats imposed by others.  Although written for potential victims of stalking and violence, it is useful and empowering information for anyone who perceives a threat in a situation that others do not acknowledge or validate.   

November 20, 2015

Pipeline Safety Trust Executive Director honored at the White House as a Champion of Change!

Carl Weimer, the Trust Executive Director, was recognized on Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at the White House as one of 11 individuals from across the country as "White House Transportation Champions of Change."

Comments at Annual Pipeline Safety Trust Conference 

November 19, 2015:  Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) at the Annual Pipeline Safety Trust Conference
 "The ceremony honored individuals who are innovating in transportation and growing the American economy.  And this year Carl Weimer was one of the outstanding Americans recognized as a champion for change in transportation.  So Carl as you know is an innovative leader who's worked with community and industry groups to improve pipeline safety and successfully advocate for stronger pipeline safety regulations at the local, state and federal level.   So Carl, thank you very much for your leadership and again congratulations on receiving the White House champion for Change in Transportation Award."
November 20, 2015: Jonathan Peress, Environmental Defense Fund
"I very much want to express gratitude both to Rebecca, Carl and the Pipeline Safety Trust...For a small shop of three people, not only is their profile very large, but their impact is very large."
Pipeline Safety Trust Logo
Carl Weimer, Executive  Director, Pipeline  Safety Trust, Ferndale, Washington. Mr. Carl Weimer is Executive Director of the national Pipeline  Safety Trust. Under his leadership, the Trust has worked with community and industry groups alike to improve pipeline safety, testified  to Congress more than 20 times, and successfully advocated for stronger pipeline safety regulations at the local, state and federal level. 

November 13, 2015

Nominate your 2016 Hero
Attention:  Science educators, STEM advocates, professionals in a public health, school health, environmental health, facilities management, IAQ, IPM, health and safety, lab safety, school security, emergency and risk management, asthma educators, first responders, school administrators, nurses, advocates, parents and students.

Do you know someone whose sense of responsibility, inspirational leadership, and exemplary persistence and courage protects children from school hazards and unhealthy school conditions?

Send your hero's story, name, and email/phone # by January 10 to

The annual Healthy Kids Hero Award was created as an annual opportunity to tell the story of the 1937 Texas School Explosion and to inspire leadership to protect children from chemical hazards and unhealthy conditions in today's schools.

Read more:
Who Is Your 2016 Hero? 
Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion
Heroes 2004 - 2015

November 10, 2015

A dodgy diversion around the gas meter - 2015
THE owner of two posh seaside restaurants has been jailed after stealing nearly £150,000 worth of gas - over 20 years.  Martin Billingsley, 61, got away with helping himself to the gas which he used to run his popular establishments. But justice finally caught up with Billingsley and he appeared in court to plead guilty to repeatedly tampering with gas pipes to bypass meters - risking an explosion and endangering lives. Read More: Cornish restaurant owner jailed after stealing gas for more than 20 years by Plymouth Herald November 11, 2015

Bootleg hookups - 2015
NYC blast probe highlights problem of stealing gas
It was a run-of-the-mill complaint - a smell of gas - with a troubling explanation: Someone had improperly tapped into a Manhattan building's gas line, and it was leaking.

Bootleg hookups -1937 New London, TX 

To save money the school board substituted a gas system for the steam system. They had ignored the architects' warnings that the building had not been designed to vent gas fumes. Then, the school board decided to hook-up to a free residue gas line while school and oil company officials agreed to look the other way.

Even though the gas had no odor, there were reports that students had headaches and burning eyes from gas fumes in their classrooms. One account describes students sitting in a classroom with jackets on and windows open to vent the fumes.

On March 18, thirteen minutes before school dismissal, a shop teacher flipped a switch to turn on a power sander and a spark set off a gas explosion killing more than 300 students, teachers and visitors.

The official Court of Inquiry acknowledged a series of design, building and operations problems, and unheeded warnings, yet named no one responsible. They concluded that school officials were just "average individuals, ignorant or indifferent to the need for precautionary measures, where they cannot, in their lack of knowledge, visualize a danger or a hazard." (Court of Inquiry, 1937.)

The disaster resulted in a law that required adding a warning odor to natural gas, thus saving millions of lives all over the world.

October 23, 2015


Across the country, students in school science classrooms and other laboratory settings are being burned and injured when accidents occur during science demonstrations. (UNSAFE SCIENCE by Andrew Minister, NFPA Journal, September-October 2015.) NFPA Journal is the official magazine of the National Fire Protection Association 

Andrew Minister is chief fire protection engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, and chair of NFPA's committee on Laboratories Using Chemicals.
A few of the resources in UNSAFE SCIENCE
CSB safety bulletin, “Key Lessons for Preventing Incidents from Flammable Chemicals in Educational Demonstrations.” By following the requirements of NFPA 45 and the lessons provided by the CSB, and by exercising caution and common sense in laboratory settings, schools and teachers can prevent these incidents that have resulted in injury and trauma to hundreds of students.

NFPA Lab Safety Tip sheet for Teachers and Students Download NFPA's Lab safety tip sheet. (PDF, 1.72 MB)

Laboratory Safety Institute (LSI), an international nonprofit education organization for laboratory safety that provides low-cost laboratory safety training and reference materials for schools.  


October 16, 2015

What's That Smell? How Natural Gas Is Odorized For Safety

Oct 8, 2015

In 1937, a natural gas leak caused a big explosion, destroying a school in New London, Texas, and killing nearly 300 teachers and students.
Daniel Davila with CPS Energy says that event changed the gas industry forever.  

More: Texas Public Radio

September 19, 2015

Heroes of Public Health
Photo: Ellie Goldberg

“Insanitary conditions”   

Michigan Today, James Tobin, September 18, 2015

Students casually spitting on classroom floors — that was apparently the last straw for Dr. Aldred Scott Warthin.

In 1910, Warthin served not only as U-M’s chief professor of pathology but as chair of Ann Arbor’s chapter of the Michigan Anti-Tuberculosis Society, and he was the loudest voice in town in favor of cleaning up the campus — because in the early 20th century, the campus, truth be told, was a dirty, smelly, and downright unsanitary place. 

Read the complete article.

~ 0 ~

May 10, 2015

In your school considered to be in a High Consequence Area?  

Read: Another pipeline incident anniversary – have things changed since 2009?
On May 4, 2009, an 18-inch Florida Gas Transmission Company interstate pipeline ruptured about 6 miles south of Palm City, Florida, releasing about 36 million cubic feet of natural gas and causing three minor injuries in Martin County....
...There is a complicated way for gas pipeline operators to choose their method of designation and draw their boundaries (see 49 CFR §192.903). Put generally, any area near a pipeline with a high population (for gas pipelines, that means 20 or more homes), or with a populated activity center (e.g. school, office, assisted living, recreation area, campground, etc.; referred to as “designated sites” in the gas regulations), would be considered part of an HCA. Just how near to the gas pipeline these homes and activities need to be to trigger the HCA designation depends on how big the pipeline is, and the pressure inside it.

So what if a community is building a new school? Or what if a development goes in within a half-mile of an existing pipeline? In the case of a hazardous liquid (e.g. crude oil or petroleum) pipeline, nearby town water intakes or environmentally sensitive areas also trigger the HCA designation – what if a town changes their water intake or an agency recognizes a new critical habitat area? These types of changes and development happen all across the country, but only a very few communities have practices or rules in place that facilitate active dialogue between a pipeline operator and developer, or between an emergency management team and pipeline operator, to the degree that these types of changes are promptly reflected in a pipeline operator’s integrity management program.

In fact, PHMSA rules allow over 10 years – yes, TEN YEARS – from the time a natural gas pipeline operator identifies HCA changes to when that information must be part of a completed baseline assessment of the pipeline in the newly identified HCA...


April 21, 2015

'Pipelines blow up and people die'

After a series of deadly accidents, Congress created an office to oversee the nation’s oil and gas pipelines. A decade later, it’s become the can’t-do agency. By Elana Schor and Andrew Restuccia 4/21/15,
Great graphics online. Read more and see more:

A Lesson of the 1937 Texas School Disaster: Visualize the Danger. People with responsibility may not have the knowledge or care about precaution.
The official Court of Inquiry acknowledged a series of design, building and operations problems, and unheeded warnings, yet named no one responsible. They concluded that school officials were just "average individuals, ignorant or indifferent to the need for precautionary measures, where they cannot, in their lack of knowledge, visualize a danger or a hazard." (Court of Inquiry, 1937.)

April 07, 2015

Healthy Schools Day April 7, 2015.  

Parents can't take it for granted that schools are the healthy places and safe havens we expect them to be. Too many schools, old and new, create or ignore poor ventilation, bad sanitation, and many health and safety code violations. For example, the US EPA estimates that nearly 33,000 middle and high schools have outdated or improperly stored explosives and other hazardous chemicals in maintenance closets, labs and classrooms. It takes enormous courage, persistence and creativity to overcome the status quo of indifference or limited resources.

Healthy Schools Day reminds us to support the leaders and join the partnerships working to protect children from unhealthy and hazardous school conditions. 

Read about Healthy Kids Heroes at Heroes 2004 - 2015 (
Healthy Kids Hero 2015 

March 16, 2015

Healthy Kids Hero 2015 - A WOW Experience
For Release March 18, 2015  
Contact: Ellie Goldberg,

Healthy Kids Hero 2015
Gregg Smith, Director of Facility Services
and his Salt Lake City Schools Facility Team 
for their Facility Services Newsletter,  

March 18, 2015 is the 78th anniversary of the 1937 TX School Explosion that killed more than 300 people, mostly students.  Every year, in remembering the tragedy, I salute a Hero whose extraordinary sense of responsibility inspires excellence in school safety.  

Honoring an inspiring leader is part of a campaign to make March 18 a special day to bring "safety" from the margins to the core of school and community culture. (Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion.)

The 2015 Hero is Gregg Smith, Director of Facility Services, and his Salt Lake City Schools Facility Team. 

Gregg and his staff have been widely recognized and congratulated for many successful exemplary programs and best practices in indoor air quality, integrated pest management, energy efficiency and recycling.   

However, this recognition applauds the Facility Services newsletter, Fresh Paint, for best practice in communication that builds and continuously strengthens a culture of responsibility and continuous improvement. Fresh Paint is an extension of Gregg Smith’s management philosophy “Communicate, Coordinate, Follow Through” and it is printed on every staff meeting agenda.

Read full story: Announcing Healthy Kids Hero 2015 

Manhole Covers Go 'Boom'
The Brian Lehrer Show, 3/9/2015.

Manhole Explosion Season. 2011 NYC manhole fires occurred in 2014. 100 already occurred this year.

The hazards of urban life. All the salt getting into our manholes will continue to corrode the wires down there, say the experts, and that's set to cause fires throughout the summer. Here's the science behind it.

Francisco de Leon, associate professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, and Michael Clendenin, the director of media relations at Con Edison, discuss ...why the number spikes in the winter and how to stay safe as you walk by those ubiquitous manhole covers. 

March 14, 2015

Let’s make March 18 an annual day to honor those whose extraordinary sense of responsibility and leadership protects students and staff from chemical hazards and unhealthy school conditions. Teach Safety. Teach Safely. Update our values and technical skills to live safely with 21st century chemicals and technology.

Hero 2015: A Wow ExperienceGregg Smith, Salt Lake City Schools Facility Services 

Read: Mike Matley, Custodian, Westborough Public Library, Westborough, MA

Read: Roger Young Roger Young and Associates, Andover, MA

Janet Hurley 2013

Linda Stroud 2013
John Gann 2013
Aimee Code 2013
Dwight Peavey 2011
Ruth Breech 2009

Did you know...? MERCAPTAN.   

Natural gas and propane are colorless and odorless. The March 18, 1937 Texas School Explosion led to the law requiring Mercaptan to be added to natural gas as a warning odor.  

Other recommendations of the 1937 Court of Inquiry still needed in most schools:
1) technically trained administrators for modern school systems,
2) regular inspections and more widespread public education about managing hazards,
3) a comprehensive, rational safety code.

March 09, 2015

What is a gas emergency?
Gas safety emergencies can include but or not limited to some of the following:
  • You smell gas or suspect a gas leak.
  • There is low pressure (low flame) or no gas in all of your gas appliances.
  • Gas to an appliance or heating unit stays on and cannot be shut off.
  • There is a continuous flow of water leaking from your gas heating unit or water heater.
Environmental Defense Fund: Boston: Snapshot of natural gas leaks
If you ever smell gas, or have any reason to suspect a problem, experts say to immediately exit the building or area, then call the authorities. For information specific to National Grid, see their safety page.

What to do if you suspect a natural gas leak in your home WRCB-TV  (VIDEO)

March 07, 2015

Green Chemistry Update your school's values and technical skills to live safely with 21st century chemicals and technology.

The City of Los Angeles and NPPR's Green Chemistry Guide provides state agencies and technical assistance providers with tools and resources to support clients in greening their operations, supply chains, processes, and products. WSPPN will announce a series of webinars to begin in May that will cover the content of the manual chapter-by-chapter. Download Manual

confGreen Chemistry 101 Video Training Modules (Produced by the Western Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Network -WSPPN)

Learn the twelve principles of green chemistry taught during The Green Chemistry & Engineering Student Workshop ( Monday, June 17, 2013, Washington D.C.)  
The course content is provided by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute whose mission is to catalyze and enable the implementation of green chemistry and engineering throughout the global chemical enterprise.  

This material is the property of the ACS GREEN CHEMISTRY INSTITUTE® and is being shared by WSPPN with permission. For a listing of upcoming trainings, visit their site. (
WSPPN thanks its sponsors:
The American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute (ACS-GCI)
The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR)
The Washington State Department of Ecology

February 24, 2015


OSHA Whistleblower Investigator Blows Whistle on Own Agency

Employee says the federal whistleblower program isn't protecting whistleblowers or the public.
“I want that pilot to know everything they need to know,” said Stookey, “so everyone aboard that aircraft can safely get to their destination and see their families that night.”  
See story at:

EG: Are whistleblowers trouble makers or heroes?

February 20, 2015

‘Midnight Rider’ Accident Still Resonates One Year Later

Family and friends of Sarah Jones are calling for a moment of silence on Feb. 20, on movie sets, work locations and elsewhere in the industry. That is the date, one year ago, when Jones was killed, and eight others injured, as the crew of “Midnight Rider” scrambled to get out of the way of a train speeding through their shooting location near Jesup, Ga. While there have been dozens of serious accidents on film sets over the past 20 years, often with calls for safety fading over ensuing months, Jones’ death triggered a massive outpouring of anger, frustration and protest — raising an awareness of on-set safety that has endured.

Read full article: Variety, February 18, 2015

February 19, 2015

Indoor Air Quality Plus Energy Efficiency: A Formula for Saving Money While Protecting Health
IAQ Master Class series

Thursday, March 12, 2015, 1:00–2:00 p.m. EDT Followed by a live mentoring and Q&A session, 2:00–2:30 p.m. EDT

Participants will learn how to —

Featured IAQ Experts from the SHIELD Network

  • Kudret Ütebay, The Cadmus Group
  • Bill Orr, Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)
  • Model School District (to be announced)

Register today to learn more about how effectively managing IAQ in schools can contribute to a healthier learning environment, improved academic performance, and more efficiently performing facilities.

February 10, 2015

Safety Exercises to Mark the 4th Anniversary of Deadly 2011 Gas ExplosionWFMZ Allentown.
Four years ago Monday, a gas explosion rocked the city of Allentown killing several people.

Read more from at:
Connect with us... Facebook/69WFMZ or @69News

Read more from at:
Connect with us... Facebook/69WFMZ or @69News
February 10 is the four year anniversary of the 2011 Allentown gas explosion that killed five people, ranging in ages from 4 months to 79 years old...

Officials said the blast was caused by a crack in an old UGI cast iron pipe.

A spokesman for the utility company said safety exercises were conducted Monday to mark the four year anniversary of the Allentown explosion.

Photo Gallery

The Honorable Ed Pawlowski, Mayor, Allentown PAOne Year Later – What has the Public Learned from the San Bruno Tragedy? Pipeline Safety Trust Annual Conference 2011. Following the 2011 Allentown Explosion, Mayor Pawlowski’s explains the need for regulations to require safety measures such as regular inspections, remote shutoff valves, and other protections to prevent leaks and explosions in the nation’s aging infrastructure such as Allentown's 120 year old gas distribution pipelines.
The Need for a Mayors’ Council on Pipeline Safety, Ed Pawlowski, Mayor, Allentown, PA (pdf, 6.9MB)
Mayor's Council on Pipeline Safety  MCPS is a national, bipartisan team of mayors, elected officials, fire chiefs, first responders, government, NGOs, educators and citizens.