Cinnaminson, NJ, February 27th
recently published an article about alleged mold concerns from former employees of a Vermont medical cannabis business. The VTDigger
reported that past workers interviewed, shared stories of frequent mold contamination issues that could potentially be a health and safety concern.
Reports like this have become quite common as a growing number of states have legalized the use of medical and recreational marijuana (cannabis) over the past years. To support this rapidly expanding industry, commercial marijuana grow operations (MGOs), extraction facilities and retail outlets have opened there doors in many states where they can now legally operate.
Today, this multibillion dollar industry employs thousands of workers and this number is only expected to grow. Unfortunately, some of these operations can potentially pose unique health and safety risks for employees. Warm and humid conditions utilized in many MGOs can support the growth of mold. Inhalation exposure to elevated levels of mold can cause allergies, act as a respiratory irritant, trigger an asthma attack in some people with the condition, and some types of mold can even cause opportunistic infections in people with a weakened or suppressed immune system. This can also be a major concern for some patients that use medical cannabis due to the fact they may have a weakened or suppressed immune system. There are also occupational exposure concerns associated with pesticides, fertilizers, insect allergens, dust and particulate matter (PM).
“Some MGOs produce elevated levels of carbon dioxide (CO2
) to enhance plant growth,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Depending on the source of the CO2
, carbon monoxide (CO), various combustion gases and PM may be present. Reduced ventilation rates to enhance CO2
concentrations could also lead to a buildup of these and other airborne pollutants. At some extraction operations, solvents are used that could cause their own exposure issues. These employees need be trained to recognize respirable hazards and the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for some circumstances.”
The indoor environmental quality (IEQ) scientists at EMSL Analytical, Inc. offer assistance to help protect workers and keep employers in regulatory compliance with health and safety regulations. They provide testing services to identify occupational exposure risks to mold, allergens, solvents, fertilizers and pesticides. EMSL also offers monitoring equipment to measure gases, such as CO, CO2
and particulate matter, in addition to a complete line of PPE.
EMSL has sponsored an educational video about marijuana grow operations and potential occupational exposure risks that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/Yu2fwz298C8
To learn more about this or other indoor air quality (IAQ), industrial hygiene, environmental, health, and safety testing services or monitoring equipment and PPE, please visit www.EMSL.com
, call (800)220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com
. To access indoor environmental quality test kits, visit www.EMSLTestKits.com
.About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 46 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella
, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com
for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.