November 13, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

As previously reported in a blog posted October 12, 2018, the US approach to controlling legionella is different from the United Kingdom. The UK approach is national in nature and very strict. Two recent examples include a leisure center in Walton-on-the-Naze being criminally prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive ( UK government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare) for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease two years ago. Another case involved a care home being fined 600,000 pounds (approximately $777,000.00) after pleading guilty to the death of a 90 year old who died…

November 6, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Connecting the dots is part of what this blog is all about. You may remember that significant regulations were passed in New York City in 2015 because of the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease (see my blog of October 25, 2018). Unfortunately, these regulations are not being properly enforced by the city health department. As a result, 90% of the cooling tower cases heard by an administrative agency charged with enforcing the regulations have been dismissed. This is despite the fact that there has been 65% increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases from 2016 to 2017. Even Mayor De Blasio has criticized…

October 25, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

New York City Council enacted a law in 2015 after a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx. The law requires that every cooling tower in New York City be identified, registered and inspected on a regular basis. The city has admitted recently that it is not sure it has found all cooling towers, three years after the legislation was passed (the city health department uses experts on the street and satellite imagery to find cooling towers). This failure to even identify all cooling towers takes on added significance after one remembers that there have been two recent outbreaks…

October 24, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

This office has had numerous inquiries regarding persons contracting Legionnaires’ disease. Often times the person does not know where they acquired the disease. Unfortunately, many times the person acquired the disease from a cooling tower. The cooling tower need not be in the vicinity of the person who acquired the disease,  or  even have been identified by health authorities. Consequently, the person may not know that a cooling tower has caused him or her to get sick. These cases are considered sporadic in nature. On the other hand, when a cooling tower has been identified as the source, as in…

October 17, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

As promised, this blog will cover US legislative attempts to control the bacteria legionella that causes Legionnaires’ disease. While many states have requirements as to the amount of residual chlorine that must be present in spas, no state has legislation to curtail legionella in cooling towers than New York. Unfortunately, the New York legislation does not cover the potable water system (showers, faucets, holding tanks, etc.) in a building, or any water feature such as a lobby fountain. This is completely different from the approach taken in the UK as explained in an earlier blog, which is national in nature…

October 12, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

There is no national legislation controlling the propagation of the legionella bacteria in buildings, cooling towers, or jacuzzis in the United States. In fact, there is only one state, New York, that has any statewide legislation to control legionella growth in the state’s cooling towers. Various states have levels of residual chlorine that must be in spas. This haphazard and inadequate approach is very different from that taken by the United Kingdom as indicated in a previous blog. It is time therefore, for Congress to address a national problem and enact national legislation to control the increasing incidence of Legionnaires’…

October 9, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

As mentioned in a previous blog, the United Kingdom takes a very different approach to controlling Legionnaires’ disease. Unlike the United States, the UK has a national law, the Health and Safety Act of 1974 as amended, whereby owners of premises can be criminally prosecuted if in violation of the Act. The Act requires a regular risk assessment to identify any areas in a building such as a hotel that has or could develop the legionella bacteria. Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease result in a full investigation as well as a possible criminal prosecution. Greater detail will be provided about the…

October 8, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

A second cluster of Washington Heights residents have been hospitalized because of Legionnaires’ disease. The prior outbreak in the same geographic area in July of this year resulted in numerous persons being hospitalized and one person dying. The New York City Health Department has implicated a cooling tower at the Sugar Hill Project as the source of the second outbreak. The department has directed the Sugar Hill Project to disinfect its cooling tower for the second time. This second direction by the health department points up a major weakness in the current legislative scheme. Many of the cooling towers that…

October 5, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

This law firm will issue a white paper on the need for stringent legislation at the national level to curtail the increasing incidence of Legionnaires’ disease throughout the United States. Rather than rolling out the paper at one time, various chapters will be issued that when taken as a whole make up the white paper. While many of you might not be familiar with the term white paper, it refers to reports that were issued by the British government regarding matters of concern to the general public. What could be more pressing in this country than Congress passing legislation that…

March 14, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

We recently wrote about the progress of a bill in the Illinois legislature which would promote the prompt notification in the case of an outbreak of an infectious disease like Legionnaires’ disease. There is, however, another push within these legislative efforts to also promote more rigorous Legionella monitoring. In order to keep Legionnaire’s bacteria from spreading, lawmakers are proposing, in addition to the notification requirements we discussed previously, a new water management plan which would require state operated residence facilities to monitor their potable water systems for Legionella. According to Senator Mike Hastings, “(V)eterans at these homes deserve homes that…