March 30, 2022 zacherlaw 0 Comments

In response to a 2019 legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Moncton where fifteen people were hospitalized, the New Brunswick government has introduced legislation to reduce the risk of legionnaires’ disease in cooling towers. This bill was introduced by Health Minister Dorothy Shephard and would require a registry and associated maintenance and testing of cooling towers. The registry is meant to help quickly locate the towers for testing in the event of future outbreaks. Public Health officials have said that regular testing and maintenance can reduce the risk of bacteria; however, to this point there was nothing requiring such work in New…

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…

November 5, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Every case involving Legionnaires’ disease that this office has been involved in has always had the defense attorney arguing that the bacteria causing Legionnaires’ disease is ubiquitous (found everywhere). By this the defense attorneys mean that because the bacteria legionella can be found naturally in nature, their clients should not be liable to pay money damages to my clients. What the defense attorneys don’t tell you is that although legionella bacteria may be found in water everywhere, it only causes disease such as Legionnaire’s disease when the property owner does not properly maintain the water system. Failure to properly maintain…

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 23, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

This office has handled many cases of Legionnaires’ disease acquired from a spa, hot tub or Jacuzzi. The recent outbreak in Hampton, New Hampshire is a case in point. One possible source of this outbreak is in the indoor spa at the Sands Resort in Hampton. The reasons a spa may be a source is due to the nature of the system supplying water to the spa. The system itself is called a closed loop system. This means that the water supplying the spa, hot tub or Jacuzzi is in a continuous loop closed off from other water systems in…

October 22, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Many people are not aware that showers are a major source of the legionella bacteria being transmitted to a human. This transmission occurs because of a buildup of the legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, in the showerhead. Once the bacteria is in the showerhead, water containing the bacteria passes through the showerhead holes, thereby aeroslozing  the water and allowing for the inhalation of the bacteria into the lungs of the person getting Legionnaires’ disease. One way to prevent the buildup of the bacteria in the showerhead is to replace the showerheads periodically. Another method is to take off the…

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 15, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Another case of Legionnaires’ disease has occurred in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, bringing the total to 15 including one death since July 2018. All of the victims either lived or traveled in the city. The CDC has completed its environmental assessment by taking water samples from cooling towers and water features such as decorative fountains. Final results have not been released. What is interesting is the local health department’s comment that often a single source for the outbreak is not found. That is not the experience of this law firm. The most recent example is the outbreak associated with the…