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We Remain Open During Stay-at-Home Mandate

The Governor of Illinois has just issued a “stay at home” order essentially closing all “non-essential” businesses.  As of 3:35 PM on 3/20/20, Illinois has not defined what is an essential business.  As a public health laboratory, Suburban Laboratories should be considered an essential business as other states with similar mandates have determined.  Until we hear otherwise, Suburban Laboratories will remain open to serve our customers.
We will be monitoring the situation closely and if anything changes, we will notify clients via email and via our website.  If you have any questions, contact your project manager or me.
Jarrett Thomas
President
(708) 544-3260 x218
2020-03-20T16:11:58-05:00March 20th, 2020|News|

Additional COVID-19 Precautions Taken

First and foremost, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our employees and customers. Suburban Laboratories remains open to serve you and we are taking the following actions to protect us all:

Pick-up and drop off samples

  • Our courier and field service remain open; however we ask that human interaction and social distancing be maintained

Remote work

  • Sales, managerial and most office/project management staff are working remotely

Practice staff partitioning

  • Staff hours are being staggered to minimize overall number of people in the facility
  • Communal lunch and breaks are to be avoided and no more the 5 people may be in one room at the same time

Restrict meetings and social gatherings

  • All business sponsored social gatherings are suspended
  • Video and voice conferencing shall replace face to face meetings
  • Employees should limit physical meetings with external parties

Cleaning and disinfection

  • Staff will clean between shifts and not permit cross-contact between incoming and outgoing shifts
  • Hand sanitizer, spray disinfectant and disinfectant wipes are available throughout the facility and in all vehicles
  • Sterile gloves are to be used whenever possible. Gloves are available throughout the facility

Travel is restricted

  • No regional travel without President approval (vehicle travel does count as travel)
  • Sales staff to cease face-to-face sales calls – calls to happen remotely
  • All employees to follow travel advisories from global and regional health authorities

All respiratory illness shall be reported immediately to management

  • Individuals who are feel sick or have a respiratory illness are required to stay home and seek medical attention if necessary
  • If an individual becomes sick while at work, the employee will be sent home and all areas the employee interacted will be disinfected following CDC guidance
  • Employees testing positive for COVID-19 or who have come in direct contact with someone testing positive are required to notify management immediately.
2020-03-20T16:07:26-05:00March 20th, 2020|News|

Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear Employees and Customers,

Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our employees and customers.  At Suburban Laboratories, we are closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.  Our company intends to remain open during this crisis.  As a part of our general laboratory safety protocols and aseptic laboratory practices, we already have many policies and procedures in place to minimize contamination.  Those practices, including use of sterile gloves, personal protective equipment, disinfection procedures and our laboratory grade ventilation system also helps prevention of contamination and spread of COVID-19.

As a precaution, Suburban Laboratories is advising any employee that comes down with flu-like symptoms to stay home from work until it can be determined that they are not COVID-19 positive.  Should an individual that has been in our facilities test positive or have been in contact with someone that has tested positive with COVID-19, additional cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be taken.

Although this virus is something that should not be taken lightly, simple precautions like washing your hands regularly with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds and practicing “social distancing” approaches have been proven to combat the virus.

We will issue any updates to our policies via our website.  If you have any further questions about COVID-19 please refer to the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html or reach out to me.

Best Regards,

Suburban Laboratories, Inc.

Jarrett Thomas

President

2020-03-13T15:24:58-05:00March 13th, 2020|News|

Is Your Water Safe? Lead in Homes Built Before 1986

Suburban Laboratories is your one stop shop for drinking water testing. We have been servicing the greater Chicago land area since 1936. Over those 70 plus years, we can proudly say we know a thing or two about water testing. In the last 10 years, lead in water has been a rising issue across the country since homes built before 1986 had lead piping installed.

What is Lead?

Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around homes. Even at low levels, lead may cause a range of health effects including behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Children six years old and under are most at risk because this is when the brain is developing. The primary source of lead exposure for most children is lead-based paint in older homes. Lead in drinking water can add to that exposure. Lead is sometimes used in household plumbing materials or in water service lines used to bring water from the main to the home. A prohibition on lead in plumbing materials has been in effect since 1986. Click the link to check out a Lead Testing Kit today.

What are Lead’s Health Effects?

Infants and children who drink water containing lead in excess of the action level could experience delays in their physical or mental development. Children could show slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure.

How Does Lead get into my Drinking Water?

The major sources of lead in drinking water are corrosion of household plumbing systems; and erosion of natural deposits. Lead enters the water (“leaches”) through contact with the plumbing. Lead leaches into water through corrosion – a dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and your plumbing. Lead can leach into water from pipes, solder, fixtures and faucets (brass), and fittings. The amount of lead in your water also depends on the types and amounts of minerals in the water, how long the water stays in the pipes, the amount of wear in the pipes, the water’s acidity and its temperature.

Although the main sources of exposure to lead are ingesting paint chips and inhaling dust, EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of human exposure to lead may come from lead in drinking water. Infants who consume mostly mixed formula can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water. Think it is time to test your water for lead? Click the link to check out a Lead Testing Kit today.

What can you do?

If you want to take the next steps in making sure your home is lead free, check out our lead testing kit in the link provided. Also, feel free to contact Suburban Laboratories or send us a message on our Social Media Pages. Suburban Laboratories, protecting human health and the environment since 1936.

2020-02-04T10:06:32-06:00February 4th, 2020|News|

Lead in Water Testing for Day Cares

Why test for lead?

Lead is a toxic metal that was used in plumbing materials and water service lines. Even at low levels, lead may cause a range of health effects including behavioral problems and learning disabilities, especially in young children.  The Illinois EPA recommends day care centers built before January 1, 2000 test their water for lead

How many samples do I need to take?

Two (2) samples should be collected from each water source that can potentially be used for drinking and/or food preparation. This includes drinking fountain, sink, and fridge. Water sampling must be conducted first thing in the morning after the water has been stagnate for a minimum of 6 hours but no more than 18 hours. Take care to ensure the water is not used for any purpose including flushing toilets, showers, etc… A first draw sample is collected when first turning on the tap and a second after the water has run for 30 seconds. With your order, Suburban Laboratories will provide you with sampling instructions, gloves, and containers to collect the samples.

If you have an refrigerator with an ice dispenser you will also need to order an additional kit for ice samples here: Lead in Ice Sample Kit.

What can I do?

If you want to take the next steps in making sure your home is lead free, check out our lead testing kit in the link provided Lead in Day Cares. Also, feel free to contact Suburban Laboratories or send us a message on our Social Media Pages. Suburban Laboratories, protecting human health and the environment since 1936.

2020-01-30T15:42:45-06:00January 30th, 2020|News|

Why Should I Test my Drinking Water?

Testing Your Drinking Water

As the new year begins, and the seasons take full effect, you can’t help but wonder “how the environment is affecting your home?” Specifically, the piping your drinking water runs through. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), if you are using a private water supply (Well Water) for your drinking water you should, “Test water every year for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids and pH levels, especially if you have a new well, or have replaced or repaired pipes, pumps or the well casing” (EPA Home Water Testing).

If you are on a public water supply (Potable Water) you probably have received a letter or email from the community where you live in. This letter is a called a Consumer Confidence Report and lets you know about your local drinking water quality. This report provides information about possible contaminants found in drinking water, potential health effects, as well as the drinking water source.

Speaking about contaminants in drinking water, contamination can come from a variety of locations and events. Some of the more common sources of contamination found in drinking water come from runoffs from fertilizer use such as herbicides, discharge from industrial factories and chemical factories, erosion from natural deposits, corrosion from household plumbing, and discharge from mills and refineries.

For homeowners, we understand that testing your drinking water is not always top priority, but here are two situations where it would be crucial to test your drinking water. One situation would be of your house was built before 1986. This date is important because up to 1986, contractors were installing lead pipes in homes. Over the years, the lead piping has started to erode and leach out into the drinking water.

The Second situation when you should test your home drinking water is if you have infants and children six years or younger. Infants and children who drink water containing lead in excess of the action level could experience delays in their physical or mental development. Children could show slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure.

Although the main sources of exposure to lead are ingesting paint chips and inhaling dust, EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of human exposure to lead may come from lead in drinking water. Infants who consume mostly mixed formula can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water. Do not wait, Suburban Laboratories offers a testing kit for lead. Click the link to see how we can help (Lead in Homes).

Suburban Laboratories is here to help. With being in business since 1936, we have developed testing kits and packages based on the contaminants most commonly found in drinking water. We have also come up with some frequently asked questions that may be helpful in your search in determining if your drinking water is safe. Click the link to see if you have the same questions (FAQ). If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out to Suburban Laboratories and a project manager will be more than happy to assist you.

 

2020-01-27T10:03:42-06:00January 22nd, 2020|News|

2019 Holiday Hours

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Hours

Thursday 11/28/19:  All Offices Closed.

Friday 11/29/19:  All Offices Closed.

Friday 12/6/19:  Closing at 12:00 PM for a company function.

Tuesday 12/24/19:  All Offices Closed.

Wednesday 12/25/19:  All Offices Closed.

Tuesday 12/31/19:  All offices open but reduced staff.  Contact your Project Manager for availability.

Wednesday 1/1/20:  All Offices Closed.

Due to a 1-day incubation time, drinking water coliform samples will not be set up on the Monday 12/23/19 and Tuesday 12/31/19.  Emergency samples, special projects or samples with short holding times must be arranged with your Project Manager.

2019-11-26T10:47:02-06:00November 26th, 2019|News|

New IL Construction Sample Analysis Requirements

The Illinois EPA adopted new public water supply rules on July 25, 2019 that include modifications to analysis and reporting of new construction bacterial samples.  Under the new rules, new construction samples must be reported as presence or absence of total coliform bacteria.  This is a change from previous reporting requirements of no bacterial growth as measured by the membrane filtration method per Standard Methods 9222B.  This change allows laboratories to adopt current presence/absence methods utilized for the analysis of routine compliance distribution samples for total coliform and e. coli.  While the membrane filtration technique remains an approved method for both new construction and distribution samples, additional confirmation steps are now required when any bacteria is found to be present, leading to additional days of testing, increased turnaround time and cost. Effective immediately, Suburban Laboratories will no longer be using the membrane filter method.

Due to these rule changes, Suburban Laboratories has updated its policy to analyze all new construction samples by Colilert Presence/Absence method 9223B.  This allows for more efficient analysis and faster reporting of results.  It is understood that on some rare cases, a total count of coliform bacteria or e. coli is preferred.  In these situations, Suburban Laboratories will analyze samples via method 9223B using Quanti-tray to obtain a quantifiable bacteria value.  This procedure employs the same technique as in the presence/absence method, detects down to one (1) organism per 100 mL, and is an approved EPA method for drinking water samples.  If you require quantification of your coliform samples, you must notify your project manager and specify this on all paperwork when delivering samples to the lab.

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2019-10-21T14:53:18-05:00October 21st, 2019|News|

FlashPoint: The Fastest Way to Get Your Reports

When reports and invoices are generated they are automatically uploaded to our client portal FlashPoint®. All clients have access to FlashPoint and in the settings can choose to have reports and invoices automatically emailed to them. FlashPoint is the fastest way to get reports and invoices. Without FlashPoint, the delivery procedure is manual, takes longer and is potentially less accurate. To improve on-time delivery, accuracy and efficiency, effective January 1, 2019 we will be using FlashPoint for all client reports and invoices. Clients who do not already have an online account will be enrolled to receive reports and invoices electronically. This process will allow you to receive reports and invoices by email the instant they are generated, retrieve old information and check the status of work in progress. It will also help us in our mission to protect the environment by reducing paper and energy.  To sign up for FlashPoint access, visit http://flashpoint.suburbanlabs.com/Register.aspx or contact your Account Manager.

FlashPoint Client AccessFlashPoint Client Access

2018-11-19T10:29:06-06:00November 19th, 2018|News|

Michelle Carpenter, PhD Hired as Technical Manager

Suburban Laboratories is pleased to announce the hiring of Michelle Carpenter, Ph.D. as Technical Manager for its Geneva, Illinois facility.

Dr. Carpenter has more than 27 years’ experience managing, complex technical operations with special emphasis in process auditing and method development.  She worked for six years as a Quality Assurance Manager and Quality Systems Auditor and six years as the Chief Technical Officer for IIM Laboratory Quality Consultants in Houston, Texas.  Most recently, she worked as Senior Business Consultant for Labtopia, a laboratory quality assurance, technical training and LIMS consulting company also located in Houston.  Dr. Carpenter received her Ph.D. and M.S in Environmental Chemistry from Madison University and B.S. in Biochemistry and Biology from Mary Baldwin University.

“We are delighted to have someone of Michelle’s caliber lead our laboratory. Her expertise with method development, quality assurance, laboratory management and process improvement in the environmental, petrochemical and food & beverage industries will complement our experienced team and provided added value for Suburban Laboratories’ clients” says Jarrett Thomas, CEO of Suburban Laboratories, Inc.

2018-10-26T07:39:51-05:00October 26th, 2018|News|