Tuesday, November 21, 2017

High Levels of Lead, Cadmium Found in Decorative Glassware

Researchers at the University of Plymouth found that improper handling
of enameled glassware can expose consumers to dangerous
levels of lead and cadmium.

New research from the University of Plymouth warns that drinking from enameled glassware can cause lead poisoning. In the study, researchers identified that dishwashing or stacking decorated glassware can cause enameled decorations to peel, exposing dangerous amounts of lead and cadmium-based paint.

The research comes right before one of the biggest feasts of the year, Thanksgiving - a time when many will break out the special dining ware for guest-use only.

Researchers at the University of Plymouth conducted 197 tests on both new and second-hand glassware. Lead was found in 139 tests and cadmium was found in 134 tests. The toxic metals were present on both the surface and rims of glasses - sometimes with concentrations 1000 times higher than the limit set by the U.S. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

"The presence of hazardous elements in both the paint and glaze of decorated glassware has obvious implications for both human health and the environment," Dr. Andrew Turner, lead researcher for the study, said in a recent press release.

Lead poisoning in particular is cumulative, which means the most severe symptoms come from repeated exposure. Lead exposure is known to cause neurological and developmental complications, as well as blood and bone disorders. Very high exposure to lead can be fatal.

In the report, researchers advised consumers that enameled dining ware should not be washed in a dishwasher to avoid eroding the decorative finish. Researchers also advised against stacking decorated glassware as this can also cause paint to peel or chip.

"I believe consumers should be made aware of this, while retails and the glass industry have the responsibility to eliminate toxic metals from decorated products," Dr. Turner said in a recent press release.

To read the study in full, visit Science Direct. To learn more about lead paint certifications and how to get involved in this field, visit Zack Academy's lead home page.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Season of Lungs

Have you ever wondered why there is an increased focus on lung health in the Autumn? The answer is not as arbitrary as you may think. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the Five Element Theory, which comprises of our connection to nature, also includes our organs. Within the framework, each vital organ is organized into a web of interconnected relationships between each other along with their respective connections to the seasons, certain foods, and more. The lungs help the body maintain a healthy immune defense against pathogens and with Autumn being most associated with the beginning of flu season and other common ailments, it is during this time that lung-related holidays are present. 

Lung Awareness Holidays (Autumn) 
Beginning in September, there is Mesothelioma Awareness Day (MAD) - a day that focuses on the rare disease that has caused over 40,000 deaths in the United States since 1999. Following MAD is Healthy Lung Month in October, and finally Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November. Since we are in the transitionary period between the two awareness months, we wanted to discuss correlations between the two since some hazardous materials can cause cancer.

Why It’s More Than Cigarettes
While we can protect our kidneys, heart, liver, and spleen from most harmful substances by avoiding ingesting toxic items or increasing a workout regimen that strengthens organs like the heart, the lungs are more complicated. Respirable particles that are invisible to the naked eye are a constant threat to lung health and the solution is not as simple as staying away from carcinogens found in tobacco products. In fact, there are several factors other than smoking (though it is a huge offender) that can contribute to the continuous attack on the respiratory system, such as gases and chemical fumes, silica dust, and asbestos. 

Who Benefits From This Information?
Lung health is important for everyone, but the people most likely to come into contact with these hazardous materials are industry workers who work closely with products that contain the aforementioned carcinogens. Zack Academy provides accredited training to those who work in these fields to help improve their health and safety while on the job and supervising projects. Three of the training categories that Zack Academy provides corresponds with lung health and safety in the areas of asbestos, chemicals/fumes, and lead. To better understand the importance and need for these trainings, an in-depth look into the three toxins are laid out below.

  • Asbestos 
Across several fields, such as construction, workers have to be mindful of asbestos, which causes a deadly cancer called mesothelioma. Though it is not harmful while contained, once the fibers are damaged or released into the air they become respirable. While lung cancer is one of the most common cancers because of smoking, asbestos is the number one cause of occupational cancer in the United States. Despite regulations, there is no safe amount of exposure, which is why it is best to have the proper training in handling it to avoid any and all possibilities of inhalation.

Zack Academy offers over 30 different asbestos courses, the most popular is focused on asbestos removal. If you would like to remove, encapsulate, enclose, repair or disturb friable or non-friable asbestos, you will need to register for a 4-day Asbestos Worker/Handler course. If you would like to supervise Asbestos Workers, performing the duties listed above, you will need to then complete a 5-day Asbestos Contractor/Supervisor course. It’s important to remember, both of these courses require refresher training (Asbestos Worker Refresher & Asbestos Supervisor Refresher) to maintain your license and keep abreast of new removal methods.

Asbestos Inspector Initial and Refresher are another pair of popular asbestos courses. As you can guess from the name, it certifies home inspectors to test for - but not remove - asbestos.

  • Chemicals
Industrial cleaning agents pose a threat to workers when there is a lack of ventilation or respiratory protection from the fumes they emit. When workers are left too long in an area where the fumes hang in the air they run the risk of the fumes causing acute or chronic inflammation to their lungs. Chemical pneumonia is associated with this type of exposure and the symptoms can vary greatly depending on the level of inhalation. Being in an open area with a pool can have minimal effects on the body such as burning eyes, whereas a smaller area with higher levels of chlorine or another toxic substance can cause respiratory failure and death. 

It would take a seriously long blog post to review all the hazardous chemicals (and their associated courses) that could affect your lungs. Instead, let’s focus on the more popular HAZWOPER courses that will prepare you for many hazardous and potentially dangerous encounters and will help to keep you working safely at your workplace. Zack Academy offers basically every HAZWOPER course there is, be it 8-hour, 16-hour, or 24-hour. Each course is more intensive and goes into great depth to show students exactly how to handle hazardous chemicals.

  • Lead
The ingestion of lead paint is not the only form of exposure that can harm you. Similar to asbestos, when lead is disturbed it creates either fumes or dust that make it harder to identify and more difficult to avoid. When lead enters the respiratory system it gets released into your bloodstream and spreads throughout your body. 

As the leading provider of lead paint training on the Internet, Zack Academy offers several courses, which are vital for contractors, construction professionals, and DIY enthusiasts. If you perform any renovations, repairs, or paintings in a pre-1978 home or child occupied facility, you must become a certified lead renovator. This requires registering for a Lead Renovator Initial (and later on Refresher) course AND signing up your company as a Lead-Safe Firm. As a lead renovator you CANNOT bid on lead abatement/removal jobs - in order to do that you must register for a Lead Abatement Worker or Supervisor course.

It goes without saying, all of these courses are required and if the EPA notices your company is negligent, they will fine you. But, you should not look to attain a certification because of a fine. As contractors, and other professionals working with hazardous materials that affect air quality it is vital you remember the very real consequences that can arise if you do not handle lead, asbestos, and other hazardous materials properly. Not only are you putting yourself at danger for lung disease, you are also risking your family’s health. If you work with lead paint dust and then wear those same clothes home, your child can easily breath in that dust and get stuck dealing with irreparable damages. 

Long story short - be safe, take the proper courses, and treat hazardous materials with a health respect.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Zack Academy Partners with Michael J Sciullo Schools to Offer IICRC Training in Las Vegas


Fort Lauderdale, FL (October XX, 2017) - Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a national provider of certification and training courses, announced today that it has partnered with Michael J Sciullo Schools to offer IICRC training.

Based in Henderson, NV, Michael J Sciullo Schools is an IICRC approved trainer for Odor Control, Water Restoration, and Fire & Smoke Restoration Technician. Courses are scheduled through 2018 in Las Vegas, with two set to start in November: IICRC Odor Control Technician (OCT) on November 13th and IICRC Fire & Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT) on November 14th.

"We are very excited to welcome our newest trainer, Michael J Sciullo Schools, to the Zack Academy Network. Michael J Sciullo Schools’ variety of IICRC courses allows us to greatly expand our offerings in Nevada and continue to properly train cleaning and restoration professionals," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

About Michael J Sciullo Schools:
Michael J Sciullo Schools is an IICRC approved trainer for Odor Control, Water Restoration, and Fire & Smoke Restoration Technician training. Instructor Mike Sciullo has a BA in Education from the School of Education University of Pittsburgh. He combines his passion for teaching with his expertise in cleaning and restoration to provide a unique educational experience. Mike's schools are all about educating his students and not selling a particular brand name or product.

About Zack Academy:
Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.

Release Contact:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager

Friday, October 27, 2017

EPA Releases Lead Violations for Last Year

According to a recent EPA report, there were 127 federal enforcement actions completed over the last year to protect the public from exposure to lead in paint. Of these cases, 125 involved alleged noncompliance with at least one of the Agency’s lead-based paint requirements: the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule, and Lead-based Paint Activities Rule; and the Lead Disclosure Rule pursuant to the Residential Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act.

Below, we have listed the settlements for all of the lead paint violations. Collectively, these settlements obtained $1,046,891. The moral here is, it's not just a threat that the EPA can fine contractors $37,500 a day - it can and it does regularly fine big businesses and small businesses. And while the possibility of a fine should lead to proper certification, contractors have to remember, lead paint is a legitimately dangerous substance that can cause severe brain and nervous system damage, specially to children under the age of 6.

So, as we finish up Lead Week 2017, please make sure you certify your firm and make sure you take the right lead paint training, be it lead renovation, abatement, or inspection.

Criminal Prosecution

Maureen S. Walck (NY).  The real estate agent pled guilty to knowingly and willfully violating the Lead Disclosure Rule’s requirement to disclose lead-based paint information to a prospective home buyer, whose child was later diagnosed with lead poisoning.  Sentencing is pending.  The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment and a $100,000 fine. 

Civil Judicial Consent Decree

Accolade Construction Group, Inc. (NY) agreed to disgorge $58,000 in profits gained from alleged noncompliant renovations; and to perform significant injunctive relief, subject to stipulated penalties.  The City of New York referred the case to EPA.  The company had failed to comply with an earlier administrative agreement governing its renovations. 

Notice of Determination

Estate of Anson Smith (MD).  The estate settled allegations of failure to disclose information about lead-based paint hazards in leases for nine properties, encompassing 62 rental units.  EPA determined that the violations merited a civil penalty of $1,402,006, but waived the penalty because the estate met all of the conditions of EPA’s self-disclosure policy and audit policy for new owners.

Civil Administrative Settlements

Settlements of $100,000 or More

  • Pike International, LLC, et al. (CT) settled, agreeing to perform an abatement SEP costing $109,246 and to pay a $12,139 penalty. The State of Connecticut referred this case to EPA.
  • Haven Homes, Inc. (CA) settled, agreeing to pay a $148,618 penalty to settle alleged Lead Disclosure Rule violations. 
  • Cityside Management Corp. (NH) agreed to pay a civil penalty of $145,346 to resolve alleged RRP Rule and Lead Disclosure Rule violations involving failure to comply with requirements for training, certification, disclosure and recordkeeping.

Settlements of $50,000 or More

  • 5 MF Holding LLC (CT) agreed to perform of an abatement SEP valued at $65,700, and to pay a $7,300 penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Lead Disclosure Rule. 
  • Brady Sullivan Millworks II, LLC, et al. (NH) paid a 90,461 penalty to settle alleged RRP and Lead Disclosure Rule violations.  Both the State of New Hampshire and the City of Manchester referred the case to EPA. 

Settlements of $40,000 or More

Settlements of $30,000 or More

Settlements of $20,000 or More

Settlements of $10,000 or More

Settlements Less than $10,000

Expedited Settlement Agreements

EPA entered into Expedited Settlement Agreements for alleged violations with the companies listed below.  These agreements allow violators to quickly resolve certain minor infractions with a reduced penalty, typically $2,000 or less.