Friday, April 28, 2017

CDC Says Maine's Rate of Asbestos Death is the Highest in U.S.

A CDC report found Maine to have the highest asbestos-related
deaths in the US; researchers believe residents, workers are
exposed from the state's old homes that still use asbestos insulation

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Maine residents have the highest rate of asbestos-related cancer deaths. In a recently released report, researchers found that the annual death rate from mesothelioma in Maine was 22.06 per million people.

Despite regulation efforts, mesothelioma deaths still persist. Although the number of deaths over the age of 55 has decreased, the number of deaths among younger people has increased. Researchers from the CDC have surmised that this uptick among younger people is from workers and handlers of asbestos.

Maine in particular has some of the oldest housing stock in the country with 31% of its units built before 1950. As a result, Maine homes are more likely to contain asbestos than in homes in other states where different forms of insulation may be used. When these old homes are renovated or repaired, improper asbestos handling can release asbestos fibers into the air. These fibers can get lodged in the respiratory system and cause cancer.

"Prevention is important," Dr. Chris Pezzullo, Maine's chief medical officer, said in a recent press release.

Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers are particularly difficult to treat because there are no cures. Even before cancer develops, it is virtually impossible to extract the asbestos fibers from the respiratory system once they are inhaled. Because mesothelioma takes years to develop and its symptoms can be mistaken for other illnesses, cases are usually not diagnosed until it is too late.

This report follows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The act is expected to review asbestos among other environmental toxins for restricting their use.

Because of the pervasiveness of asbestos in old homes, anyone can be exposed to asbestos; however, asbestos workers should take extra caution during renovation and repair work. Not only can it prevent illness for them, it can prevent illnesses for others.

To learn more about the report, visit the CDC's website. To learn more about asbestos work and asbestos awareness, visit Zack Academy's asbestos certification homepage.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

New York Requires Disclosure of Cleaning-Product Ingredients

New York Requires Disclosure of Cleaning-Product Ingredients
including soaps, detergents, and more.
According to E&E News, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo today made his state the first in the nation to require manufacturers to disclose chemicals in household cleaning products. The new regulation applies to soaps and detergents used to clean fabrics, dishes, food and utensils in homes and businesses. Fragrances added to cleaning products also must be disclosed; however personal care items are not included.

"These new regulations will help protect New Yorkers and give them the peace of mind of knowing what's in their homes and in their communities," Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) said in a statement. "These actions [continue] this state's legacy of environmental stewardship and will help build a cleaner, greener New York for all."

The program will be overseen by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The state plans to work with the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse to create a database of the information. Many of the chemicals covered are known skin irritants, asthma inducers, neurotoxins or aquatic toxins.

"By requiring the disclosure of chemical ingredients in household cleaning products and restricting the release of perc and other dry cleaning solvents into the environment, these programs will reduce contamination and human exposure to these chemicals of concern, and we strongly urge all companies to comply with these new programs," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

Check out Zack Academy's Environmental Sciences classes if you're interested in learning more about sampling, remediation, policy, and more.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Zack Academy Partners with Totally Booked University to Offer Restoration Training

Fort Lauderdale, FL (April 26, 2017) - Zack Academy (, a national marketplace for certification and training classes, announced today that it has partnered with Totally Booked University to offer restoration training.

Based in Pataskala, Ohio, Totally Booked University’s next course, Restoration Strategies is scheduled for May 4th in Roselle, Illinois. This Restoration Strategies workshop is a special two-day event strictly for restoration contractor business owners or managers. We concentrate on helping you get more restoration jobs, work with insurance adjusters and agents, implement an insurance marketing plan to increase profits, learn specific online strategies to get the attention of both the insurance industry and customers who suffer from a water, fire or mold loss, and much more.

"Totally Booked University is a great addition to the Zack Academy Network and adds another layer to our IICRC training, with restoration classes focused on business owners and managers running a restoration business. We look forward to a long-term relationship and hope to continue to grow together," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

“Restoration Strategies is a great way for restoration contractors to deal with challenges they have in business,” said Jeff Cross, creator of Totally Booked University. “Our focus is helping them work with insurance companies, which includes adjusters and agents, to get more jobs and to use cutting-edge social media and website strategies to reach the consumer market.”

About Totally Booked University:
Totally Booked University is a training and consulting organization that provides workshops, seminars and events for cleaning and disaster restoration business owners, managers and technicians. A TBU event is designed to help cleaners and restorers get more customers, clients and jobs with unique marketing programs. We also offer IICRC certification classes.

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

Monday, April 24, 2017

Los Angeles Neighborhoods Discover Lead Hazards Across Rich and Poor Neighborhoods

An investigation from Reuters found more than 17% of children
in LA county to test positive for elevated blood lead levels;
how lead poisoning persists across rich and poor has 
become the center of discussion in the report.

This Thursday, Reuters released a detailed report about a lead poisoning crisis in Los Angeles. According to the report, more than 17% of children in L.A County have elevated blood lead levels - more than double the rate of children in Flint, Michigan.

The report is part of an ongoing investigation led by Reuters to identify national lead hazards. Despite national initiatives such as the RRP program, lead poisoning is still a health risk to millions of children. The threshold for elevated blood lead levels is just 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood; even slight elevations can stunt cognitive and physical development and manifest as nausea, migraines and fevers.

In Los Angeles, more than half of the county's homes were built prior to 1960 - much earlier than the national lead paint ban in 1978. In addition to old homes with peeling paint, the diverse county sees many imported goods from countries such as China and Mexico, which have more relaxed regulations on lead levels.

About 323 different neighborhoods across Los Angeles County tested positive for elevated blood lead levels. What is unique about the findings is that lead poisoning was found in economically stressed neighborhoods as well as affluent neighborhoods. One such affected neighborhood is San Marino, California - where homes routinely list for $2.9 million. Typically, lead poisoning disproportionately affects lower income neighborhoods where city leaders aren't able to fund remediations.

The report suggests there might be some bias in testing for lead poisoning in affluent neighborhoods. Often, residents aren't even aware of lead hazards and even less assume their neighborhoods are at risk.

"A lot of people don't even think of the West Coast as a place where kids get poisoned. Many doctors don't test children for lead," Linda Kite, executive director at Healthy Homes Collaborative, said.

California's current health policy is to test children with known risk factors, such as enrollment in government assistance programs. While it does help low-income families who might otherwise not receive care, the policy can altogether miss other poisoned children. In the report, a family living in an affluent L.A neighborhood had to push for their son to be tested for lead poisoning after they discovered peeling paint in their century-old house.

"The message was, 'Don't worry, he's not as risk.' It was like he [my son] didn't fit the profile," Amanda Gries, the mother of the lead poisoned child, said in an interview.

Lawmakers are stepping up in light of recent findings to protect their communities. One such initiative is a bill from the state's Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. The bill will require lead screening for all children in Los Angeles. In truth, lead poisoning can affect both rich and poor neighborhoods - and only awareness will help curb remediate these hazards.

To read more about the Reuters national lead hazard investigation, visit their interactive website. To learn more about lead work and become certified, visit Zack Academy's lead renovation FAQs.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Events for Earth Day 2017

Each year on April 22nd the world gets together to celebrate Earth Day. While the fervor and genuine desire to make a difference is laudable, much of the day's events have unfortunately become over commercialized and detract from the original goals set by U.S. Senator John McConnell. So, to celebrate Earth Day, we have included several organizations in the that are hosting events to better the environment on April 22nd, and year-round.

1. New York, New York
  • Spring Cleaning
    • Local community groups are leading a Spring Cleaning at more than 100 playgrounds across NYC. Find out how you can join!
2. Los Angeles, California
    • The Pacoima Wash Natural Park Cleanup officially takes its mark on April 22 at 8:30 a.m. in honor of Earth Day and the chance for participants to get rid of trash and other debris from this former vacant lot that has become both a California native plant reserve (including foliage that is drought resistant) as well as a wildlife preserve.
  • LA River Clean Up
    • It’s time to roll up your sleeves and show your love for the LA River – the Great LA River CleanUp is back for 2017! Join today and be part of the largest urban river cleanup in America.
3. Chicago, Illinois
  • Garfield Park Conservatory
    • GPCA seeks to change lives through the power of nature. We create, develop and implement programs that promote environmental responsibility and conservationism, help to build economically and socially sustainable and healthy communities, and strengthen the Conservatory's designation as an arts and cultural institution. Volunteers work with the Park District on general horticulture, maintenance, and gardening projects.
4. Houston, Texas
  • Celebrating Earth Week at the Garden
    • Volunteer at the Campus Community Garden and learn the basic skills needed to grow produce. We will be weeding, watering and harvesting the organic vegetables grown over the winter. Water, tools and bug repellent will be provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring a reusable bottle, long pants, close-toed shoes and a hat.ConSERVE Earth Day
  • ConSERVE Earth Day
    • Join the Student Conservation Association for Earth Day to give back to Houston City Parks and help restore the Sims Bayou at Milby Park. With support from American Express and Southwest Airlines, SCA is mobilizing volunteers coast to coast in celebration of Earth Day.
5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival at the Prince Theater
    • An event that aims to inspire the public to take action and learn about the environment via panels and movie screenings. The screenings range from shorts to feature-length films that all focus on a different aspect of conservation or the environment.
  • Litter Clean-up
    • The City’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet is looking for volunteers to help us increase City recycling diversion rates! This particular project will require volunteers to engage community residents in targeted neighborhoods about a recycling bin distribution day that the City is holding.
6. Phoenix, Arizona
  • 8th Annual Earth Day Phoenix
    • Celebrate Earth Day with exhibitors, mini eco-classes and more. This is a zero-waste event, meaning all waste will be recyclable or compostable. There will be limited parking, so alternative modes of transportation such as light rail or biking are recommended.
  • New River Trail cleanup
    • Help pick up trash and debris along the New River trail system. The site for this year's cleanup is just west of Dream City Church. Pre-registered volunteers need to check in by 7 a.m. Onsite registration starts at 6:30 a.m. To volunteer, please complete the online form or contact Tonia Edmundson at 623-773-7764. Closed-toed shoes are required. Water and garbage bags will be provided. Meet at the trail entrance at Rose Garden Lane. Parking is available in the Dream City Church parking lot.
7. San Antonio, Texas
  • Lake Arlington Clean-up
    • Join Keep Arlington Beautiful's KTWC cleanup event on April 22nd, 2017 from 8:00am to 12:00pm!
8. San Diego, California
  • 15th Annual Creek to Bay Cleanup
    • Join us on Earth Day 2017, Saturday, April 22nd, as we beautify over 100 sites in San Diego County! Last year, a record breaking 6,400 volunteers came out to our 110 sites and successfully removed 150,000 lbs. of litter. Instead of turning a blind eye to the abundance of litter found across San Diego County, our volunteers channeled their appreciation for San Diego’s environment into action to protect it.
  • Earth Day Restoration Work Party
    • It’s not only garbage that can ruin the environment. The past year’s heavy rains have caused latent seeds of invasive species to take root and snuff out vital native plants along the Tijuana River Estuary in Imperial Beach. Volunteers at this Saturday event will help remove harmful growth.
9. Dallas, Texas
    • Hackathon designed to inspire you to use technology to solve real issues plaguing the world today. We want to provide a space to help inspire creative thinking, so you can create inspirational ideas that can be implemented on a global scale. We encourage you to come and join us to make new things!
10. San Jose, California
  • Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup
    • Earth Day 2017 provides an opportunity for all of us to do something meaningful for our planet by giving back to the state parks in our communities. Thousands of volunteers will be needed throughout California to assist with projects such as campfire center improvements, habitat restoration, native garden conservation, fence building, trail maintenance and beach cleanup.
  • Earth Day San Jose 2017 Great American Litter Pickup
    • Help us clean up litter in San José. To participate and sign up please call one of the meeting locations below. On the day of the event, register at your meeting location and receive litter cleanup supplies.* At noon, join your Council District Office for a celebration lunch at your Council District’s Event Kickoff Location. Lunch is free for volunteers.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

New Course: NORMI Certified Mold Worker in Spanish

Zack Academy is now offering one of the only Spanish NORMI Certified Mold Worker classes

This two-day course starting on July 18th in Fort Lauderdale, FL teaches students the processes involved in mold remediation of indoor environments. Those who work in the mold industry should understand the basic mycology of mold, indoor air quality, sanitization techniques and moisture control; this course will instruct on all of these topics and more. At the end of this course, students will know industry-standard techniques for performing mold remediation work. This course is conveniently provided in Spanish.

NOTE: The NORMI certificate will be held by the company that pays for the student!
Who Should Take this Course:
  • Mold industry workers
  • Home inspectors
  • General contractors
  • Industrial Hygienists
  • Environmental Consultants
Topics to be Covered:
  • Mold Basics & Health concerns
  • Industry Guidelines & Laws
  • NORMI Professional Practices
  • Moisture Challenges
  • Controlling Moisture in Buildings
  • Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning
  • IAQ/Mold Assessment Process
  • Mold Sampling & Equipment
  • Detecting Moisture with Thermography
  • Personal Protective Equipment, Respiratory Protection & Safety
Give us a call at 646-564-3546 to learn more or register online at NORMI Certified Mold Worker - Spanish for this great opportunity.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

UN Habitat Report Highlights the Global Impact of LEED

UN Habitat reports that LEED is among building rating systems
that promote green building around the world.
Source: USGBC

A new report from United Nations Habitat (UN Habitat) named LEED as an important tool for promoting green building. Because of the contracting and building sector's overarching influence in other markets, rating systems such as LEED can speed along environmental initiatives such as The Paris Agreement and Sustainable Building Goals.

UN Habitat, an international environmental organization, outlined the importance of rating systems such as LEED in its report. Rating systems such as LEED influence the building sector with its incentives for implementing green design. In turn, the building sector increases awareness and demand for environmentally conscious design. By focusing on the social equity as well as environmental integrity, LEED presents itself as an accessible rating system to places that may not have previously had green design.

Although the report states that only a small portion of global buildings have been assessed by such green rating benchmarks, LEED is making headway with projects certified in more than 160 countries. LEED projects include both commercial and residential buildings; the two initiatives, LEED for Neighborhood Development and LEED for Cities are discussed in the report as well.

The report indicates that more research is underway to create sustainable buildings everywhere, especially in low-income countries. The benefits of global LEED initiatives are simple - in countries where resources are already scarce, creative green design maximizes use while minimizing waste.

Echoing the UN Habitat Report, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) presented a map of LEED projects around the world. With projects spanning all continents, LEED is definitely a forerunner in the global push toward green design.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Zack Academy Partners with National Academy of Floor Covering Training to Offer IICRC Certification Training


Fort Lauderdale, FL (April 4, 2017) -
Zack Academy (, a national marketplace for certification and training classes, announced today that it has partnered with National Academy of Floor Covering Training (NAFCT) to expand its IICRC training schedule.

Based in Neenah, Wisconsin, NAFCT offers IICRC Introduction to Substrate Subfloor Inspection (ISSI) throughout the United States. The company’s next course, Introduction to Substrate Subfloor Inspection (ISSI) is scheduled for September 12th in Stockton, California. ISSI is an introductory, prerequisite course created to teach a basic understanding of substrates and sub-floors as they relate to finish floor coverings. This course was developed for individuals engaged in inspecting, installing, creating and/or interpreting specifications, and for other related professions.

"National Academy of Floor Covering Training is a great addition to the Zack Academy Network and boasts a wide array of IICRC training throughout the United States. We look forward to a long-term relationship as we both continue to help train IICRC professionals," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

About National Academy of Floor Covering Training:
National Academy of Floor Covering Training is a certifying body for CFI - Certified Floorcovering Installers, IICRC and others. At NAFCT, students thrive under the mentorship and training provided by nationally and internationally-recognized instructors. NAFCT mentoring has a vital role in ongoing student training. Student guidance in real life scenarios ensures success and industry advancement.

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