Thursday, July 27, 2017

Zack Academy Partners with Florida Hands On Training Institute to Offer IICRC Certification Training

Fort Lauderdale, FL (July 27, 2017) - Zack Academy (, a national marketplace for certification and training classes, announced today that it has partnered with Florida Hands On Training Institute to expand its IICRC training schedule.

Based in Orlando, Florida, Florida Hands On Training Institute offers IICRC training in Florida, including: IICRC Applied Structural Drying Technician (ASD), IICRC Commercial Drying Specialist (CDS), and IICRC Water Damage Restoration Technician/Applied Structural Drying (WRT/ASD) Combo. The company’s next course, IICRC Applied Structural Drying Technician (ASD) is scheduled for July 31st in Orlando, Florida. ASD is designed to teach the effective, efficient and timely drying of water-damaged structures and contents, using comprehensive classroom and hands-on training, in order to facilitate appropriate decision making within a restorative drying environment.

"Florida Hands On Training Institute is a great addition to the Zack Academy Network and boasts a wide array of IICRC training in Orlando, Florida. We look forward to a long-term relationship as we both continue to help train IICRC professionals in the great state of Florida," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

About Florida Hands On Training Institute:
Florida Hands On Training Institute is an IICRC accredited trainer, providing interactive hands on training for the Cleaning and Restoration Industry.

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

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

$1.3 Million Case Overturned As Expert Can't Prove Lead Paint Caused ADHD

A Maryland judge ruled that while lead paint may cause ADHD,
it couldn't be proved that lead paint caused a plaintiff's ADHD - causing
a verdict of $1.3 million to be overturned.

A $1.3 million law suit was overturned after the Maryland Court of Appeals concluded that an expert witness could not show lead paint causes ADHD.

The case of Starlena Stevenson v. Stanley Rochkind centers around Stevenson, who lived in a home owned by Rochkind as a child. She was tested for suspected lead poisoning as a toddler after her mother noticed she had been eating the flaking paint on the property. Years later, lead inspection would find the house to have toxic lead-based paint in more than 20 interior and exterior surfaces. Stevenson was later diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and went on to have problems in school despite being treated with Ritalin and Adderall.

Suit was filed against Rochkind in 2011 for violations of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act.

Lead expert testimony came from pediatrician Cecilia Hall-Carrington. Hall-Carrington filed a report stating "a reasonable degree of medical probability" that Stevenson experienced lead poisoning from living in Rochkind's property and that "her lead poisoning is a significant contributing factor" to Stevenson's ADHD.

Rochkind filed for Hall-Carrington's testimony to be excluded, but was denied. He argued that the scientific community has not come to a conclusion that lead paint exposure causes ADHD.

The jury found in favor of Stevenson - largely due to Hall-Carrington's testimony - and awarded her $1.3 million in economic and non-economic damages; however, that ruling has since been appealed.

According to Judge Sally Adkins, Hall-Carrrington's testimony did not prove that lead paint exposure was the cause of Stevenson's mental illnesses. Specifically, the Maryland Court of Appeals points to Maryland Rule 5-702(3) which states that a court must determine "whether a sufficient factual basis exists to support the expert testimony."

"The trial court abused its discretion in permitting her [Dr. Cecilia Hall-Carrington] to opine that lead exposure can cause ADHD generally and that lead caused Stevenson's ADHD specifically," Judge Sally Adkins said in a recent press release.

Scientists have debated as to whether lead paint exposure is a cause of ADHD; studies have pointed to elevated blood lead levels causing a range of behavioral problems. Still, none have pinpointed lead to be an exact cause of ADHD.

The court has remanded the case to Baltimore Circuit Court to review a new trial over damages.

To learn more about the case, visit Maryland State's Official Records. To learn more about lead paint safety, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Zack Academy Partners with Turnage & Associates to Offer Certified Pool Operator (CPO) Training


Fort Lauderdale, FL (July 24, 2017) -
Zack Academy (, a national provider of certification and training courses, announced today that it has partnered with Turnage & Associates to expand its pool management category.

Based in Waller, Texas (just north of Houston) Turnage & Associates offers Certified Pool Operator (CPO) Training in throughout Texas and internationally in Belize. The course teaches individuals the basic knowledge and skills needed for pool and spa operations and is required in 25 states, including Texas and several local jurisdictions.

"This partnership with Turnage & Associates adds Texas as a new location for our pool management training. We are excited to add another industry-leading trainer to the Zack Academy Network and we look forward to continued growth in the pool and spa industry," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

Zack Academy’s CPO training covers public bathing codes, water chemistry, filtration and circulation, seasonal pool care, pool management strategies and requirements, energy management, calculations and testing pool water and making adjustments, maintenance and operational problems, renovating and modernization of pool facilities, and disease and accident prevention.

About Turnage & Associates:
Turnage & Associates provides public and on-site Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training courses in association with the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF). David Turnage, founder and primary instructor of Turnage & Associates, has extensive hands-on experience in the swimming pool and water chemistry industry. David is passionate about pool management education, and ensures students leave class with a thorough understanding of the sometimes-complex math, theories and realities that are associated with the swimming pool industry.

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Energy Report Calls out Trucking for Unchecked Carbon Emissions, Air Pollution

International Energy Agency reports road-freight transport accounts for a
third of transport carbon dioxide emissions, yet regulations have
curiously overlooked this sector. 

Improving the efficiency of freight transport is critical to reducing carbon emissions, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

In their report, The Future of Trucks: Implication for energy and the environment, IEA calls out trucks for their contribution to oil demand and air pollution, while urging industry leaders to push for reform.

Trucking is a major factor in carbon emissions. The growth in oil demand from trucks has outpaced all other sectors - including aviation and feedstocks - since 2000. Freight transport accounts for almost one fifth of global oil demand, or around 17 million barrels of oil a day. As a result, trucking's heavy reliance on oil products contributes to a third of total transport-related carbon dioxide emissions.

Yet, IEA alleges that the sector flies under the radar compared to passenger vehicles. In fact, only four countries have energy-efficiency standards for freight trucks, compared with 40 countries that have passenger-vehicle standards.

In their report, IEA concedes that road-freight trucking is essential for a global economy. Still, they offer solutions to improve efficiency and sustainability of the sector.

One solution is improving logistics and systems operations. This can maximize the utility of cargo transported while reducing the number of wasteful trips taken without any cargo. Low carbon pathways might encourage local deliveries, as the report notes that long distance deliveries tend to be much more inefficient than local ones.

Another solution is installing aerodynamic retrofits and low-rolling resistance tires to reduce drag on existing trucks, while implementing lightweight materials, energy-efficient or hybrid engines and GPS systems to reduce idling and excessive fuel consumption.

Still, a third solution advises the trucking industry to consider alternative fuels such as natural gas, biofuels, electricity, wind or hydrogen in all aspects of transport in order to diversify fuel supply.

"For far too long, there has been a lack of policy focus on truck efficiency. Given they are now the dominant driver of global oil demand, the issue can no longer be ignored if we are to meet our energy and environmental objectives," Faith Birol, IEA executive director, said in a recent press release.

Although some of the improvements seem expensive or complex, many can be accomplished if industry leaders push for it. It's not impossible - parallels can be drawn from the building sector's new era of sustainable design. Regardless, improving fuel-economy standards, logistics and energy technology is beneficial not just for the trucking industry, but for everyone.

To read the IEA report, visit their publication library. To learn more about energy efficiency and begin working in this dynamic field, visit Zack Academy.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Chicago Leads Nation with 66% of Office Spaces LEED Certified

With 66 percent of commercial offices now LEED
certified, Chicago's push for sustainable
design has paid off.

Chicago now boasts the highest percentage of LEED or Energy Star certified office buildings, according to a study published last Thursday by CBRE Group Inc. and Maastricht University. At 66%, Chicago has surpassed green building hubbubs such as Houston and Minneapolis - and dethroned San Francisco's top spot this year.

For perspective, only 38% of buildings are LEED or Energy Star certified in the average U.S. real estate market. Industry leaders in Chicago have pushed to get others on board with sustainable design.

In April, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel outlined a plan to transition all municipal buildings to 100% renewable energy by 2025. Chicago cut carbon emissions by 7% from 2010 to 2015. The windy city has also created incentives for developers to add sustainable features to buildings. Altogether, its created a culture for green design to flourish.

"Green certification is no longer an oddity or nice to have. In many top markets, it's an oddity if you're not green certified," Nils Kok, associated professor and contributing researcher to the study, said in a recent press release.

Commercial buildings are the top source of greenhouse gas emissions in Chicago, according to the windy city's website. The city has since filed an ordinance that requires some 900 million square feet of commercial buildings to publish their energy ratings each year. This positive peer pressure has made both new and old buildings reevaluate their sustainability.

Green roofs, sustainable water systems and low-energy heating systems are some of the most popular features in Chicago offices. Some buildings have energy monitors in the lobby where all tenants can see the energy performance of the building.

"Green buildings are getting the bigger tenants, higher dollars, and more investor capital," David Pogue, global director of CBRE Group Inc., said in a recent press release.

To read the study, visit the CBRE Index. To learn more about LEED and other sustainable design certifications, visit Zack Academy's website.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Mold and Lead Updates in DC, Maryland, and Virginia

This blog post contains several updates for those performing lead and mold work in the DC, Maryland, Virginia Area.


The DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) recently sent a letter to mold assessment and remediation companies highlighting the licensing enforcement date of August 7, 2017.

Those engaged in the business of mold assessment or remediation in DC must be appropriately licensed by August 7, 2017. Failure to obtain a license could lead to penalties, including fines. After August 7, 2017, mold training courses must be taken from a department-approved training provider. Please visit Zack Academy for mold remediation and mold inspection training available in-person and online.

The regulations also:
  • Specify minimum performance standards and work practices
  • Establish criteria for an individual to obtain a license
  • Identify project notification requirements
  • Provide on-site recordkeeping requirements


Maryland has passed a new bill that require lead testing for school drinking water.

House Bill 270.  Signed by Governor with Effective Date of June 1, 2017.
  • Requires periodic testing for the presence of lead in each drinking water outlet located in an occupied public or nonpublic school building.
  • Requires initial testing to be conducted on or before July 1, 2018.
  • Places a priority of testing to school buildings constructed before 1988 and school buildings serving Pre-K through Grade 5.
  • Sets actionable requirements for elevated samples.
  • Requires a stakeholder group be developed to provide advice and recommendations on the development of regulations for periodic testing for the presence of lead in each drinking water source.


Virginia has also passed a new bill that require lead testing for school drinking water.

Senate Bill 1359. Approved March 20, 2017.
  • Each local school board shall implement a plan to test drinking fountains, cafeteria or kitchen taps, classroom combination sinks and drinking fountains and sinks known to be used for consumption.
  • Remediate if necessary potable water from sources identified by the U.S. EPA as a high priority.
  • Priority is testing in school buildings constructed, in whole or in part, before 1986.
View Virginia Senate Bill 1359.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New Study Links Lead Exposure to School Suspensions

A report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds
that lead exposure is linked to behavioral problems, school suspensions.

A report by The American Prospect Magazine has found that children with high blood-lead levels are more likely to be suspended from school. While the link between lead exposure and behavioral disorders is known, the report emphasizes the multifaceted issue of lead poisoning in poorer communities.

In the report, researchers found evidence linking lead exposure in children to an increased chance of school suspension and juvenile detention. The study used data from blood-lead levels and detention data for 120,000 children. Researchers found that a one unit increase in lead exposure increased suspensions issued to children by at least 6% and detentions by at least 27%.

An important feature of the report is that researchers can now name lead poisoning as a source of school discipline issues. Prior to the report, researchers were aware of a possible link but couldn't conclude if it was lead poisoning or poverty causing school discipline issues.

“What we find is that there’s a pretty robust relationship between early childhood lead levels as measured by the blood tests and future disciplinary infractions,” Anna Aizer, contributing researcher, said in a recent press conference.

Although the use of lead is highly regulated in the United States, many children are still exposed to dangerous levels of lead. State to state, progress in reducing lead poisoning in children has been unbalanced, especially in poor urban areas without the means to renovate old housing stock. Lead-based paint can flake away in old homes and be ingested or inhaled. Lead dust from construction or industrial waste can accumulate in soil. Toxic run-off can accumulate in drinking water, as lead particles from deteriorating lead water pipes.

As a result, disadvantaged children - a group already more likely to live in older housing stock - are disproportionately affected by lead poisoning, and it leads to disproportionate instances of school behavioral problems. For disadvantaged children, this can reduce their access to education and put them on track to juvenile detention.

This report comes right after another paper Aizer and other researchers co-published last year. In a similar study, they found that reducing children's blood-lead levels had significant positive effects on school performance.

"A one unit decrease in blood-lead levels reduces the probability of being substantially below proficient in reading by 3.1 percentage points,” the report stated.

In 2014, the Justice Policy Institute reported that the cost of juvenile detention reached nearly $150,000 per year state to state.

“Governments need to think about this. Crime is just an incredibly expensive outcome for a state, and lead mitigation is so much cheaper relative to that,” Anna Aizer said.

Certainly, reviewing the impact that lead exposure has on children is imperative for our nation's future. With more breakthroughs in lead poisoning research, it's evident that controlling lead exposure should be priority for all.

To read the original report, click here. To learn more about lead paint certification and how you can join this critical industry, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage.

Monday, July 10, 2017

EPA Compliance Series Part 1: Necessary Equipment for a Lead Safe RRP Job

As you may already know, complying with the EPA's Lead Safe Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule goes beyond just attending the Renovator Training and certifying your company. How you actually perform the work is the most important part of compliance. In this blog series, we'll look at what implementation of RRP lead-safe practices looks like on a job site, beginning with the equipment necessary to properly perform the work.

Without the right equipment, it is nearly impossible to comply with the regulations and standards established by the EPA's RRP Rule. In this breakdown, we will go step-by-step through a typical RRP project, and list for you the necessary materials and equipment needed to stay compliant with this rule. We will follow the Steps to Lead Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting guide found in Appendix 5 of your RRP training manual.

STEP 1 - Determine If the Job Involves Lead-Based Paint:If a home or child-occupied facility was built before 1978, all surfaces affected by a renovation covered by the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule must either be tested for lead-based paint or presumed to contain lead-based paint. Testing must include all affected surfaces coated with paint, shellac, varnish, stain, coating or even paint covered by wallpaper, if it will be disturbed during the renovation work. A report documenting the testing must describe the test used, the surfaces tested, and the results of the testing. Materials needed for this first step include:
  • EPA-recognized test kits, such as LeadCheck swabs
  • Utility knife
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Plastic bag for all waste created during the testing process
  • Wet rag for clean-up
STEP 2 - Set Up the Job Safety:
When you work on a job with lead-based paint, you must contain the work area to prevent the escape of dust and debris. The goal of proper setup of the work area is to keep dust in the work area and non-workers out. Materials and equipment needed for this step of an RRP Project include:
  • Warning signs
  • Barrier tape, rope or fencing
  • Cones
  • Heavy duty plastic sheeting
  • Masking, duct, or painter's tape
  • Stapler
  • Utility knife or scissors
  • Rigid framing material if using vertical containment
STEP 3 - Protect Yourself and Your Workers:
Without the right personal protective equipment, workers may ingest or inhale lead from the job and may risk bringing lead from the worksite home to their families. The right personal protective equipment and good personal hygiene will help combat lead exposure. Personal protective equipment includes:
  • Disposable coveralls
  • Painter's hat
  • Disposable N-100 rated respirator (at least)
  • Disposable shoe covers
  • Eye protection
  • Work gloves
STEP 4 - Minimize the Dust:
As you work, your goal is to keep the dust down. Remember that as you scrape, drill, cut, open walls, etc., you are creating dust. You can keep dust down by using the right tools and following some simple practices that minimize and control the spread of dust. Remember - work wet, work safe, work clean! Equipment and materials used during this process include:
  • Wet-dry sandpaper, sanding sponge
  • Misting bottle or pump sprayer
  • Heavy plastic sheeting
  • Utility knife or scissors
  • Masking tape, duct tape, or painters’ tape
  • High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum
  • Heavy duty plastic bags
  • Tack pads (large, sticky pads that help remove dust), paper towels, or disposable wipes
STEP 5 - Leave the Work Area Clean:
The work area should be left clean at the end of every day and must be cleaned thoroughly at the end of the job. The area must be completely free of dust and debris before it can be cleared by the Certified Renovator assigned to the project. Cleaning materials for an RRP Project include:
  • Heavy-duty contractor bags
  • HEPA vacuum with attachments and a powered beater bar
  • Masking tape, duct tape, or painters tape
  • Misting bottle or pump sprayer
  • Disposable wet-cleaning wipes or hand towels
  • General-purpose cleaner
  • Mop and disposable mop heads
  • Two buckets or one two-sided bucket with a wringer
  • Shovel and rake
  • Wet Mopping System
  • Electrostatically charged dry cleaning cloths
STEP 6 - Control the Waste:
Waste from renovation activities must be contained to prevent releases of dust and debris before the waste is removed from the work area for storage or disposal. Collect and control all your waste. This includes dust, debris, paint chips, protective sheeting, HEPA filters, dirty water, cloths, mop heads, wipes, protective clothing, respirators, gloves, architectural components and other waste. Equipment and materials needed for this step include:
  • Heavy-duty contractor bags
  • HEPA vacuum to clean outside of waste bags
  • Always check local requirements!
STEP 7 - Verify Work Completion with the Cleaning Verification Procedure or Dust Clearance Exams:
When your interior renovation work is complete, you have to do one of two clearance tests to ensure you cleaned up the job by the RRP standards - either a Cleaning Verification (CV) Procedure, or a Dust Clearance Examination performed by a Lead Inspector, Risk Assessor, or Dust Sampling Technician. As an EPA Certified Renovator, you are only allowed to perform a Cleaning Verification (CV) Procedure, in which you will check for dirt and dust by taking “swipes” of all windowsills, countertops and floors in the work area and checking them against your CV Card. The difference between this CV Procedure and a Dust Clearance Exam, is that for a Dust Clearance Exam, these “swipes” are sent to an accredited NLLAP laboratory. For exterior projects, when work areas have passed the visual inspection, the project is complete and the area may be turned over to the occupants. For conducting the Clearance Verification Procedure for interior projects, you will need:
  • A flashlight
  • CV card (provided in class)
  • Wet, disposable cleaning clothes
  • Cleaning materials if the renovation firm fails the Cleaning Verification Procedure
Keep in mind, this EPA RRP Rule applies to ALL activity that will disturb lead-based paint, whether you are a carpenter, an electrician, a plumber, a renovator, or the general contractor subbing out the actual work. If you do need training, or have additional questions on this topic, we are happy to help – send an email to or give us a call at 646-564-3546.