Friday, January 26, 2018

Claire's Disputes Claims of Asbestos in Products

Claire's disputes asbestos exposure from products

The popular retailer Claire's says it has completed additional testing on samples of its makeup and has not found any traces of asbestos.

Last December, Claire's took nine makeup products off their shelves after a case of possible asbestos exposure went public. Kristi Warner, a consumer who works at the Deaton Law Firm which specializes in asbestos litigation, sent several of the tween store's makeup kits to an independent lab in North Carolina for asbestos inspection. Warner says her background in asbestos testing made her concerned of the play makeup sets her daughter received as a gift.

The makeup sets tested positive for tremolite asbestos, a form of asbestos sometimes found in products containing talc. Asbestos exposure is linked to lung cancer and other chronic respiratory diseases.

After the initial positive results, Warner and her law firm purchase 17 more Claire makeup products from nine states and sent them for asbestos inspection and testing. North Carolina's Scientific Analytical Institute said it found tremolite asbestos in all of the samples.

Shortly after they were contacted with the findings, Claire's conducted testing of its own with a different independent lab. This lab said it did not find asbestos.

Sean Fitzgerald, director of the North Carolina Scientific Analytical Institute, claims that Claire's statement is misleading because Claire's did not test the original samples provided by Warner; instead, it appears Claire's tested other similar products in its stock.

"The original products in which I found asbestos are still in my lab, so there is no way they have looked at those because no one has asked me for them," Scott Fitzgerald, director of the North Carolina Scientific Analytical Institute, said in a recent press release.

Claire's rebuts these allegations, saying that it has tested products with the same SKU numbers as Fitzgerald.

"We are pleased to report that test results received to date from two certified independent labs confirm that the products in question are asbestos free, completely safe and meet all government requirements. Any report that suggests that the products are not safe is totally false," Claire's representatives said in a recent press statement. "We have made multiple requests for Mr. Fitzgerald's detailed test data, but it has not been provided to us."

"I have sent images of the asbestos fibers and a lab summary," Fitzgerald said in a recent press release.

Last year, Fitzgerald was involved in an asbestos suit against Colgate-Palmolive where his testimony was excluded because the judge deemed Fitzgerald's testing varied from accepted methodologies. Fitzgerald said that his testing methods have been accepted in other courts and every judge views testing methods differently.

Despite firmly standing by its statement, Claire's said it would honor returns from customers who are uncomfortable with the products. The company is unsure as to whether it will put the products back on shelves.

To read more about the Claire's asbestos pursuing, visit the original article. To learn more about asbestos certification and how to get involved in this expanding field, visit Zack Academy's asbestos homepage.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

New Designs to Help Offshore Wind Turbines Handle Hurricanes

Offshore Wind Turbines

It is no secret most nations are looking towards more sustainable options to produce energy over the coming decades. While the term "renewable energy" conjures images of solar powered homes in the minds of most, wind power is another viable option, although offshore wind turbines have been met with their fair share of issues, especially in the United States.

According to an article from the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE), 13,000 megawatts of offshore wind have been deployed worldwide, yet the United States only has one commercial offshore wind farm in operation. There are many prongs to this issue, but the article focuses on tumultuous hurricane winds, which plague the Atlantic coast and Gulf of Mexico on a regular basis. While offshore wind turbines are engineered to lock and feather blades when wind speeds surpass 55 mph it is difficult for companies and the government to fund a wind farm with no guarantee it will withstand gusts of over 100-150 mph.

There are several options available to handle such wind speeds, but one of the more interesting advances comes from the rotor designed by Wetzel Engineering. The EERE goes on to say, "To optimize the project for hurricane resiliency and structural efficiency, the wind turbines use a downwind orientation—opposite from the upwind design used in virtually all utility-scale wind turbines today. Upwind turbines use a wind vane and a yaw drive to constantly turn the top of the turbine to face into the wind. A downwind turbine avoids these components and lets the wind blow the blades away from the tower. This allows the blades to be more flexible, and permits them to bend in high winds without the risk of them hitting the tower, thereby reducing the risk of structural damage during a hurricane."

Definitely some food for thought - hopefully all of the issues for wind turbines can be overcome, including economic feasibility and avian wildlife crashes.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Court Orders EPA to Propose New Lead Safety Standard in 90 Days

A court order from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
ruled that EPA cannot delay updating its 17-year-old lead standard;
the court gives it 90 days to propose a new standard.

Last Wednesday, a federal appeals court ordered the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) to update its 17-year-old standards for lead levels in paint and soil.

The Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit ruled that EPA had taken a liberal amount of time to act on a 2009 petition from several public health and environmental groups asking for tougher regulations on lead. In a 2-to-1 ruling, the court found that the EPA has a duty to update its lead paint rules following years of new scientific evidence that its current standards are insufficient in preventing lead poisoning. Now, the EPA has 90 days to propose a new standard and one year to finalize it.

"This is going to protect the brains of thousands of children across the country. It's going to mean that children that otherwise would have developed very elevated blood lead levels will be protected from the damage associate with that, assuming EPA follows the court order," Eve C. Gartner, a staff attorney for Earthjustice representing some of the environmental groups in court, said in a press release.

Since 2009, public health and environmental groups have pushed for stricter regulation of lead. Lead-based paint in particular has been a source of toxic lead exposure in everyday settings. Lead-based paint was banned in the United States in 1978 but remains in many older homes. When paint flakes off or is disturbed, the paint chips and dust can be inhaled or ingested by occupants.

In recent years, lead poisoning epidemics have cropped up nationwide - often times with children as the primary victims. Lead poisoning is cumulative and even small amounts of exposure over a lifetime can cause irreversible cognitive delays, bone damage, kidney damage and organ failure.

As recently as 2016, a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that even minuscule differences in childhood lead exposure can have lasting impact on educational performances. Researchers compared test scores and lead-exposure levels of children who benefited from a lead remediation program in Rhode Island against children who did not. They found that single microgram increase in the amount of lead in a child's bloodstream correlated with a one-point drop in reading comprehension. Moreover, a single microgram decrease in blood lead levels correlated with higher test scores.

With stricter lead laws, childhood lead poisoning can be a thing of the past. Still, petitioners are hopeful but not relieved with the court order.

"That's the hurtful thing, how many children could have been prevented from suffering the pains of lead poisoning," Zakia Rafiqa Shabazz, founder of United Parents Against Lead, said in a recent press release.

Activists lament the decade-long stall to receive action from their petition in 2009 - first with the Obama administration agreeing to update lead standards but not setting any plans in 2011 and again with the Trump administration initially asking to delay a new standard until 2020. As a result, some activists are not optimistic about EPA's dedication to lead poisoning prevention.

"They never contested that the standard needed to be updated. They just didn't prioritize protecting kids from lead," Eve C. Gartner, staff attorney for Earthjustice, said in a recent press release.

The new lead standard proposal from EPA - the first phase of the court order - can be expected by April.

To learn more about the court case, visit the appeals publication. To learn more about lead and how to get involved in this important industry, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Asbestos Masters LLC Joins Zack Academy to Offer Asbestos Training in Colorado


Fort Lauderdale, FL (January 3, 2018) - Zack Academy (, a national provider of certification and training courses, announced today that it has partnered with Asbestos Masters LLC to offer asbestos training in Colorado.

Based in Denver, Colorado, Asbestos Masters LLC is an EPA accredited asbestos trainer. Asbestos Masters LLC teaches courses such for Asbestos Supervisors, Asbestos Inspectors, Asbestos Project Designers, and Asbestos Workers. Upcoming courses include an Asbestos Contractor / Supervisor course starting January 29th, and an Asbestos Worker / Handler course starting January 8th. If you’re in the Denver area completing one of these courses could be a great start to your New Year!

"This new partnership helps us bring asbestos courses to the great state of Colorado," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy. “We are excited to help properly train asbestos professionals in the area and look forward to a mutually prosperous relationship.”

About Asbestos Masters:
Asbestos Masters is Colorado's leader for environmental, health and safety training. Asbestos Masters provide quality training by using experienced instructors, a fully equipped facility located in Montbello, Colorado with real life demonstrations, state of-the-art equipment, and hands-on training. Asbestos Masters also travels statewide to provide custom training to fit your needs.

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