Thursday, April 19, 2018

Oregon Passes Lead Legislation for Demolitions

oregon sb 871 lead poisoning prevention

Last year, Oregon tightened its laws on lead exposure and lead safety by passing Senate Bill 871. The bill was twofold - it required the Oregon Housing Authority (OHA) to develop a list of Best Practices for projects containing lead, and resulted in a new rule that requires demolition contractors to have proper lead certification.

The new Best Practices can be adopted by Oregon cities through ordinance when they create or revise their demolition program. The bill does not force cities to opt in, but it grants them the authority to establish such safeguards. Oregon lawmakers are confident cities will follow in suit.

"They just want the statutory authority to be able to do that. There's a lot of concern," Oregon Senator Michael Dembrow said in a recent press release.

The concern is valid as lead paint plagues older housing stock common in Oregon. When lead paint is disturbed through renovation or demolition, the dust can get into the air or leech into groundwater. Exposure to lead can cause bone, blood and hormonal disorders, as well as cognitive and physical impairments. Acute exposure can be fatal, but small exposures over a period of time can be just as dangerous. Chronic lead poisoning often affects children and can persist long before anyone notices the irreparable symptoms. Reducing childhood lead poisoning has been a task of importance at both state and federal levels.

"This is about protecting people's health," Oregon Senator Michael Dembrow said in a recent press release.

The bill also closed a glaring loophole where Oregon renovation crews were required to be lead certified, but demolition crews were not. Oregon law requires lead certification for any work disturbing lead paint or properties built before 1978; however, the legal language did not specify total demolitions. Technically, as it was argued by developers, a total demolition is not a renovation or remodel. However, residents argue that both demolitions and renovations can expose people to toxic lead dust.

One such example involved two Southeast Portland neighbors and a local developer. The case exposed this exact loophole.

"None of those agencies actually regulate home demolitions. Every agency I talked to I just got passed to another one. Every person I talked to was sympathetic. Every person thought this was a problem," Kelly Campbell, one of the neighbors involved in the Southeast Portland demolition, said in a recent press release.

Now, municipalities can withhold demolition permits until developers are lead certified.

A tremendous effort to reduce lead poisoning, some Oregon cities are already using SB 871 to create their own ordinances. Portland is one such early adopter. Their new demolition rules apply to all buildings occupied by one to four families and are at least 200 square feet. Demolition crews must be lead certified and take extra precautions to make sure their site controls the toxic dust.

"I see a real model for the rest of the state. If the city of Portland can do this right, I can certainly see other cities taking this up and taking this on because their residents are equally concerned," Oregon State Senator Michael Dembrow said in a recent press release.

To learn more about Senate Bill 871, visit the Oregon Legislative website. To learn more about lead poisoning and how you can help prevent it in your city, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage. Zack Academy offers a variety of lead certifications both in-person and online.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New Partner: Sargent Strategic Academy to Offer Restoration Business Courses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fort Lauderdale, FL (April 11, 2018) -
Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a national marketplace for certification and training classes, announced today that it has partnered with Sargent Strategic Academy to expand its cleaning and restoration business schedule.

Based in South Weber, Utah, Sargent Strategic Academy offers online business training for cleaning and restoration professionals. The current catalog includes Water Damage Business Marketing Strategies Online, as well as the comprehensive, Water Damage and Carpet Cleaning Business Academy, which offers students 14 online courses for the price of one. Students will learn industry-insider knowledge on how to run a successful restoration business. This course covers everything from administrative practices, management practices, and marketing practices to help your business stand out from the competition.

Additionally, Sargent Strategic Academy founder Gregg Sargent will be touring the country this year providing a series of in-person half-day seminars on Building a Better Cleaning and Restoration Business in partnership with Aramsco. This course is perfect for restoration professionals looking to maximize their business with industry-specific marketing, management, networking and negotiating strategies.

"As Zack Academy has grown to offer IICRC training nationwide, we’ve come across many students looking to get a firmer grasp on the business side of things. These new courses from Sargent Strategic Academy are the perfect option for students looking to amp up their restoration business. Even better, the courses are offered either online or nationwide so all our students will be able to take advantage," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

About Sargent Strategic Academy:
Sargent Strategic Academy contains over 100 strategies for water damage and carpet cleaning businesses. The Academy’s founder, Gregg Sargent has more than 18 years of experience in the carpet cleaning and restoration industries after building and selling his successful companies. He also has more than 21 years converting cold leads into profitable jobs and was named the Worldwide Franchise Marketer of the Year and Worldwide Entrepreneur of the Year.

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
646-564-3792

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Congress Passes Budget and Increases Healthy Homes Funding


Recently, Congress agreed upon a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill, allotting a substantial increase to lead and healthy home funding. This comes as a relief to activists who were concerned last month when the Trump administration proposed drastic budget cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Now, some $230 million will go toward lead hazard reduction and healthy home programs.

Under the Omnibus Bill, HUD will receive $230 million toward lead poisoning prevention - up from $145 million in last year's budget. The $230 million includes a $45 million budget that goes directly to HUD's Healthy Homes Initiative. Beyond lead poisoning prevention, HUD works to help undeserved communities with carbon monoxide exposure, fire risks, and other home hazard risks.

EPA also received level funding for their lead programs, which were originally up for elimination as proposed by the administration.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received $35 million for its Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program - an increase of $18 million from last year's budget.

A large part of the good news is owed to activists who called for more funding. These activist groups include the National Center for Healthy Housing, the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, and Earthjustice.

"One thing clear in the omnibus spending bill released tonight is that Congress, heeding the outrage of millions of Americans, soundly rejected the draconian budget cuts President Trump proposed for the departments and agencies charged with protecting public health and the environment," Martin Hayden, Earthjustice Vice President of Policy and Legislation, said in a recent press release.

A great win for public and environmental health, the results of the Congressional budget can only mean good things for lead poisoning prevention.

To learn more about the omnibus, view the bill here. To learn more about lead poisoning prevention and how to get involved in this important field, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage.