Friday, May 30, 2014

NY and NJ Facilities Found in Violation of Proper Hazardous Materials' Inventories

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in conjunction with state and local agencies, recently conducted inspections of 30 facilities in New York and New Jersey and discovered that 17 of the facilities were in violation of keeping proper inventories of hazardous chemicals at their facilities. The EPA found that these facilities did not supply chemical inventories and hazard information to the appropriate government agencies.

EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck stated “Before they rush into an emergency situation, fire fighters and first responders deserve to be informed about the hazardous chemicals stored there. These requirements ensure that responders have the essential information they need to protect themselves, workers and the surrounding community when they respond to a facility during a chemical release or fire.”

Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, companies that manufacture, process, import or otherwise use chemicals above a certain amount must annually submit chemical inventory information to local authorities and to the state, giving detailed information about the chemicals they have on location. The businesses must report the names and quantities of those chemicals, as well as the hazards posed by those chemicals, to the state and local response agencies.

On August 1, 2013, President Obama issued Executive Order 13650 to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities and reduce the risks of hazardous chemicals to workers and communities. Chemicals, and the facilities where they are manufactured, stored, distributed, and used, are essential to today's economy. However, past and recent tragedies -- such as the devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas in April 17, 2013 -- have reminded us that the handling and storage of chemicals are not without risk.

It is important for communities and facility owners and operators to work closely together to ensure chemical safety and security.  In order to maintain safety within your community and work place if you deal with hazardous materials, Green Education Services offers courses regarding the safe handling and proper management of hazardous materials.

As a result of these finds, the EPA issued notices of violations to these facilities as well as contacted hundreds of other related facilities to ensure that they are provided with detailed information regarding their obligations to the proper handling and storage of hazardous materials.  The EPA plans to follow up with more spot checks to gauge the effectiveness of the outreach.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

EPA Announces Record $14M Fine for PCB Contamination

Titanium Metals Corporation, or TIMET, which supplies nearly one-fifth of the world's titanium demand, faces a staggering $14 million fine for illegally making and disposing of titanium waste product, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), in Henderson, NV. The fine against TIMET is the largest ever imposed at a single facility for violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act. The Pennsylvania-based company must also clean up the site.

During inspections in the mid-2000s, government officials had discovered that TIMET had been illegally producing polychlorinated biphenyl as a byproduct of its titanium manufacturing. The EPA inspections also revealed that the company had disposed of PCB-contaminated waste in a solid waste landfill and a trench at the Black Mountain Industrial Plant.

EPA enforcement official Cynthia Giles said in a statement: "This record penalty reflects EPA's commitment to protect communities by reducing pollution from the mineral sector. Today's settlement ensures TIMET complies with the law and takes important steps to build transparency in the investigation and remediation of this facility."

Toxic Substances Control Act 
An Act to regulate commerce and protect human health and the environment by requiring testing and necessary use restrictions on certain chemical substances, and for other purposes.  The TSCA specifically regulates polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) products.

The Dangers of PCBs
Polychlorinated biphenyl was used in paints, plastics, and electrical equipment before 1978. PCB has been illegal in the United States for the last 30 years after it had been shown to cause cancer as well as other health problems.  When released into the environment, PCBs can persist for decades because they do not break down through natural processes.

Green Education Services offers a PCB Awareness course designed to assist building owners and abatement contractors who may be handling PCB-containing or PCB-contaminated building materials during planned renovation or repair activities or planned PCB abatement efforts in older buildings. Visit https://www.greenedu.com/pcb-awareness-courses to learn more!



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lead Paint and Fall Hazards Result in $160K Fine

Fortune Painting Co. Inc., or Fortune Restoration of Illinois, a company that has a long history of safety violations now faces a new tab of almost $160,000 for 25 alleged violations of federal workplace safety standards.

OSHA said the company’s new repeat violations were similar to others for which it was cited for in 2008 and 2012. The contractor has been inspected 10 times since 2008; all but one inspection resulted in safety violations, according to a review of OSHA’s records.

The health and safety citations -- which generally were associated with fall hazards, exposing workers to lead-based paint and chemicals, and a lack of administrative controls and training -- issued by OSHA included:

Willful Infraction: committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health:
  • Fortune Painting failed to determine employee exposure to lead before directing workers to sand and scrape paint during a residential restoration project in Wilmette, IL.
  • Resulting Fine: $42,350 
Repeat Violations: The company failed to concur with OSHA's standards, resulting in 7 citations including:
  • respiratory protection standards;
  • failure to ensure that workers had properly fitted respirators to protect them from lead overexposure;
  • failure to train workers in respiratory use and procedures;
  • fall hazards;
  • dry sweeping of debris contaminated with lead-based paint;
  • failure to provide work shoes or disposable coverlets; and
  • lack of a clean changing area.
  • Resulting Fine: $70,840 
Serious Violations: occurs when there is substantial probability of death or serious physical harm from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.  The serious violations totaled 14 citations and included:
  • Respiratory protection;
  • Personal protective equipment (such as safety glasses and clothing);
  • Training and administrative controls; and
  • Housekeeping practices.
  • Resulting Fine: $44,660
"Other than serious" Violations:
  • failure to implement a lead exposure compliance program; 
  • improper use of electrical equipment; and 
  • failure to provide medical recommendations for each employee's ability to use a respirator.
  • Resulting Fine: $1,540
Totaling a massive fine of $159,390, the citations and violations could all have been easily avoided through the proper certification and compliance with local and federal requirements.

EPA Lead Certification
The EPA has ruled that contractors who perform renovation, repairs, and painting must train and re-certify in lead-safe work practices before renovating certain projects. If you are unsure if your work falls under this rule, use Green Education Services
simple breakdown of lead-based paint activities and the required certification.
If your work does fall under this rule, Green Education Services provides accredited courses for EPA Lead Certification. Visit https://www.greenedu.com/epa-lead-certification to learn more.

Safety Hazard Prevention
Green Education Services has courses that teach you what it takes to be in compliance with local and federal job site requirements and, most importantly, how to keep your team safe and healthy. Visit https://www.greenedu.com/osha-construction-safety to get started now!

Administrative Training
In order to successfully manage and support your business, it is important to have the skills of an administrator all of which are taught through various courses offered by Green Education Services. Check out https://www.greenedu.com/business-practices for a full list of the available courses.



Friday, May 23, 2014

Building Performance Institute Launches BPI GoldStar Contractor Program

For Immediate Release from the Building Performance Institute (BPI):


Malta, NY - BPI recently announced the launch of the BPI GoldStar Contractor program, a companywide credentialing program that recognizes and rewards home performance contractors committed to the principle that quality is profitable and can set them apart in the marketplace. The program rolls out in tandem with a consumer outreach campaign to educate the public on the exceptional quality of BPI GoldStar Contractors.

The program focuses on strengthening contractors' internal quality control processes to help improve services, reduce waste and invest in systems that result in greater profits and customer satisfaction. Company management and staff build quality management skills by participating in training and business-to-business mentoring that rewards progress with discounts on BPI certification and renewal fees, industry conferences and other BPI products and services.

"We've got a lot of smart building scientists in this industry. But it takes more than technical skills and hard work to succeed; you also need smart business management systems that fit your company and your marketplace," said Larry Zarker, BPI CEO. "BPI GoldStar Contractors know they're not perfect. But they're committed to two core principles: delivering high quality whole house solutions to their customers, and continuous process improvement in every aspect of their day to day operations."

The BPI GoldStar Contractor program replaces BPI's former Accredited Contracting Company program. The new program drives service improvement through front-end quality management training of contractors, rather than by catching poor performance through back-end QA inspections after work is done. All current BPI Accredited Contracting Companies meet the new qualifying criteria and are automatically grandfathered into the new BPI GoldStar Contractor program.

Working with the most respected experts in the home performance industry, including Advanced Energy, EnergyCircle Pro and others, the BPI GoldStar Contractor program introduces contractors to established Quality Management System (QMS) processes, tools, templates and problem solving techniques tailored to home performance contracting. Topics include lead generation and management, customer service, labor pricing, cash flow budgeting, collections policy, marketing, search engine optimization and employee retention.

Training will take place via free webinars and subsidized training seminars, and through a mentoring network administered by BPI. BPI GoldStar Contractors will also have access to BPI's QMS microsite, an online storehouse of practical templates, sample policies and spreadsheets, videos, articles and other quality management tools tailored to the home performance industry.

"No contracting company has ever made less money by doing things right the first time," said John Tooley of Advanced Energy. "Quality management experts estimate that 25-40 percent of dollars spent by a typical contracting business is wasted. Companies that are truly focused on quality don't spend more money. Instead they reduce waste, cut operating costs and invest in processes that result in greater profits and customer loyalty."

Consumer Outreach: Key elements of the BPI GoldStar Contractor consumer campaign includes Google Adwords® search engine and display advertising that drives homeowners to BPI's contractor locator tool at www.bpi.org. BPI is also creating a dedicated consumer website that features an interactive online energy audit tool leading to the contractor locator, videos, case studies and other resources. BPI is also building new relationships with leading home improvement media outlets to raise awareness of BPI GoldStar Contractors and the value of whole house home performance energy upgrades.

Fill out an application and learn more about the program at www.bpi.org/goldstar.
For more information, please contact goldstar@bpi.org.

About the Building Performance Institute
BPI is the nation's premier building performance credentialing, quality assurance and standards setting organization. BPI develops technical standards using an open, transparent, consensus-based process built on sound building science. From these standards, we develop professional certifications for individuals, companywide credentials for BPI GoldStar Contractors, home energy rating systems and quality assurance services that help raise the bar in home performance contracting. BPI is approved by the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI) as an accredited developer of American National Standards and as a certifying body for personnel credentials.
For more information on BPI, visit www.bpi.org.


Green Education Services has a full line up of BPI accredited courses to become a Building Analyst! Visit https://www.greenedu.com/bpi-building-analyst-1-workshop-courses to learn more!



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Threat of Lead Paint in Toys Inspires New Approach with EcoTruck

Danbury, CT -- In 2008, the founders of Luke's Toy Factory became troubled by recent reports of toy recalls due to the presence of lead paint. Recognizing that toys should simply be a fun and carefree part of childhood, they started to brainstorm how they could do things differently in the industry.

Over the past few years, the two father-son duos that make up Luke's Toy Factory have been researching materials and production processes in an effort to find a better way to make toys in the USA that are recycled, safe and sustainable. These efforts have lead to a prototype toy called the EcoTruck, created with composites which incorporate organic materials and plastic.

With the EcoTruck, the company hopes to inspire a revolution in toy making through the following features:
  • "A super premium quality toy intended to last for generations. We designed this toy to have the look and feel of classic wooden toys that go back to an earlier era, when handmade toys were affordable and made locally.
  • This toy will sell at comparable prices to toys currently on the market. With our innovative materials and manufacturing process, and no overseas shipping costs, we can make a higher quality toy and pass the savings on to you.
  • At least 30% of the plastic will be replaced with organic fibers. We will use a new type of material that is a hybrid between wood and plastic. While it will have the look and feel of wood, it will also be injection moldable like plastics.
  • Completely paint free - no surface coatings to flake off. Every parent knows that kids put things in their mouth. You will never have to worry about lead paint or other chemicals flaking off of the toy. The color is molded in.
  • This toy is tough! Our toys are made with a 300% heavier gauge material than other comparable toys. It's more durable, and we think it's the only way to go."
After developing over 20 different toy designs, Luke's Toy Factory is hoping to launch its first toy in the series, a firetruck, through the help of a Kickstarter funding campaign. The image below highlights the main features of the innovative product:

Sustainable toys lead-free made in USA


More About Luke's Toy Factory
We are a well rounded team. Luke designs the toys, using computer aided design software. His designs are simple, yet realistic, aimed at the child just outgrowing simple block style toys, but not ready for complex building toys. Mitch designs the packaging, logos and graphics, with an emphasis on sustainable packaging to complement the toys. Evan takes care of marketing and social media, building awareness of our goals. Using his business background, he also helps plan strategies to keep us moving forward. Jim has become an expert at the myriad details involved in the injection molding and plastic composites field. His pioneering work on this project earned him an invitation to deliver the keynote speech at an industry conference devoted to new composite materials and their applications.

The Dangers of Lead Paint
Exposure to lead has severe health risks in children and adults. Children exposed to even very low levels of lead can experience drops in average intelligence and social and behavioral problems. Lead poisoning has even been found to lead to criminal behavior. Due to these health and educational risks associated with lead, it is estimated that lead exposure costs the world $977 in GDP a year.




Friday, May 9, 2014

5 Reasons Your Energy Bills Are Too High

Your monthly energy bill may be the cause of unnecessary stress, but why exactly does it cost so much, and how can you prevent is from rising? It seems that ordinary individuals don't have much control over things like gas prices or energy taxes, so what can you do to reduce the cost of energy in your home or business? Here are five reasons why your energy bills may be high and what you can do to remedy this costly situation:

Spin Dryers Can Help You Cut Your Energy Bills
Spin Dryer; Source: TreeHugger
  1. Washers and dryers: The average American family does over 400 loads of laundry a year and uses almost 40 gallons of water for each wash. Additionally, the cost of each wash is directly related to the temperature you wash it at. Washing with cold water can save you up to 40 cents for each load. Over 90% of the energy used to wash your clothes goes to heating the water! Save energy by washing your clothes with cold water, and by reducing the amount of times you wash per week. Make sure you are washing a full load of laundry to avoid wasting water and energy.

    Want to cut costs even more? Dryers account for 12% of total household energy use per year! You can save 100% on your dryer costs by choosing to hang your clothes instead or switch to a gas or spin dryer to save money and energy.
  2. Outdated appliances: Using outdated appliances, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, or ovens may be contributing more to your energy bill. Switch to newer, more energy efficient models and save on electricity and money. Newer models use up to 4 times less electricity than older appliances.

    LED Light Bulbs Can Help You Cut Your Energy Bills
    LED Light Bulbs; Source: Geoffrey A. Landis
  3. Energy-wasting lightbulbs: Average lightbulbs use about 60 watts, while LED lightbulbs use 10, and last significantly longer. While LED bulbs have a higher initial cost, they will save you money in the long run. LED bulbs can last 20 to 50 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. Save money and energy by investing in energy-efficient lightbulbs. They'll last longer and reduce your energy bills.
  4. Poor insulation: Heating and cooling account for about 50% of total home energy usage. Make sure your home is energy efficient by improving the insulation. Making sure all of your windows and doors are properly sealed to avoid unnecessary energy leakage.
     
    Overcharging may be increasing your energy bills and costs
    Source: dosomething.org
  5. Charging gadgets: Right now, you may be charging your computer or cell phone despite the fact that it's at 100%. Various gadgets, from electric toothbrushes to radios to laptops still use energy even once they reach full battery capacity. Overcharging these items can even decrease battery life in the long run. Make sure to unplug these devices once you are finished charging them!

    Also, note that all technology continues using energy even when they are turned off! Your televisions, coffeemakers, and computers still consume energy even when in the off position. These "vampire appliances" continue to suck energy even when they aren't in use. Although they only contribute to a few extra cents a year on your energy bill, you can help the environment and save a few bucks by unplugging them when you aren't using it.

Want to learn more about energy efficiency and become an expert in a growing industry? Sign up for an energy efficiency course with GreenEDU!

Looking to learn more about green topics? Register for a webinar with GreenEDU and take a course from the comfort of your own home all while learning about topics such as water efficiency, green buildings, and energy! Click here to explore the various online courses with GreenEDU!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Brooklyn's Borough Hall to Lead the Way for LEED

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to Make Borough Hall LEED Certified
Borough Hall in Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn, New York - Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams plans to make Brooklyn Borough Hall a LEED certified building. Borough Hall is the borough's oldest public building, built in 1848, and Borough President Adams wants to transform it into an energy-efficient icon. He will work with the USGBC to gain LEED certification for the building.

Borough President Adams believes that this is the first step in transforming the borough into a green, environmentally-friendly place to live: “Borough Hall is going to lead the Brooklyn energy efficiency revolution by example, L-E-E-D to be precise,” said Borough President Adams. “If this marble monument, over one hundred and fifty years old, can be on the cutting-edge of green standards, then every building from Brighton Beach to Bushwick can be as well. We will be able to educate homeowners and business owners alike on common-sense ways to build with the environment in mind, advancing our public health and long-term sustainability.”

Additionally, Borough President Adams has created the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Task Force (ReSET). This team will include representatives from various agencies and think tanks who will create a plan for green energy in Brooklyn. Adams has also vowed to invest over $1 million in to fixing the crumbling, dangerous sidewalks in front of Borough Hall and repairing the Borough Hall clock, which has been stuck at 2:41 for several months.

Borough President Adams' move towards energy efficiency and green building marks an important step for Brooklyn and New York City. Other cities around the world are leading in energy efficiency, including Los Angeles and Washington D.C. It appears that this marks the beginning of several energy efficiency and LEED projects in New York City.

Become certified to work with energy efficiency or LEED buildings by registering for a course with GreenEDU. Gain a competitive edge over other contractors, and help pave the way for the future of green buildings!

Sign up for a course by visiting https://www.greenedu.com/energy-efficiency-training or https://www.greenedu.com/leed-exam-prep

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Delaware Administers New Lead Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Program

Delaware has become the first state in the Mid-Atlantic Region to administer its own lead-based paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program. Thirteen other states currently have their own programs, separate from the federal RRP program. Over 50% of residential homes in Delaware were built before 1978, the year lead paint was banned for residential use and repair. Even small amounts of exposure to lead paint can cause detrimental health effects in young children. Delaware's program went into affect this past January.

"Delaware is to be congratulated for this significant commitment to providing greater protection to children in our local communities," said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. "This is an important step in our shared goal of protecting children from the hazards of lead-based paint."

"We wanted to take action to prevent lead exposure in children, rather than react when a lead-poisoned child is identified," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director, Delaware Division of Public Health. "Requiring renovators, property managers, electricians, plumbers and builders to use lead-safe work practices is a proven formula for reducing lead poisoning in children and workers."

Anyone disturbing more than six square feet of painted surfaces in interiors or twenty square feet on exterior surfaces must be trained by an accredited RRP training provider. Additionally, employees, firms, and landlords must become certified through the Delaware Division of Public Health in order to work with these painted surfaces.

Individuals and firms performing lead-based paint activities in the State of Delaware must be certified by the Division of Public Health (DPH).

After completing an approved training course and passing any required exams, an individual must submit an Application for Certification to DPH. A certification fee is required and the certification is valid for two years.

All individuals performing work in Delaware must attend training to become certified. Individuals may attend training provided in Delaware or in another state, as long as the training provider is accredited by the EPA or an EPA-authorized State or Tribal program. Training is required for both initial certification and recertification and is effective for two years from the date of completion of the training course.

For access to individual and firm applications, visit http://dhss.delaware.gov/dph/hsp/leadregcomm.html

To become certified, attend an accredited RRP training course with GreenEDU! Don't wait, and register today! Find a training course in your area: https://www.greenedu.com/epa-lead-renovators-certification-initial-courses

USGBC Releases LEED Data for Each State

New York State Market Brief
The USGBC recently launched online data visualizations called "State Market Briefs" on their advocacy page. This new resource shows real-time green building data for each state, including cumulative LEED registrations since 2000, the breakdown by LEED accreditation, USGBC memberships,  and the number of LEED projects total. Anyone can now observe the impact of LEED in any state with this new data resource.

"Our state-level market briefs demonstrate USGBC's commitment to data and information transparency at an important level of granularity. You can't find this data anywhere else in the market," said Mahesh Ramanujam, chief operating officer, USGBC. "The choice to build green buildings is simple. These state-level data visualizations make it even simpler."

This new application marks a tremendous step forward for transparency and advocacy. Anyone will be able to take a detailed look at the green market and green building industry. According to the USGBC: "The dynamic market briefs for each state were created to supply green building advocates with on-the-ground information to tell robust stories about the multifaceted benefits of LEED green buildings. Each market brief acts as a state-level barometer of economic activity taking place in an industry that McGraw-Hill projects could be worth up to $248 billion and represent more than half of all commercial and institutional construction in the U.S. by 2016."

"Working at the state level, I see story after story of LEED success in North Carolina," said Emily Scofield, executive director, USGBC North Carolina Chapter. "The state market briefs are really useful to us in the way that they aggregate individual successes into crisp numbers that have a real impact on our conversations with businesses and policymakers.

You can view this data or download it as a PDF by visiting: http://www.usgbc.org/advocacy/market-brief

New LEED v4 Sample Questions

June 30th, 2014 marks the launch of LEED v4. The LEED Green Associate and LEED AP exams will be updated to reflect LEED v4 credentials. The last day to take these old LEED exams will be June 15th, 2014, and students will have the opportunity to take the new exam after June 30th. The USGBC has provided sample questions to prepare you for these new exams. Their practice questions and answers are below.

The new LEED exams will test both knowledge and task attributes in each question. These questions were taken from the USGBC's website here.

Sample questions from the v4 Green Associate exam

1. When applying for innovation credits, a project team:

A) Cannot submit any previously awarded innovation credit.
B) May receive credit for performance that doubles a credit requirement.
C) May submit a product or strategy that is being used in an existing LEED credit.
D) May receive a credit for each LEED Accredited Professional that is on the project team.

The answer is B. This question represents Knowledge Domain A. LEED Process, credit categories and Task Domain A. LEED Green Associate Tasks A developer wants to make a profit by building a new office that maximizes daylighting and views.

2. A developer wants to make a profit by building a new office that maximizes daylighting and views. What actions might the developer take to fulfill all parts of the triple bottom line?

A) Restore habitat onsite
B) Purchase ergonomic furniture
C) Pursue local grants and incentives
D) Provide lighting controllability for occupants

The answer is D. This question represents: Knowledge Domain I. Project Surroundings and Outreach, environmental impacts of the built environment and Task Domain A. LEED Green Associate Tasks, assist others with sustainability goals.

Sample questions from the v4 LEED AP with specialty exam

1. The city is building a new botanical garden and is attempting LEED® certification. What could the educational program include to earn an Innovation in Design Credit?

A) Present the building’s sustainable features at the grand opening
B) Present the building’s sustainable features at a town hall meeting
C) Provide on-going weekly tours highlighting the building’s sustainable features
D) Publish a press release to the local newspaper outlining the building’s sustainable features

The answer is C. This question represents: Knowledge Domain: LEED system synergies (e.g., energy and IEQ; waste management).

2. How should athletic fields be treated in the calculations for WE Credit, Outdoor Water Use Reduction?

A) Must be calculated using 100% potable water
B) May be included or excluded from the calculations
C) May be calculated using a standard 20% reduction from baseline
D) Must be calculated using at least 20% from an alternative water source

The answer is B. This question represents: Knowledge Domain: Outdoor water use reduction: irrigation demand (e.g., landscape water requirement; irrigation system efficiency; native and adaptive species) and Task Domain(s): be a resource for LEED credit achievement (e.g., provide resources, training, tools, demonstrations of sample credits), manage LEED template(s)/certification process in LEED Online (e.g., review for completion), identify project-specific strategies, educate others (and self).

Want to take the exam before the launch of LEED v4? Register for a LEED Exam Prep course with GreenEDU and get certified before June 15th! Find a course and register here: https://www.greenedu.com/leed-exam-prep

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Attorney General Charges Asbestos Training Company for False Certifications

Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed multiple chargers against Environmental Management Training Services LLC in Tacoma, Washington for substandard asbestos training. The two business owners pleaded guilty in Pierce County Superior Court for selling substandard asbestos worker training courses and false certifications. Timothy Pinckney and Pamela Pepper pleaded to charges including forgery, false statements, and official misconduct by a notary public.

From 2010 to 2013, EMT LLC charged feeds to students for asbestos training but then failed to provide the required training, and in some cases, did not provide training at all. They gave false certifications to students who would work for employers and state regulators. Pinckney cut some classes short, provided answers to examinations, or given certificates to students who failed the course or did not show up. The students and employers were charged full price for the training.

Attorney Ferguson said: "Substandard and fraudulent training of asbestos workers poses an obvious and substantial risk to public health and safety. This is exactly the type of misconduct my environmental crimes team seeks to deter."

False certifications are especially dangerous as asbestos is a deadly material. If it is not properly contained, it can affect anyone who breathes it in. Asbestos can cause cancer, lung disease, and various other illnesses. Certified asbestos workers are carefully trained to remove asbestos, avoid creating airborne debris, and safely contain it.

All asbestos workers are required to complete 32 hours of training and refresher courses. Each state has its own regulations and prerequisites for asbestos work. Asbestos training courses include lectures from an instructor, demonstrations, hands-on training, and respirator fit testing. All students must pass an in-class examinations, and in some states, students must also pass a 3rd-party state examination. If a student did not receive proper training, they may harm themselves or the public by releasing asbestos into the air and inhaling it. Asbestos can cause various diseases for those who have long-term exposure such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Tyler Among, Special Agent-in-Charge of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division in Seattle commented: "This case, at its heart, is about a violation of the public's trust. People expect that when they hire a professional to performa a service... they are in good hands. In this case, unscrupulous business owners knowingly put the health and safety of both their students and the unsuspecting public at risk."

While the investigation is still ongoing, Pinckney was sentenced to four months confinement and his asbestos teaching credentials were revoked. Pepper was sentenced to two months confinement and her notary license was revoked.

Anyone working with asbestos must attend training courses and attend annual refreshers. Each state has their own asbestos regulations. Stay up to date with your asbestos credentials by registering for a course with GreenEDU. Register for a course here: https://www.greenedu.com/asbestos-certification


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lowe's To Begin Compliance Program for RRP

Lowe's Home Centers is one of the largest home improvement retailers. Recently, they reported they implement a compliance program that would require contractors working with lead dust to be certified. This program will be enforced in over 1,700 retail stores. After, facing a settlement from violating the EPA RRP Rule, Lowe's will also have to face a $500,000 civil penalty--the largest violation ever recorded for the RRP Rule.

EPA inspectors found that the contractors Lowe's was hiring were not compliant with the RRP Rule's record keeping and work practice standards in residential homes. These rules exist to protect homeowners and children who are especially vulnerable to the hazards associated with lead exposure. Lead paint poisoning can cause detrimental health effects, including lower IQ, disabilities, and sociopathic behavior.

The investigation, prompted by public complaints, found that the contractors hired by Lowe's did provide documentation of their RRP certification, did not use lead-safe practices during the renovation projects, and did not correctly use EPA-approved lead test kits. Additionally, the contractors did not contain or clean the work areas in three of the homes.

Cynthia Giles of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance commented on the high settlement: “Today’s settlement sends a clear message to all contractors and the firms they hire: Get lead certified and comply with the law to protect children from exposure to dangerous lead dust. Lowe's is taking responsibility for the actions of the firms it hires, and EPA expects other contractors to do the same.” The compliance program will require contractors to be certified with the EPA before they perform renovation projects. The EPA hopes that the program will bring attention to the RRP Rule and the threat lead paint poses to children in the community.

According to the EPA, violations were found after reviewing records performed by Lead Renovators contracted by Lowe's stores. These violations were found in the following locations: Alton, Ill.; Kent and Trotwood, Ohio; Bedford, N.H.; Southington, Conn.; South Burlington, Vt.; Rochester, N.Y.; Savannah and Lebanon, Tenn.; Boise, Idaho Falls, and Nampa, Idaho; and Muldoon, Ark.

The new compliance program will ensure that the contractors Lowe's hires are certified with the EPA and that they use lead safe work practices checklists. If contractors are working in child-occupied facilities, such as schools or residential homes built before 1978, they must comply with Lowe's new program and the RRP Rule. Otherwise, Lowe's must suspend anyone who is not compliant and investigate any reports of noncompliance.

Stay compliant by earning your Lead Renovators Certification. Or, if you have already been certified, stay up to date by taking a Lead Renovators Refresher course. GreenEDU offers these courses nationwide in both English and Spanish!