FED's Industry Related News

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Electronic Cigarettes & Vaping Catching on With High & Middle Schoolers

A recent YouTube video highlights the issues with electronic cigarettes.  These popular gadgets have become very popular with teens & tweens with their usage doubling from 2011 to 2012.  They are also very controversial with very little research available on there effectiveness.  In addition, there is very little regulation on e-cigarettes and the amount of nicotine in them.  New York City is one of the few governments that treats e-cigarettes as the same as regular cigarettes as part of the amendments of the Smoke-Free Air Act of 2002.    

According to WebMD, "all e-cigarettes work basically the same way.  Inside, there's a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge that holds nicotine and other liquids and flavorings.  Features and costs vary.  Some are disposable.  Others have a rechargeable battery and refillable cartridges.  Using an e-cigarette is called "vaping"."



One of the major concerns with e-cigarettes is the liquid nicotine that is used.  Since nicotine is highly addictive, e-cigarette users will have withdrawal symptoms of irritability, depression, restlessness, & anxiousness.  Nicotine is dangerous to people with heart problems and may damage arteries over time.  Many of these products claim to be nicotine free, however, testing has shown that some may have varying levels of nicotine in the vapor.

The purpose of these e-cigarettes were to help smokers with their smoking cessations programs.  However, these are now being marketed and popularity is bringing them to underage students (primarily because there are no laws limiting their sale to minors - there are some laws regarding nicotine and liquid nicotine, but not enough).  A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study found that during 2011-2013, the number of youths who had never smoked a cigarette but had used e-cigarettes at least once increased three-fold (from 79,000 in 2011 to 263,000 in 2013).  Never-smokers who had ever used e-cigarettes were nearly twice as likely to have an intention to smoke conventional cigarettes than never smokers who had not used e-cigarettes (43.9% vs 21.5%).

According to Fortune Magazine, e-cigarette sales in the United States, were estimated to be $1.5 billion in 2014, with estimated growth of 24.2% per year through 2018.  With the current state of lack of regulations are we looking at a next generation of smokers hooked on nicotine from e-cigarettes and hence the next health crisis.  It may be time to start regulating this industry specifically the use of nicotine in these products.  Truth in advertising would go a long way to resolving many of the concerns with this potentially useful gadget.  

Monday, April 13, 2015

NIH Still Active in Gulf Region Five Years After Oil Spill

NIH Still Active in Gulf Region Five Years After Oil Spill - as we've written in the past, the increase use of respirators during disasters is a necessary step to prevent worker exposure to contaminants that make them sick immediately or in the future.  Respirator use during disasters continues to be optional when it should be mandatory.  Disasters typically involve exposures to asbestos, silica, lead, poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), etc.  The only way to protect yourself from many of these contaminants is through the use of properly fitted air-purifying respirators.

English: Respirator
English: Respirator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A properly fitted air purifying respirator will protect workers for most disaster and demolition exposure issues.  Providing workers with this type of respirator requires that you meet the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) 1910.134 respirator standard.  The standard is not that difficult to comply with.  It does require a plan for respirator use (selecting the type of respirator that will protect workers), medical evaluation for employees using respirators (to ensure they can wear the respirator), fit testing (to ensure the employee wears the correct size and it fits), and training the worker (so they know how to wear a respirator and its limitations).  There are other requirements but these are minimal compared to the four main requirements listed above.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

NYSDOL Roundtable Highlight of PACNY Environmental Conference

The Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 19th Annual Environmental Conference started with lots of buzz and the conference did not disappoint.  The conference had over 800 total attendees for the three days.  The Vendor Exhibit Hall had over 25 exhibitors (an increase from last year) including a bunch of new exhibitors like RJ Lee Group, US Micro, & the Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust added to the old standbys of Aramsco, DiVal, Fiberlock, & Grayling Industries.  The conference organizer Deborah (Johnson) Sanscrainte, from Aramsco, did a fantastic job putting together the conference while also bringing a new life into the world.  Lisa Brown was her beautiful self greeting everyone and registering the attendees (and commenting on men's hosiery).  The conference planning committee went overboard putting this year's conference together.  From our understanding the last day of the conference only came together a week or two before the conference.

Panorama View of the Vendor Hall from DiVal's Safety Ladder

The first day of the conference which has become known as Proficiency Day and involved a new audience polling process that involved using the attendees messaging device to poll the audience.  As usual it was very informative in learning anonymously what the audience's answers were on particular topics.  This year the polling device was used for the entire conference (much better than last year's devices).  Presenters included Diana Wolgemuth of Dale Carnegie (great take away was the 6 x 6 rule for slides); Kevin Malone of NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH); Andy Oberta of the Environmental Consultancy & Sean Hart of Energy & Environment, discussing "Visual Inspection: Comparing ASTM E 1368 and NYSDOL Rule 56".  Mr. Malone filled us in on the 2014 training statistics - NYSDOH issued 27,790 certificates based on 3,481 courses that were held.  In addition, Mr. Malone provided us with this link http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/home.action to find electronic copies of the most up-to-date federal regulations.

Linda Reinstein & the author at the Future Environment Designs Booth
The second day of the conference was even better including presentations by Brent Kynoch of the Environmental Information Association (EIA); Linda Reinstein of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) discussing "Asbestos - The Human Cost of Inaction" visit slideshare for her presentation; Christopher Alonge from Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) and Matthew Darin from Bluepoint Environmental did a joint presentation on "New NYS Mold Bill...SIGNED!" logistically it should be interesting to see how NYSDOL handles the bill; Matt Sanchez from RJ Lee Group discussing "Amphibole type and Morphologies that Occur in Vermiculite from Select Sources Around the World"; Dr. Marty Rutstein discussing "Asbestos Abatement, how did we get HERE and WHERE are we going?"; Dr. Barry Castleman discussing "Criminality and the Global Asbestos Industry"; Mr. Andy Oberta of the Environmental Consultancy discussing "Exposure Assessments in Asbestos Abatement: Understanding and Using ASTM D7886" which interesting lead to a disagreement with the audience on whether he had achieved an actual negative exposure assessment; and Mr. Jack Springston of TRC Environmental Corp discussing "Industrial Hygiene Lessons Learned from the World Trade Center Disaster" whose presentation was perfectly timed to allow for the Cocktail Hour in the Vendor's Hall.

Jack Springston presenting IH Lessons Learned from the WTC

The third day of the conference was the best day especially with NYSDOL bringing all the major players who regulate the asbestos industry and the soon to be regulated mold industry.  The third day started with the awarding of the door prizes and an impromptu presentation by Tom Meade, the Executive Director of PACNY.  The presentation/rant was discussing the information received from NYSDOL through the FOIL process regarding revenue generated by NYSDOL in 2011, 2012, & 2013 (visit our FED Course CD under Helpful Links and General Information for FL-14-0583) and the process of trying to incorporate A3675 notification bill through the budget process (a very frustrating process with what seems to be unintended consequences).  Mr. Ed Cahill from EMSL discussed the "New Vermiculite Method 198.8", it will be interesting if they do decide to expand the 198.8 method and/or the Lab 55 method into other vermiculite containing materials.  The final presentation was the NYSDOL round table led by Dr. Eileen Franko, and included Mr. James Meacham, PE, Acting Program Manager, Asbestos Control Bureau; Mr. Edward Smith, PE, Associate Engineer, Engineering Services Unit; Mr. Kirk Fisher, Program Manager, Licensing and Certification Unit; and Senior Attorney Mr. Matthew Robinson-Loffler.  One thing you definitely got from this round table is that the asbestos control program is probably the most organized it has ever been.  In addition, more changes were announced, NYSDOL has hired Mr. Don Pearce away from NYSDOH.  Mr. Pearce was working on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Grant regarding Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) audits on schools.  EPA is now coordinating with NYSDOL to perform the grant.  It will be interesting to see how NYSDOL handles these inspections since they have enforcement capabilities where NYSDOH did not.  Mr. Alonge must have disappointed to hear that the proposed changes to Industrial Code Rule 56, that he wrote before he left, are now dead and being rewritten again.  NYSDOL is getting lots of support (probably more information than they need)  in creating the mold regulations but it is obvious that NYSDOL is expecting the new Assembly A4759-2015 & Senate 3674-2015 Bills to help them and give them more time to create the regulations.

NYSDOL Roundtable Panel
Overall this was one of the best PACNY conferences, but we think we say that every time we write about the conference.  There are lots of conferences out there fighting for our time.  However, very few deliver on the ability to meet people in the remediation industry that are leading the way and trying to make a difference.  In addition, the conference provides the ability to meet regulators and ask questions that directly impact the work we do.  PACNY's environmental conferences, over the years, has delivered this every year and we suspect will continue to deliver on this type of access into the future.  Plus it's a fun place to learn and enjoy a break from the day-to-day grind of work. We look forward to next year!

Told you it's a fun place!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

All Eyes Turn To Turning Stone Casino For PACNY's 19th Annual Environmental Conference

This week is the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 19th Annual Environmental Conference.  The conference is being held at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York from Wednesday, February 25 through Friday, February 27th.  The conference is New York's premier conference for the abatement and remediation industries.  Like most conferences it consists of meetings and a vendor hall.  Unlike other conferences, regulators usually participate and are the main speakers at the event.  Find the registration form here.  

Turning Stone Casino is a Beautiful Casino
Future Environment Designs (FED) is again sponsoring the event, find our booth in the vendor hall staffed by Ms. Kimberly Granmoe & Ms. Sheryl Esposito, you met both of them last year.  The ladies will help you get our new app for Negative Air Calculations and a parting gift.  If you can't make the event, we will be posting updates on our Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/angelogarcia3) with the hashtag #FEDTCPACNY.

FED's Booth in the Vendor Hall

Last year, the conference expanded to three days, adding the Proficiency Day designed primarily for training providers.  This year PACNY has expanded it to include other proficiency topics.  In addition to Mr. Kevin Malone of New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) speaking on the training regulations, Mr. Andy Oberta & Mr. Sean Hart will be speaking on the asbestos visual inspection standard American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) E1368; and Ms. Diana Wolgemuth of Dale Carnegie speaking on "Incorporating the Human Element into our Business."

The Long Island Contingent for PACNY Last Year.

Technical sessions on the second day this year will include discussions on vermiculite, the new mold regulations, asbestos abatement, understanding ASTM D7886, and "Industrial Hygiene Lessons Learned from the World Trade Center Disaster."  Opening speaker will be Ms. Linda Reinstein of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).  Other speakers include: Mr. Brent Kynoch of the Environmental Information Association (EIA); Mr. Christopher Alonge (is Back!) from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY); Matthew Darin from Bluepoint Environmental; Matt Sanchez from RJ Lee (guess what he will be talking about?); Dr. Marty Rutstein; Dr. Barry Castleman; Mr. Andy Oberta of the Environmental Consultancy; & Mr. Jack Springston of TRC Environmental Corp.  All should be great presenters with great topics!

Last Year's Regulatory Day

The final day of the conference is usually Regulation day.  It will start with Mr. Ed Cahill from EMSL (guess what he will be speaking on?).  It will then move to a roundtable consisting of asbestos and mold representatives from New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) from the engineering, enforcement, & legal divisions led by Dr. Eileen Franko, who is always entertaining and hopefully not offended this year.  For more details about the conference you can find the conference flyer here.  The conference is always fun and a great networking event.  The Cocktail Hour on the second day happens in the Vendor Hall and Wednesday night President's reception features Dan the Magic Man!  Hope to see you there!  Come by our booth and say hello.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Have You Remembered To Post The OSHA 300A Form?

On February 1, covered employers were required to post the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) 300A form.  The 300A form summarizes the information that is kept on the OSHA 300 log form.  Covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses that occur at a workplace on the OSHA 300 log form.  At the end of the year, covered employers are required to tally the totals on each column and enter the totals on the OSHA 300A form.  The information should be used by employers to evaluate safety in the workplace and determine ways to eliminate or reduce hazards in the workplace.  OSHA's 300A form is required to be posted until April 30, 2015 and must be retained for 5 years.  During the retention period you are required to update the log to add new information regarding the occupational injuries and illnesses recorded on it.  OSHA has brief tutorial to help you complete the forms.


OSHA 300A Form

A final rule was announced on September 11, 2014, which went into effect January 1, 2015, changing the list of employers partially exempt from the above recordkeeping requirements.  The revised list uses the new method of classification of industries, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  The partially exempt industry list includes: architectural, engineering, & related services; legal services; & drinking places (really!!!), as examples.  For the full list of exempt industries visit OSHA's website on recordkeeping.  In addition, to new exempt industries there are industries that have to start keeping records.  These industries include:  automotive dealers, building material & supplies dealers, & activities related to real estate, for example.  Find the industries that have start keeping records here.  

However, this does not exempt these industries or covered industries from reporting to OSHA, within 8 hours, any work-related fatality and reporting work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye within 24 hours.  This new reporting requirement was also part of the changes that went into effect on January 1, 2015.  Employers can report these events by telephone to the nearest OSHA Area office during normal business hours, or the 24-hour OSHA hotline 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), or electronically through a new tool which is being developed, look for it here.   Should you need any assistance with these requirements contact Future Environment Designs.