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Friday, July 29, 2011

Judge Stops Changes to Manufacturers Trust Company Building

Marble Columns Required Protection from the Poly, Spray Glue, & Duct Tape.
This article in the New York Times regarding "Judge Stops Changes to Manufacturers Trust Company Building" brought back some memories for me.  Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company (MHT) was one of Future Environment Design's first and largest clients.  Over the time we worked with MHT we removed alot of asbestos containing materials, including troweled-on amosite asbestos containing reflectance material on the first and second floors of 510 Fifth Avenue, New York.  This building was the location of our most profitable and successful projects.  We actually discuss this project in our initial asbestos project designer classes (reviewing the original asbestos drawings and discussing problems with amosite asbestos and negative air units).  MHT wanted to perform an energy efficient upgrade to reduce the amount of electricity they were using to light the first and second floor 510 Fifth Avenue.  In addition, New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee had landmarked the building, so the general contractor (Adelhardt Construction Corp.) had to figure out how to maintain the appearance while also saving electricity.  Under that landmark interior was troweled-on amosite asbestos containing reflectance material.  As the asbestos consultant for MHT, we designed the asbestos removal portion of the project.  The entire project ended with an extremely happy client that had a payback period of 1-2 years and the project came in under budget by at least 1 million dollars.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NYS Education Department Issues Clarification on Asbestos Material Testing

New York State Education Department's Office of Facilities Planning newsletter #107 (July 2011) issued clarifications regarding asbestos material testing that were brought up by the New York State Department of Health' Environmental Laboratory Approval Program's (ELAP) FAQ.  Major points from the newsletter:
  • Review your management plans and data, and determine if the ceiling tile results were obtained through an appropriate test, ELAP items 198.6 or 198.4.  If the tiles were correctly tested in accordance with the current protocols and the data are available, no additional testing is required. If that information is not available, or if the results were not obtained in accordance with ELAP items 198.6 or 198.4, school districts should consider testing as either part of an existing or planned capital improvement or as an independent analysis prior to disturbance.
  • Be aware that ceiling tiles and other products purchased today can still contain asbestos, but many manufacturers offer documentation as to the asbestos free nature of their products.  Some manufacturers date stamp ceiling tiles.  If you can provide documentation of when and where the tiles were purchased and installed, the manufacturer should be able to provide documentation or certification that they do not contain ACM, and your management plan should be updated accordingly.
  • If you have documentation that your ceiling tiles or other materials are non-ACM, additional testing is not required, however, as in any investigation, actual bulk sample results would supersede documentation in an analysis of the situation.
  • Check the ELAP list, contained in the web links above, to see if any other materials in your school that may be disturbed such as vinyl tile, mastic, caulking, etc, were tested under the correct protocol, and the results are available.  If these items were not tested properly under the current protocol with negative results they should be considered for additional sampling prior to any disturbance.
  • If ceiling tiles and other materials are found to be asbestos containing under the current analysis method, the schools asbestos management plan must be updated in accordance with AHERA regulations.  Areas with significantly damaged ceiling tiles must be isolated and the damaged areas removed in accordance with AHERA and code rule 56.  Districts should consider whether to undertake capital projects if certain ceilings must be accessed on a regular basis.

Considering my reccent article in Future Focus, it seems like someone else is thinking along the same lines as myself.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Where Should Your Necktie Tip Fall?

A tie dimple, photo taken by User:Pumbaa80Image via WikipediaThis interesting video teaches you where you necktie tip should fall.  Menswear expert Antonio Centeno gives you a definitive answer as to how long you should tie your tie.  Mr. Centeno has some great videos helping us guys with dressing properly and purchasing clothes.  Find the video at  For safety reasons you should make sure you tie you necktie above the belt buckle and strongly recommend you make sure your tie is in your shirt when inspecting equipment.  This way the necktie will not catch in the equipment.  Leading to serious injuries.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Future Environment Designs sponsors Bacillus anthracis and Anthrax Video

Shown is an anthrax culture. The disease anthr...Image via WikipediaFuture Environment Designs is proud to sponsor a new informational video on Bacillus anthracis and Anthrax.  This video is designed as a public service awareness video on the topic of Anthrax which is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis.  Future Environment Designs can provide hazard specific training on this subject, especially for office staff that may be concerned regarding suspicious packages or mail. 
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Major Recall of Shock Absorbing Lanyards Under Way

Petzl America Inc. of Clearfield, Utah, has voluntarily recalled about 375,000 Scorpio and Absorbica shock-absorbing lanyards that have been sold since 2002, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced July 12. Some of the lanyards are missing a safety stitch on the attachment loop, which could cause the lanyard to separate from the climbing harness, the posted announcement states.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Did You Know?

Under the New York State Department of Labor's (NYS DOL) Industrial Code Rule 56, if you have an Asbestos Certificate (any one of them project monitor, inspector, etc.) and want to work for yourself (self-employed or working on an IRS 1099 form), you also need to get an Asbestos Company License.  In New York State if you employ a person with an Asbestos Certificate they can work under your license.  However, if they are independent, subcontractor, or 1099 worker they must have their own Asbestos Company License (either non-abatement or abatement, dependent upon what certificate the individual has).  The fine for not having a company license is $2,500.  The cost of a company license is $500 for the initial license and $300 for the renewal (which is annual).
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Deutsche Bank Fire Defendants All Acquitted Of Charges.

Last week, the three defendants charged with manslaughter and other charges of causing the fatalities at the former Deutsche Bank building, were acquitted of all charges.  The jury cleared two former managers, Jeffrey Melofchik and Salvatore DePaolo, on June 29, while the Criminal Court Judge Rena K. Uviller acquitted Mitchel Alvo, on July 6.  Uviller also tossed out the major charges against the subcontractor, The John Galt Corp., convicting the company only of a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment.
Deutsche Bank Building WTC site New York, Dec ...Image via Wikipedia
The former Deutsche Bank building was undergoing asbestos abatement and demolition at the time of the fire in 2007, that caused the death of firefighters Robert Beddia 53, and Joseph Graffagnino, 33, who died trying to fight the blaze.  Charges included multiple counts of negligent homicide, manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
Defense attorneys were able to convince the judge and jury that the actual causes were more complicated.  Those complications included:
  • New York City Fire Dept. did not abide by the 15-day rule of inspections
  • Errors made by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC)
  • The negative air system used in the abatement caused rising smoke to descend and block the firefighters vision.
It seems this may not be the end of the Deutsche Bank fire issues, because the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, which felt that the wrong people were charged, and thought the defendants were scapegoats, released the following statement: "We urge the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance heed his self-described duty as to do what is right in every case without fear or favor, wherever that may lead by re-opening an investigation into the Deutsche Bank fire.  In fact, we are demanding that the District Attorney conduct an investigation into the LMDC."

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

If a Natural Disaster Occurred, Are You Ready to Help?"

Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...Image via Wikipedia
The June issue of the Environmental Marketer Newsletter written by Paul Cochrane, of Cochrane and Associates, asks -"If a Natural Disaster Occurred Tomorrow, Would Your Environmental Business Be Ready to Help?"  Considering 2011 has been a historic year for natural disasters, we've seen everything from flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, and tsunamis.  With hurricane season just starting and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicting this season as being above average with as many as 10 hurricanes.  Is your business prepared to help is an appropriate question.
Unfortunately, when tragedy hits for some people,it leads to opportunities for others.  This article discusses how these opportunities will only come your way if your business is prepared.  In defining prepared, this article is not talking about logistics of handling work but rather what are you doing to market yourself and make sure you are the one being called upon to provide the services or products needed.
So how do you position an environmental or IAQ business for something that hasn't even happened? Here are a few marketing and public relations concepts, from Mr. Cochrane, that can help:

  • Online content - Develop information for the company website for dealing with various natural disasters.  
  • Online videos - Similar to the concept above, create and post on the company website, as well as on YouTube, online videos about preventing and managing natural disasters.
  • Marketing Collateral - Have materials ready and available to hand out that deal with all the natural disasters found in the areas your company services. 
The following was just a summation of the article visit for further information.  Be prepared and be safe this season.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer & Fall 2011 Future Focus Now Available Online

Could This Asbestos Mine Reopen?
Just finished posting the Summer & Fall 2011 Future Focus Newsletter.  We're re-focusing the newsletter to keep it from seeming the same as all the marketing media we do.  We will only publish the newsletter twice per year and the feature article will be more about the future and big picture versus the daily happenings.  You can find our posts and discussions on the daily happenings here in this blog, or our posts on Facebook at Future Environment Designs Training Center, or posts on Linked-In at the New York State Asbestos Group, or you can follow our tweets on Twitter at Angelo Garcia, III.
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Friday, July 08, 2011

CMM Realty Alleged to Have Violated OSH Act and Clean Air Act

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has sued CMM Realty Inc. for allegedly firing an employee who voiced and reported workplace and environmental concerns regarding asbestos at one of the company's worksites.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division, alleges that the company violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when it terminated the individual's employment.  OSHA is asking that the court provide him all appropriate relief, including reinstatement to his former position, back pay, interest and compensatory damages, as well as prohibit the defendant from future violations.
On May 13, 2009, the employee voiced concerns to the owner of CMM Realty concerning asbestos exposure at the company's Briargate Condominiums.  The following day, he filed complaints with the South Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Conservations.  Both agencies conducted inspections and issued citations against CMM Realty for violating asbestos control standards.  On that same day, the employee was informed that his services were no longer needed.  On May 18, he was notified officially of his termination from the company.
In June 2009, the employee filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA.  After conducting an investigation, the agency found that CMM Realty unlawfully had terminated the individual's employment for reporting concerns to management about exposure to asbestos and for filing complaints with the two state agencies.  In November 2010, OSHA enforced the whistleblower provisions of the Clean Air Act by ordering the company to reinstate the whistleblower and pay him $56,222 in compensatory damages and back wages, which continue to accumulate while he is out of work.  The company appealed that order to the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, where it awaits review.
OSHA is now suing the company in federal court for violating Section 11(c) of the OSH Act, which forbids companies from discriminating against an employee because he or she has filed a complaint with OSHA.
CMM Realty Inc. is a real estate management corporation with its main office in Columbia, S.C.
OSHA is represented in federal district court by the Labor Department's Office of the Solicitor.
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Thursday, July 07, 2011

North Country Chamber of Commerce's Business Expo a Success

FED Booth at the North Country Business Expo
On Thursday, June 9, we exhibited at the North Country Chamber of Commerce's ( Business Expo.  The Expo was held at the Plattsburgh State University Field House.  The venue had plenty of space for all the exhibitors (186 exhibitors from published reports) but the temperature the day of the event was 80 degrees F (which made the Field House pretty warm).  Unfortunately, the Field House is naturally air condition (meaning you open all the doors and you allow the cross-ventilation to cool the building down). 
The 186 exhibitors ranged from Champlain Vally Hospital, AT&T, to a local pharmacy.  Some interesting included Nova Bus, Lake City Fire Equipment, and the Wild Center.  Lake City Fire Equipment ( does training, service, sale, and inspection of fire extinguishers.  While The Wild Center ( is a not-for-profit organization located on a 31-acre site in the Town of Tupper Lake, NY near the geographic center of the Adirondack Park.  The Wild Center is dedicated to understanding the Adirondack Park, and is committed to helping people explore not a small collection, but one that lives and breathes across the entire expanse of the Adirondacks.
Though the venue was very hot and stifling at times, we had a great event and made several new contacts.  We set several goals for the Business Expo to assist our business (primary goal was to increase the contacts we had in the area), and we feel these goals were accomplished, making this a very worthwhile event.
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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

EPA Issues Press Release On Reducing Asthma Attacks During Summer

US Air Quality Index Map-1/23/2009Image via WikipediaThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that hot weather can cause ozone levels to rise, making the air unhealthy to breathe, especially for people with asthma or other respiratory ailments.  Throughout the hot summer months, it’s important to pay close attention to the air quality. Like the weather, air quality can change from day to day or even hour to hour, and can have a serious affect on people’s health.
The Air Quality Index uses a color-coded system to display whether the five major air pollutants exceed air quality standards for the day.  When the Air Quality Index reports unhealthy levels, people, particularly asthmatics and others with respiratory ailments, should limit strenuous outdoor activities.

During the summer when ozone levels rise, the number of people with asthma related symptoms admitted to hospitals and emergency rooms increases.   Asthma rates – especially among children – have increased dramatically.  Asthma affects 25 million people in the United States, including seven million children.  That’s 8 percent of the population.  One out of every 10 school-aged children is affected. In addition to talking with health care providers, these steps can help prevent an asthma episode:

For information on EPA’s regional asthma program and other asthma triggers please see:
To hear an audio podcast about asthma:
Related articles
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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Canada Blocks Asbestos's Placement on UN's List of Hazardous Substances

Kathleen Ruff wrote an excellent piece in the June Newsletter of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) regarding "Canada's Refused to Allow Asbestos to be Put on United Nations List of Hazardous Substances."  Ms. Ruff's article discusses what occurred at the UN Conference in Geneva June 20 to 24, where more than a hundred countries present were on the point of achieving consensus to add chrysotile asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention's list of hazardous substances.  Countries can still export substances on the list, but they must first obtain Prior Informed Consent.
The asbestos lobby has used its political power over the past several years to prevent chrysotile asbestos from being put on the list of hazardous substances, as they deny that chrysotile asbestos is hazardous.  So at the meeting in Geneva, Canada again intervened and would not agree to letting chrysotile asbestos be put on the Convention's list of hazardous substances.  Canada, single-handedly, destroyed consensus and prevented action on chrysotile asbestos.  According to Ms. Ruff, Canada refused to give any reason for its immoral and destructive conduct in sabotaging the Convention.  As a consequence, the asbestos industry can continue selling asbestos to developing countries, without giving any information of its hazards.
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Friday, July 01, 2011

Happy 4th of July Weekend

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Wash...Image via Wikipedia
We wish all of you a Happy and Safe 4th of July weekend.  May it be loaded with good friends and family, exploding with happiness and joy, and the bright lights of sunny days and sparkling nights.  We also salute our troops this weekend, who are responsible for the freedom and liberty we enjoy this weekend.  Hail to the Troops!
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Chrysotile Asbestos Banned? More Like Certain Conditions of Use Will Be Eventually Banned!

Many of you, as did I, read about the " Ban of Chrysotile Asbestos " and rejoiced over something long overdue.  However, after rea...