Architects and Design Professionals Haz Mat Hidden Liability – Whitepapers

Architects and Design Professionals Haz Mat Hidden Liability

Architects and Design Professionals Haz Mat Hidden Liability Condensed

Paint Manufacturer Lawsuit Appeals Ruling

Lead Paint Makers Lose Another Round In Long-Running, $1.1 Billion California Lawsuit


Legal Newsline , CONTRIBUTOR

We cover issues that affect businesses in state and federal courts

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.


Jon Bilyk

I am the editor of the Cook County Record.


News from a California court isn’t good for Sherwin-Williams and two other companies that formerly made lead paint. A state appeals court has upheld most of a judgment that could cost the three more than $1 billion combined. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach, File)

In ruling that three paint manufacturers have known since the early 20th Century of the danger the use of lead paint inside homes posed to children, a California appeals court has upheld the bulk of a judge’s reasoning in ordering the paint companies to pay more than $1 billion for their alleged contributions to a “public nuisance” caused by the continued presence of lead paint in old homes.

In its Nov. 14 decision, the three-justice panel of the California Sixth District Appellate Court, however, pared the judgment back a bit, saying the paint companies should only be held responsible for funding the investigation and removal of lead paint from homes in seven of California’s most heavily populated counties and three of its largest cities – which, according to estimates provided in the decision, could amount to nearly 1.6 million homes across the Golden State.

The panel declined to estimate the extent of the cost for which the companies may be on the hook now, however, sending that question back to the Santa Clara County court to decide.

The defendants have pledged to appeal the decision to the California Supreme Court.

The opinion was authored by Justice Nathan M. Mihara, with justices Eugene M. Premo and Frankin D. Elia concurring.

The decision comes as the latest scene in the litigation dating back nearly two decades, when the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Montery, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Ventura, and the cities of Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco first filed suit against a number of paint manufacturers that had in the past manufactured and sold lead-based paint.

The municipal governments had argued the paint merchants should be held liable for promoting the use of toxic lead paints inside homes and other residential buildings until lead-based paint was banned in 1978.

Read entire descision – Appeals Court Decision H040880 OPN

A cost-benefit analysis of policies addressing childhood lead poisoning

“10 Policies to Prevent and Respond to Childhood Lead Exposure,” a report published in August, 2017 by the Health Impact Project (a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts), examines the effectiveness of a variety of existing policies addressing the impacts of lead exposure on children, and calculates a cost-benefit analysis for each of these policies. The study addresses the cost of likely health and educational interventions needed for children affected by lead poisoning, and calculates the savings achieved by reducing childhood lead exposure through the various means studied. 

Among the study’s findings are the following:

  • Eradicating lead paint hazards from older homes of children from low-income families would provide $3.5 billion in future benefits, or approximately $1.39 per dollar invested, and protect more than 311,000 children.
  • Ensuring that contractors comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule that requires lead-safe renovation, repair, and painting practices would protect about 211,000 children born in 2018 and provide future benefits of $4.5 billion, or about $3.10 per dollar spent

Contractors who follow lead-safe practices are contributing to these future savings, as well as helping to protect the health of numerous children.

The complete study can be read and downloaded from Pew Charitable Trusts here.



HMS, Inc. is hiring field technicians

Join the HMS, Inc. team! Do exciting environmental services work for a family-owned business with a strong commitment to employee development.

We are seeking field technicians for asbestos and lead consulting work based in our Fresno, California office. 

The ideal candidate will possess:

  • Excellent work ethic and reliability
  • Construction background; comfort with construction and demolition work environments
  • Professional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Skill in using computer applications including Word, Excel, and Outlook
  • Ability to work independently and to contribute productively to collaborative teams
  • Reliable transportation with valid insurance and driver’s license
  • College degree preferred but not mandatory
  • Must be able to pass a physical and background check prior to employment

Training provided. This is a full-time position with medical, dental, holidays/vacation and 401K options. 

Please send resume and cover letter indicating salary requirements to


Tagged with: , , ,

Michael Sharp’s remarks to EPA Regulatory Reform Agenda meetings

Michael Sharp, HMS, Inc.’s CEO, was among the environmental scientists, policy advocates and industry representatives who spoke to the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention’s Regulatory Reform Agenda meetings in Washington, DC on May 1, 2017.

The meetings were held in response to Trump Administration directives to reduce regulation. Sharp took the opportunity to argue for streamlined regulations that reduce industry costs and confusion while still protecting workers and the public from the harmful effects of toxic substances in building materials.

In his remarks to the committee’s meeting on Lead Exposure regulations, Sharp pointed out:

“the level of lead in paint that determines if it’s lead-based was not based on health; it was based on the accuracy of an X-ray spectrum analyzer . . . This leads to the misconception that paints and coatings which do not contain enough lead to be “lead-based,” are safe. . . paint with no lead in it at all could contain cadmium, barium, mercury, asbestos, and numerous other heavy metals and hazardous ingredients. . . We could save millions on inspections if we looked for any deteriorated paint, not just lead-based paint. We could make enforcement of paint regulations simpler, saving on enforcement while increasing compliance. We could level the playing field for contractors on projects that impact paint, allowing more work to be conducted by contractors doing the job well and, most importantly, protect those we are trying to protect more effectively while reducing cost.”

In remarks to the meeting on the Toxic Substances Control Act, Sharp argued for consistency between AHERA regulations addressing the handling of asbestos in schools and NESHAP regulations addressing asbestos in other locations.  He asked, if you want to protect children, or custodial and maintenance workers, “why only protect those in schools? . . . All contractors and construction team members, not just abatement contractors, should be required to go through asbestos training. This would save significant costs involved with the mishandling of asbestos-containing materials and its clean-up. . . combining NESHAP and AHERA would not put significant additional cost on building owners but could significantly reduce the need for enforcement and increase compliance.”

More reading:

Full transcript of May 1, 2017 Toxic Substances Control Act regulatory reform meeting:

Full transcript of May 1, 2017 Lead Exposure Regulatory Reform meeting:

Washington Post article re: public comment on EPA regulatory reform:

Tagged with: , ,

New Silica Standards Go Into Effect Soon

New Federal and Cal OSHA silica standards for the construction industry are scheduled to be enforced as of September 23, 2017. These standards apply to any job tasks where airborne concentrations of silica may exceed the Action Level of 25 micrograms/cubic meter. If you do any construction work involving concrete, these standards are likely to apply. They require construction employers to have a written exposure control plan for silica, and to ensure that appropriate work practices, training, and record-keeping are taking place.

HMS, Inc.’s training partner and consulting competitor, Forensic Analytical Consulting Services, presented an excellent webinar on the new silica standards this spring. We encourage you to view the webinar here, and to contact either HMS, Inc. or FACS with any questions you may have.

Tagged with: ,

Join the HMS, Inc. team!

HMS, Inc. is seeking  a conscientious, collaborative manager for our Bakersfield Branch operations.

Duties of the Branch Manager will include:

  • Managing up to three technicians in field operations
  • Creating inspection and oversight proposals for established clients and developing new clients within the greater Bakersfield area
  •  Providing project oversight for the remediation of hazardous materials as part of renovation, demolition, and maintenance activities
  •  Coordinating operations with clients, employees, contractors, and staff from other company offices to meet logistical and regulatory requirements
  • Performing other duties as required to develop staff, grow client base, strengthen and maintain corporate operations and fulfill the company’s mission.

The ideal candidate will possess:

  • California Certified Asbestos Consultant or Site Surveillance Technician certification, or equivalent education and experience*
  • Experience performing hazardous materials inspections, project monitoring, or abatement work
  • Ability to prioritize, multi-task and see diverse projects through to completion
  • Professional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Excellent work ethic, demonstrated reliability and planning ability
  • Construction background
  • Comfort with computerized data programs; mastery of Word, Outlook, and Excel
  • Ability to work independently, supervise, and contribute effectively to non-hierarchical teams
  • Reliable transportation with valid insurance and driver license
  • Must be able to pass a physical and background check prior to employment
  • *If not fully certified, must be on track, able and willing to complete training and pass tests required for state Asbestos and Lead certifications


To apply, send resume and cover letter to:


Tagged with: ,

CDPH Lead and REHS classes now available

HMS, Inc. has been expanding its asbestos and lead training program, with several exciting recent developments.

  • Instructors from the Lead and Asbestos training program formerly housed at UC Berkeley’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health have joined our training team.
  • We have received CDPH and EPA approval to offer courses for certified lead professionals. 
  • We have also been approved by CDPH as an Accreditation Agency for Registered Environmental Health specialists, so our courses can now be used for REHS ce units. 

It’s all part of our commitment to providing the most accurate and practical training in hazardous materials management available. 

View our training page for courses that are currently scheduled, and check back for more courses to come. 

HMS expands AHERA training to Bay Area

HMS now has confirmed expanding their training to be conducted in Hayward, CA.  We are currently working on posting our 2017 calendar for all Initial and Refresher AHERA courses.  For more information contact us at

Update: Course calendar can be found here.

Inspector Assessor Supervision of Sample Technician Query

Inspector Assessor Supervision of Sample Technician Query

Tagged with:
Accept Credit Cards