Painting Pro Times, the source for paint professionals!

As seasonal temperatures rise, exterior paint and coating application heats up. Most paint professionals are juggling projects and wondering if the old guys will continue working on Saturdays. In a regular climate, small business is a fast paced balance of getting jobs, knocking out work, collecting the money and keeping good associates. When it is raining work, many companies may be forced to turn away projects (due to a lack of skilled manpower), while others may defer jobs for the few customers willing and/or able to wait.

On top of labor and materials bills that seem to come in faster than accounts receivable, there is insurance, trucks, fuel and equipment renewal needs. While paint professionals are swinging brushes, like medieval swords, to slay the work backlog dragon, some unelected, Washington bureaucrats are plotting another takedown. Regular readers here already know about the EPAs’ RRP debacle and the pending paint remover attack.

We talked about the Agency’s “weird” science, their newfound legal power to exercise “discretion” when setting up “studies” or manipulating data, as well as making crazy assumptions where in certain instances the EPA counts consumers and professionals as equals in expertise. Here are a few references:

Painting Pros PerspectiveEPA’s Power Victory

Regulatory Review – EPA’s Push for Commercial RRP

Regulatory Review - Paint Remover: EPA Takes Aim at Small Business

EPA Tricks

Remember, the EPA uses removal, like open power grinding lead paint surfaces (interior and exterior), as typical preparation in many “studies”. Compared to reality, do you think the lead dust measured could have been inaccurately overstated? How about equating 1930s era housing when 80+ percent of the exterior paint was lead based to the 1961 -1977 period, when only about 25% had exterior lead based paint. Maybe, non-EPA, real science would know enough that the lead concentration difference warrants separation and at the very least, public mention.

Well, the Agency is at it again. In addition to the paint remover attack, the EPA is trying to justify the practice of “secret” science. That’s right; the Agency already uses “weird” science, but apparently has another kind concealed up the sleeve. It is hidden from the public, other scientists and small business. For most people, the definition of science involves empirical evidence, objectivity and easy duplication for proof.

Secret Science

Not so much over at the EPA. Apparently, the Agency uses secret science to justify adding more regulations. The covert practice may hide data, or use subjective conditions and/or engineer results. In the business world, this is usually invokes a lack of trust and legal action. Or an upfront announcement of what is going on, like a claim of proprietary knowledge (patents). When government departments use secret science to make regulations without disclosing hidden practices, it is bad blood.

Now that the secret is out, the regulation pushers are circling the wagons. The EPA says that they need to protect sources, which is often the case with journalists, but not with scientists. Imagine claiming that paint sticks to mud? When the claim is questioned, How come no one else can get paint to stay on soaking wet dirt? The answer is, “it has been proven scientifically, but the study must remain secret”. What? Not too convincing of an argument especially from federal bureaucrats funded by tax payers.

It is kind of scary and un-American, when unelected paper-pushers say “trust us; we know what is best for you”. Think this doesn’t matter when what you need to do is get work done? That is exactly what the EPA counts on. While small business is busy working and producing, the Agency conjures new rules, regulations and fees. Think that EPA’s secret science is a farfetched tail? The president of Harvard University has rushed to help the Agency*:

(Ms.) Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, has released a letter opposing draft regulations proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The regulations are being pushed by the Trump administration as a transparency tool, because they require all science on which regulations are based to be fully public.

Administration officials have denounced the research that would be shut off as “secret science.” Scientists say that the real aim is to block the use of research that has any confidentiality requirements, effectively excluding important research in epidemiology and other fields where patient records can only be used under confidentiality agreements.

Faust’s letter noted the role of such studies and said that they provide essential evidence for government policy makers. Faust said that these studies aren’t “secret science” but are “responsible science.” Excluding these studies, she wrote, “disqualifies the best available science” on key issues.

Looks like Harvard may be aiding and abetting EPA’s covert practices? Seems that not all agree; one professor responded (in part),

“…I am astounded to hear that a university president and other scholars would oppose an “open science” initiative at the EPA. The requirement that data be made available for replication and further analysis has become–as it should be–a major tenet of the scientific process.

Of course the confidentiality of study participants should be maintained, and an open science policy at the EPA does not mean that information identifying study participants must be made available to researchers; there is no reason for scientists replicating or extending studies based on confidential data to need the names, addresses, social security numbers, or other identifying information linking the data to specific individuals…”

Back to paint professionals, most small businesses consider using science based on empirical evidence as typical and legitimate. Apparently, the EPA’s idea is less genuine and includes “fake, weird and covert”. Makes you wonder how many other regulations are based on shaky principles? PPT will watch and report whether or not the Agency’s science remains secret or the lid is opened.

In the News, Behr has unveiled a new exterior wood finish. Reportedly, Quick-Dry Oil Base Wood Finish dries in only 60 minutes, dramatically faster than traditional wood finishes, and requires just a single coat.

PPG announced plans to open its largest North American distribution center, 450,000-square-foot facility, in Flower Mound, Texas. “PPG is incredibly proud to announce the Flower Mound distribution center project in this important market,” said Dave Cole, PPG vice president, architectural coatings, U.S. and Canada. “The new facility will continue to grow the presence of PPG in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and allow for even greater efficiency in serving our customers in the Southwest U.S. region.”

Rust-Oleum and The Home Depot announced an expanded partnership of the Varathane brand that now includes the Varathane Classic assortment of interior wood stains, polyurethanes, spar varnish, wood putty, and related products.

Sherwin-Williams announced the publication of a new magazine geared toward Latino painting professionals. “Sherwin-Williams is committed to supporting the growing Latino pro painter community through the introduction of Pintor PRO,” said Jeff Winter, vice president of residential marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “With this new publication, we look to engage directly with this important audience about the coatings and business information they care about most.”

The California Lead Paint case has reached a partial settlement with one of the three defendant parties – NL Industries. If the court accepts the settlement deal, NL will pay $60 million for disbursement to 10 cities and counties.

In 2014, the Santa Clara County Superior Court ruled that three former lead paint manufacturers — The  Sherwin-Williams Company, ConAgra Grocery Products, and NL— were liable for marketing lead paint.

In 2017, the California Court of Appeal upheld the Superior Court’s decision to hold the former lead paint manufacturers liable for creating a public nuisance in the 10 cities and counties, but limited the scope of the remedy to pre-1951 homes in the 10 cities and counties and remanded the case to the Superior Court for a hearing on the appointment of a receiver to administer the abatement fund.  The California Supreme Court declined to review the Court of Appeal’s decision.

2018 – Still in Court

Aside from the settlement, the remaining defendants are: (1) ConAgra Grocery Products Company; and (2) The Sherwin-Williams Company. The case is scheduled to go back before the trial court.

What are the highest paid occupations in construction? Spoiler alert, paint professionals have been left out. Although forgetting about us is outrageous, we can piggy back along with the carpenters for compensation comparisons.

What is the percentage of contracting outfits that are growing? Where are raw material prices headed? Which paint channel sells the most material? For those answers and more, check out the feature titled, Contractor Survey, which shares how paint professionals are doing, as well as how some manufacturers are positioned. It provides good overview of the paint and coating application industry.

Benjamin Moore showed up in the Warren Watch. A reporter spoke with BM CEO, Michael Searles, who has had a near 5 year successful run leading the company. “It’s a nice time to be here,” Searles said in an interview in Benjamin Moore’s display at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, site of the recent annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. For details, read Looking Rosy at BM.

We have an Origins of Craftsmanship column this issue, The History of SW. How many people actually started the company? Were the founders paint professionals? What did SW do during WWII? Everyone should find some nuggets of information…even paint nerds.

Umbrellas may not be the answer when it is raining work, but stay with Painting Pro Times, the source for paint professionals, to keep on top of industry information and happenings.

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Thanks for reading Painting Pro Times!

Mark Casale, Editor

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