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Wireville.com

Issue: February 2005
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces

Bisbee's Buzz

"Times are a changin'." SBC buys AT&T for 16 billion. Verizon sucks up MCI, and consolidation is in full bloom. Last year, we watched the cable manufacturers shrink as the market adjusted from the sins of the past. Copper cabling continued to dwindle compared to the glory days of a decade ago. On the other hand, fiber optic opportunities have begun to blossom. Fiber backbones and Broadband wireless are taking a real big bite out of the future market opportunities for cabling infrastructure and integrated building systems.

This year, the new NEC 2005 has strengthened the definitions and the code affecting the removal of abandoned cable (in return air plenum spaces). Local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ's) are beginning to exercise moderate levels of enforcement on this area of concern. Most enforcement activities revolve around the inspection process associated with building permits. Some BOMA members that we spoke with were concerned by the potential costs associated with compliance of this new code provision. The miles of abandoned cable left behind by generations of former tenants add up to a big bill. The cost of cable removal still hangs over the building owners.

New focus on the full safety picture is blended into the genre of automated ("smart ") building systems. These systems deliver reduced expenses, improved efficiencies, and a competitive edge for the building owners. This is the future. The future includes some common cabling infrastructure for the building and the tenants. This vision means we will have to do a much better job of designing the infrastructure to provide the services over time. A barrier of obsolescence is an embedded mandate. This is not a design area for the faint of heart. Vendors selling "buggy whip technology" will lament this new driving force in the market place. " If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

But that´s just my opinion,

Frank Bisbee
"Heard On The Street" column
www.wireville.com
Jacksonville, FL
(904) 645-9077
frank@wireville.com

2005 Came In Like A Lion -BICSI

2005 came in like a lion. The BICSI (www.bicsi.org) Winter Conference was filled with value for both the attendees and the exhibitors. I believe that this BICSI conference had the best attendance ever recorded. There were 3,275 registered attendees for the full conference and more than 2,600 attendees for the exhibition which offered more than 200 major vendors. Internally, BICSI is tightening their belt and streamlining their organization. The cost cutting steps coupled with the increased membership roles are very positive indicators for a healthy future.

At this conference, BICSI Cares collected over $28,000. The new total for all donations since BICSI Cares started in 1992 was greater than $1 million. AWESOME. BICSI does care! This year's recipient was Birth Defect Research for Children (BFDRC), a nonprofit organization that provides parents and expectant parents with information about birth defects and support services for their children.

In the past BICSI has offered some "weak" presentations in the conference program. If this conference is an indicator, then those days are over. The Keynote Speaker, Michael Treacy, was terrific and numerous other presentations were very educational and well done. If you went to BICSI to find business opportunities you were at the right place at the right time. The "Intelligent Buildings - Foundation for Success" presentation by Ron Zimmer, President of CABA (www.caba.org) was an eye opening look at the business opportunities that can be captured through integrated building systems. Remember: Smart Buildings? Well, automated buildings can have a huge impact on cost control, energy management, improved security, and a host of other valuable applications. We checked out CABA (Continental Automated Buildings Association) and joined immediately. http://www.caba.org/links/bicsi2005.html

The expanded business opportunities that have converged into a single enterprise solution have opened major new potential revenue streams. Integrated buildings, smart buildings, automated buildings, and a host of other labels all say the same thing. "Thar's gold out in them thar buildings". In addition to improved services and reduced expenses, there is more than anecdotal evidence that these converged systems have a definite impact on improved productivity of the building occupants. Early numbers on increased productivity dwarf the cost savings in other areas. The technology to automate and manage the structure or many structures over a wide area is available today. Those businesses that fail to pursue this rapidly developing trend may find themselves in a very uncomfortable competitive posture

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Want to know more about how you can capture the business opportunities associated with integrated building systems? Mark your calendars for several key conferences and exhibitions.

AFCOM: April 17-21 Las Vegas www.afcom.com

BICSI SPRING: May 2-5 Las Vegas www.bicsi.org

BOMA: June 23-28 Anaheim http://s12.a2zinc.net/clients/Boma2004/Boma2005/
REALCOMM: June 27-28 Anaheim, CA www.realcomm.com/anaheim.htm
CONNECT 2005: June 28 Anaheim www.caba.org , www.ibfconferences.com

ACUTA: July 17 - 21 Gaylord Palms - Kissimmee, FL www.acuta.org/events/annual_conference/sce05.cfm

NECA: September 18-20, 2005 New Orleans www.necashow.org/

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More on BICSI...

The BICSI Codes Committee, Chaired by Phil Janeway, had the largest turnout that anyone could recall. Donna Ballast and Bob Jensen gave excellent reports on the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) activities and recent committee voting results. The big news was from the NFPA 90A committee on air conditioning. The proposal to replace CMP plenum cable with CMP50 "limited combustible" cable was rejected. Also the committee rejected the use of the highly toxic CMP50 cable in the ducted return air facilities. There were some long faces on the vested commercial parties that were counting on slipping this potentially unsafe proposal through the system.

The BICSI Standards Committee, Chaired by T. J. Roe, had an excellent turnout as well. There was lots of discussion on the 10GIG copper cable standard that has failed to materialize. The CAT6 copper cable is an effective standard and there is ample products available that deliver CAT6 performance or greater. 10GIG copper standard remains elusive. Fiber seems to have no such problem dealing with the transmission requirements of 10,000 BASE T Ethernet. One fiber guru told us that if the market had used single mode fiber optic backbones in their base design the cost to reach these new transmission challenges would have been met at minimal costs. If we add up all the money we have spent upgrading copper during the past two decades, we could have wired the entire requirement with fiber to the desktop and still saved money.

Face it … the cost of fiber optic cable and connectors is a bargain when we consider the transmission requirements of today and tomorrow. Checkout MRV Communications, Inc. is a world-class provider of scalable network infrastructure equipment. (www.mrv.com ) We met with Carl Nelli, Sales Director of MRV. He explained some of the many applications of their fiber based network technology. Very impressive and affordable!

Several vendors hosted sidebar presentations and mini exhibitions at the BICSI venue. The Fluke Networks luncheon and presentation had more than 350 attendees. The presentation by Hugo Draye was a superb demonstration of the new and faster capabilities of the DTX CableAnalyzer™. This testing platform delivers field test results in anywhere from 3 to 5 times faster than earlier or competing technologies. For a company that uses this tester on a regular basis the payback can be four months or less. Buying the Fluke Networks DTX CableAnalyzer™ is a NO BRAINER. We got one and compared the testers in the field. The results verified the Fluke Networks presentation, and then some. Now, our techs are fighting over who gets to use the DTX CableAnalyzer™. We are more than pleased. The test results are amazingly fast, but the trouble shooting diagnostics are phenomenal and a big time value in getting the job done right. Did I mention that the testing bandwidth goes up to 900 MHz? www.flukenetworks.com

Hats off to Graybar. They did it again. Graybar hosted a mini trade show that focused on numerous offerings for the datacom world as well as security and several other integrated building systems. The Graybar VIP program premiered a new web based program for Graybar's authorized consultants. Graybar VIP Design Online ™ enables the consultant the capability to design, configure, and budget structured cabling projects with a very user-friendly point and click interface. The output results of this tool are very impressive. This is the communication industry's very first multi-vendor Web-Based project design site for structured cabling projects. We took this program on a complete test drive with a real project. Our client was blown away with the professional results and we found some unexpected cost savings. At the BICSI Graybar presentation, we had a chance to speak with Bob Weiland (Graybar) and the software developer for this amazing service. One area that seemed particularly appealing was the confidentiality of our project records. No other consultant was going to have access to our results. If you are not participating in the Graybar VIP program you are missing out. www.gbe.com/VIP/default.html

The media was out in force at BICSI. Many of the latest issues were available for the attendees. Cabling Networking Systems Magazine (www.cnsmagazine.com) had an impressive year of continually improving value-filled editions. Perry Greenbaum has written several important articles on safety and future trends. Vaios Petsis, Publisher and Paul Barker, Editor, were busy scouring the conference and the exhibition for all the news that you can use

CI&M - Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine (A Pennwell publication) was also well represented by Patrick McLaughlin, Chief Editor, and Brian Milligan, Senior Associate Editor with other members of their team. Mr. McLaughlin told us that the industry seems to be gaining momentum and the year ahead looks much brighter. (http://cim.pennnet.com/home.cfm)

Electrical Contractor Magazine (a NECA publication) had a booth in the exhibit hall. This publication is in a class by itself. (www.ecmag.com) This magazine is filled from cover to cover with an awesome array of information for the electrical contractor and the datacom manager. John Maisel, Publisher told us that the Electrical Contractor Magazine goes out to more than 85,000 readers each month. Many of the readers are NECA members (National Electrical Contractors Association) and IBEW members (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).

Don't miss the NECA 2005 Convention & EXPO that includes integrated building systems and the first ever conference on lighting education. (www.necashow.org) This convention and exposition will be held in New Orleans from September 17-20, 2005. That is well before the hurricanes come calling. This convention is a must do event. We expect to see some cutting edge technology particularly in the area of IBS (integrated building systems). By the way, energy and lighting management systems are a definite fit with the cabling and wireless infrastructure. Looking for training, check out the new expanded offerings from NJATC (National Joint Apprentice Training Committee). Ask them about their C-Star training for datacom. We interviewed Beth Ellis, Director of Exposition Sales and Sue McCart, Lighting Conference Coordinator. They shared the agenda for this powerful convention and expo. We repeat this convention is a must do event. Mark your calendars.

Cabling Business Magazine's Russell Paulov told us that their publication has also experienced a positive rebound. This publication has a new and streamlined look, plus a host of new fresh materials for the readers. (www.cablingbusiness.com)

Communication News Magazine was well represented at BICSI. Ken Anderberg, Editor, was a very busy bee, digging out the juicy facts for their readers. This publication is a major player in the crossover media between data communications and cabling infrastructure. Ken told us that we could expect to see many innovative products in the wireless world as well as continued growth in IP telephony. (www.comnews.com)

A Note to Architects, Engineers and Consultants

I recently watched a History Channel program on the building of the Sears Tower. The building is 1,450 feet and 110 stories tall. It is the second tallest building in the world and has 3.5 million square feet of office space.

The Sears Tower was completed in 1973, like yesterday to some of us, ancient history to others.

What got my attention was an interview with one of the architects involved in the design, who proudly said that although asbestos had not been proven to cause cancer at that time a decision was made not to use it because of the questions that had been raised.

Well, gentlemen and ladies, I want to take this opportunity to formally let you know that questions have been raised about the public health and safety of cables placed in return air plenums.

According to the National Electrical Code, communication cables placed in return air plenums must be rated CMP. That means that a good portion of the insulating material must be Dupont FEP or Teflon®. Recently I have been seeing articles about Teflon® frying pans killing birds, Teflon® in people, Teflon® related chemicals being toxic and most disturbingly that Teflon® insulated cables may not just produce toxic chemicals when combusted but may also "outgas" very bad chemicals as it lays aging in an return air plenum. (www.ewg.org)

Placing cables in return air plenum actually has been questioned for a long time. In the early 1970's, fire safety codes were changed. The newer NEC granted an exemption for cables placed in the return air plenum. Initially, the CMP rating (based on New York City's Local Law 5) actually called for Teflon® FEP to be used for insulation and jacketing. Since then the codes have been modified from time to time for economic (not safety) reasons.

It is certainly true that the wheels of justice turn slowly, but it is also true that where there is smoke, there is fire. I am sure that in time it will be shown that cables in return air plenums put unhealthy toxins into the indoor air systems (affecting IAQ and IEQ) that incapacitate and kill people during fire conditions.

To all involved in designing and specifying building cabling systems I have one question; "What will be your legacy?"

Arthur S Padgett Jr. ( CATZ = Cabling A to Z) www.cablingconnections.com

NAED SALES EXPECTATION SURVEY

(ST. LOUIS, MO)…Sales expectations among electrical distributors remain steady, according to the National Association of Electrical Distributors' (NAED) most recent Quarterly Sales Change Expectation (QSCE) survey results. Of the survey's 275 respondents, 84% estimated increased sales for the third quarter (July to Sept.) 2004. The outlook for the fourth quarter (Oct. to Dec.) 2004 is slightly more cautious, with 77.5% of respondents anticipating positive sales change.

Third Quarter Estimates Positive, Still Cautious
Nearly half of the respondents (48.4%) expected increases of 10% or more for the third quarter. This demonstrates tempered optimism, compared with the last QSCE survey, where 53.7% of distributor respondents estimated their sales would grow 10% or more. It's also probable that seasonal considerations could be affecting estimates. Other categories with the largest response were sales growth by 8 to 9.9% (7.3%), 5 to 5.9% (6.2%), 1 to 1.9% (5.1%) and 6 to 7.9% (4.9%).

Just fewer than 6% (5.8%) estimated flat sales for the quarter. Estimates of negative sales were conservative, with only 2.2% anticipating losses of -10% or more.

The survey was distributed in early September via fax and email to approximately 3,700 distributor locations. The questionnaire focused on sales expectations for the previous and upcoming quarter and features statistical breakouts by geographic region and number of employees.

Fourth Quarter Forecast
The outlook among distributors for the fourth quarter is positive, but conservative for the end of the year. More than three quarters of the respondents (77.5%) anticipate an increase in sales. The largest segment of respondents, 29.8%, expect continued growth of 10% or more for the upcoming quarter, slightly less than expectations for the same category on the last QSCE survey (34.5%). Other top categories were 5 to 5.9% (11.6%), 8 to 9.9% (8.0%), and 6 to 7.9% (6.5%).

Midwest Region Takes Top Spot
The Midwest led the nation in positive sales, experiencing a significant increase in sales expectations from 86.1% in the second quarter to 92.6% in the third quarter. The South and Northeast regions followed close behind with 85.5% and 82.9%, respectively. The Western region's expectations dipped in Q3 to 69.8% estimating positive sales, after displaying the top sales expectations for the past two quarters (85.9% for Q1 and 93.3% in Q2).

For the fourth quarter, the South is the most optimistic in positive sales expectations (83.1%) followed by the Midwest (79.8%), Northeast (71.4%) and West (69.8%).

Larger Companies Expect Greatest Increases
The largest companies, those with 50 or more employees, had the highest percentage reporting positive sales (91.7%) for the third quarter, followed closely by companies with 30 to 49 employees (90.9%) and 20 to 29 employees (86.8%). Smaller businesses also performed well, coming in next with 5 to 9 employees (84.7%), 1 to 4 employees (77.8%) and 10 to 19 employees (75.7%).

Expectations for increased sales continue among businesses of all sizes for the fourth quarter. Businesses with 30 to 49 employees (87.9%) were the most optimistic followed by businesses with 50+ employees (83.3%), 10 to 19 employees (78.6%), 1 to 4 employees (74.1%), 5 to 9 employees (71.2%) and 20 to 29 employees (71.1%).

The Big Picture: Steady Increases throughout 2003-04
Comparing the last six quarters, from the second quarter of 2003 through the third quarter of 2004, distributors' sales expectations have shown an increase of more than 15%.

In the second quarter of 2003, just fewer than 70% of respondents indicated an anticipation of positive sales, while the current survey shows nearly 85% of respondents estimate sales increases for the third quarter of 2004. The high point of the past year and a half is the second quarter of 2004 when nearly 90% of respondents experienced positive sales.

Furthermore, respondents' expectations have been on an upswing throughout the entire QSCE history. The top sales expectation category, where respondents expected an increase of 10% or more, has seen the largest change. In the second quarter of 2003, 26.0% of respondents estimated that their sales would increase by 10% or more; by the third quarter of 2004, those estimates had nearly doubled to 48.4%.

Participation Matters
QSCE is a management tool provided by NAED to its members and affiliates at no additional cost. It supplies detailed information to help NAED members run their businesses more effectively.

Member participation is crucial to the success of this survey. To participate in the next survey, go to http://forms.ncsi.net or watch for notification by fax or email in early January. Past reports are available under the "research" section of www.naed.org.

NECA Commissioning Standard Breaks New Ground

The National Electrical Contractors Association has released NECA 90-2004; a document that contains recommended practices for commissioning building electrical systems.

According to Brooke Stauffer, the organization's executive director of standards and safety, it represents a new direction for the construction standards program.

"We've published standards on how to install lighting and switchboards and transformers and cables and raceways, and so on," he said.

"But NECA 90 takes a broad 'horizontal' perspective across the entire electrical installation. It defines the process of commissioning building systems and provides guidelines for attaining optimum system performance that conforms to the designer's intent as represented by the plans, specifications, and industry codes and standards."

NECA 90-2004 is the 27th volume of the National Electrical Installation Standards series.

The new standard is priced at US$15 for NECA-members with quantity discounts available. www.necanet.org

DIRAK's E-LINE System Offers The Ability To Control And Monitor Access To Cabinets In Data Centers

CHANTILLY, VA-IT data center managers and security officers can expect to control physical access to their data center cabinets at a higher level than ever before, and monitor the process better, too, with the E-LINE System.

E-LINE is based on the DIRAK Swinghandle, a proven and reliable mechanical latching design with a track record over years of application in data centers. The E-LINE System combines the Swinghandle with software for controlling and monitoring access with a high degree of flexibility and endless history.

DIRAK's E-LINE System's software is the user portal for control of the E-LINE swinghandles. The software presents monitoring information from numerous viewpoints, and features several control mechanism options for control-secured areas.

E-LINE benefits the personnel responsible for the security of data centers with these capabilities:

Central Control - Security personnel control access to all cabinets from a central point.

Remote Monitoring - The security office or management can control and monitor access without physically being in the data center.

Immediate Change - Access to individual or groups of cabinets can be granted or removed "on-line."

Endless History - All attempts at access, whether successful or not, are kept in the system forever.

Assignment Flexibility - Access can be granted in a variety of ways (e.g., by time, groups, job, cabinet).

Scalability - Data Center personnel can add functionality, users, and enclosures without the cost of replacing costly hardware or software.

The ability to control and monitor cabinets in data centers has never had as many options as it does with the E-LINE System.

Visit DIRAK at the 2005 BICSI Winter Conference at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, in Orlando, Florida, January 23 to 26, for a live demonstration of E-LINE capabilities.

For additional information, contact DIRAK, Inc., 4115 Pleasant Valley Road, Suite 200, Chantilly, VA 20151. Tel: 703-378-7637. Fax: 703-378-7638. www.dirak.com

EPA charges DuPont hid Teflon's risks

By Michael Hawthorne Tribune staff reporter

More than 50 years after DuPont started producing Teflon near this Ohio River town, federal officials are accusing the company of hiding information suggesting that a chemical used to make the popular stick- and stain-resistant coating might cause cancer, birth defects and other ailments.

Environmental regulators are particularly alarmed because scientists are finding perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, in the blood of people worldwide, and it takes years for the chemical to leave the body. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) reported last week that exposure even to low levels of PFOA could be harmful.

With virtually no government oversight, PFOA has been used since the early 1950s in the manufacture of non-stick cookware, rain-repellent clothing and hundreds of other products. The EPA says at this point there is no reason for consumers to stop using those items. But so many unresolved questions remain about PFOA that the agency is asking an outside panel of experts to assess the risks.

"The fact that a chemical with those non-stick properties nonetheless accumulates in people was not expected," said Charles Auer, director of the EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics.

Critics say the lack of knowledge about PFOA and related chemicals--called perfluorinated compounds--exposes a system where environmental regulators largely rely on companies that profit from industrial chemicals to sound alarms about their safety. Questions about potential effects on human health and the environment often aren't raised until years after a chemical is introduced to the marketplace.

The long and mostly secret history of PFOA began to unravel down the road from DuPont's Teflon plant in a West Virginia courtroom, where a Parkersburg family began asking questions in the late 1990s about a mysterious wasting disease killing their cattle.

Jim and Della Tennant suspected the culprit might lurk in a froth-covered creek that meandered past a DuPont landfill near the Teflon plant before spilling into their pasture. Their lawsuit ended with a monetary settlement that avoided assigning blame for the dead cows, but the legal battle uncovered a trove of industry documents about PFOA.

One document detailed how DuPont scientists started warning company executives to avoid human contact with PFOA as early as 1961. Industry tests later determined the chemical accumulates in the body, doesn't break down in the environment and causes ailments in animals, including cancer, liver damage and birth defects.

Recent studies have found that PFOA levels in some children are in the range of those that caused developmental problems in rats.

"We're not very popular with some of the folks over at the plant," said Della Tennant, who lives in a subdivision known as DuPont Manor, a sign of the firm's importance in this corner of Appalachia. "But I don't know how you could sleep at night not telling people about this contamination."

If found guilty of illegally withholding information by an administrative law judge, DuPont could face more than $300 million in fines--about $100 million more than the company is estimated to make each year from products manufactured with PFOA.

DuPont already has agreed to pay up to $345 million to settle another lawsuit filed on behalf of 60,000 West Virginians and Ohioans whose drinking water is contaminated with PFOA. Much of what the public is starting to learn about the chemical comes from industry documents submitted during court proceedings.

Those documents also prompted the EPA's ongoing review of health risks, which could lead to rules that limit or phase out the use of PFOA.

Company's responsibility

Company officials say they share the government's concerns about the presence of PFOA in human blood but contend that they did nothing wrong and that the chemical affects animals differently than people.

"DuPont remains confident that based on over 50 years of use and experience with PFOA there is no evidence to indicate that it harms human health or the environment," company spokesman R. Clifton Webb said.

The company's Teflon plant--a sprawling complex of towers, smokestacks and metal buildings--rises above the flood plain in a sharp bend of the Ohio River. The area has become something of a makeshift laboratory as scientists scramble to learn more about chemicals behind world-famous brand names such as Teflon, Stainmaster and Gore-Tex.

Since 1976, federal law has required companies to disclose what they know about any risks posed by toxic chemicals. The EPA says independent efforts to figure out how people are exposed to PFOA and what it might do to them should have started by the early 1980s, when DuPont discovered an employee had passed the chemical to her fetus.

Among other things, the EPA accuses DuPont of failing to notify the agency when two of five babies born to plant employees in 1981 had eye and face defects similar to those found in newborn rats exposed to PFOA.

DuPont also has known since at least 1984 that water wells in West Virginia and Ohio were contaminated with PFOA, according to company records. But people who rely on the wells for drinking water didn't find out until 2002, when internal DuPont documents started pouring into court.

"Someone made a conscious decision to expose us to this without telling us," said Robert Griffin, general manager of the Little Hocking Water Association, which supplies drinking water to 12,000 Ohio customers from wells across the river from the Teflon plant.

"If you wanted people to be lab rats for such a long period, nobody would ever allow it," Griffin said.

Company lawyers contend DuPont wasn't obligated to share the information because PFOA doesn't meet the legal definition of a toxic chemical that poses a "substantial risk."

DuPont documents, though, show company officials were worried the public would learn that PFOA had contaminated local water supplies. One benefit of settling the lawsuit over the Tennant family's dead cattle, company attorneys advised in an internal e-mail, would be preventing the release of information about PFOA in the water.

"Biggest potential downside: plant contamination issues surface, case becomes class action," DuPont attorney Bernard Reilly concluded in a March 2000 e-mail outlining tradeoffs if the company chose to fight the Tenants in court.

DuPont says it has reduced air and water emissions of PFOA by 90 percent at the Teflon plant. Yet levels of the chemical in water wells on the Ohio side of the river are the highest recorded to date, according to tests last fall.

"Drinking water data in possession of DuPont `reasonably supports the conclusion' that PFOA `presents a substantial risk of injury to health,'" the EPA wrote in an October filing.

Scientists are just now starting to learn how much of the chemical is in people's blood and how far it has traveled from the handful of sites where PFOA is manufactured or used--information that highlights new challenges for scientists and regulators.

Substances added to food are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) and must undergo rigorous testing before their use. But critics say that with industrial chemicals, the EPA is limited by laws that make it difficult to order testing.

The agency reported in 1998 that it had no toxicity data or "safe level" for 43 percent of the 2,800 chemicals produced in volumes of 1 million pounds a year or more.

"It borders on the ridiculous," said Tim Kropp, a senior scientist with the non-profit Environmental Working Group, which has helped draw the EPA's attention to PFOA and other compounds. "There is no way consumers can be knowledgeable about all of these chemicals. That's why we need the government to ensure they are safe."

EPA case evolves

The EPA's case against DuPont gradually has evolved over four years as industry concerns about PFOA came to light.

Agency officials initially were worried about a related perfluorinated chemical in Scotchguard, the stain-resistant coating pioneered by 3M. Regulators started focusing on PFOA after the EPA pressured 3M in 2000 to stop making the compounds, prompted by research that found the chemicals in human blood and in foods such as apples, bread, green beans and ground beef.

3M had been the chief supplier of PFOA to DuPont, which now makes the chemical at a plant in North Carolina.

DuPont announced last week that a new study of more than 1,000 workers at the Teflon plant found virtually no health effects from exposure to PFOA. Some workers were found to have higher-than-expected cholesterol levels.

Tests on lab animals have found links to illnesses including liver and testicular cancer, reduced weight of newborns and immune-system suppression. The findings concern EPA officials because rats flush the chemical out of their bodies within days, while PFOA stays in human blood for at least four years.

As a result, the EPA says, the potential for human health effects cannot be ruled out.

"Low-level exposure to people over time produces blood concentrations that may be of concern," Auer said. "As time goes on and the opportunity for exposure continues, those blood concentrations could move to even higher levels."

Scientists still aren't sure how PFOA is spreading around the planet. Although DuPont says the manufacturing process leaves only trace amounts of the chemical in non-stick cookware and other goods, some researchers think that as Teflon products age they release chemicals that then break down into PFOA.

The compound also is released into air and water during manufacturing. Studies that have found PFOA in salmon in the Great Lakes, polar bears in the Arctic and dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea suggest the chemical travels easily through the atmosphere.

Another theory the EPA and academic researchers are testing is that other perfluorinated chemicals, known as telomers, break down to PFOA. Made by DuPont and other companies, telomers are used in stain- and grease-repellent coatings for carpets, clothing and fast-food packaging.

Researchers studying PFOA levels in the Great Lakes think that when carpets and clothing treated with telomers are cleaned, some of the chemicals wash into sewage treatment plants that are not equipped to remove them before wastewater is dumped into lakes and rivers. Landfill runoff could be another source.

Last spring, former DuPont chemist Glenn Evers told a lawyer for people living near the DuPont plant that the chemicals can be absorbed from french fry boxes, microwave popcorn bags and hamburger wrappers, among other items, according to a partial transcript filed by the EPA. The company responded by describing Evers as a disgruntled former employee with little direct knowledge of PFOA.

Reactions in community

In Parkersburg, some are reluctant to question one of the community's leading benefactors, even after the PFOA contamination became public. With more than 2,000 employees, the Teflon plant is the largest manufacturer in a valley lined with plastics factories and refineries, a hub of economic strength in a region plagued by chronic unemployment.

"We're not ignoring it, but you've got to look at all the good things they do," said George Kellenberger, president of the Mid-Ohio Valley Chamber of Commerce (news - web sites).

But others drawn to the area by the promise of a good job and the rolling, pine-covered hills aren't so sure.

By the time Matt and Melinda McDowell built their dream home a few miles north of the Teflon plant, DuPont had known for more than a decade that the local water supply was contaminated with PFOA.

Like thousands of others in the valley, the McDowells recently received a letter informing them that DuPont promises to install treatment equipment for six area water systems under terms of the recent legal settlement.

But they worry about their two sons, ages 8 and 12, who have drunk and breathed PFOA for most of their lives.

"We are subjecting our children and ourselves to a giant science experiment," Matt McDowell said. "We don't know what it's doing to us. But the bottom line is it doesn't belong in drinking water and it definitely doesn't belong in our bodies."

www.epa.gov

YOFC LEADS INDUSTRY WITH LOW ATTENUATION MULTIMODE FIBER

BICSI, 2005 WINTER CONFERENCE, ORLANDO, Jan. 24, 2005- Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Company, Ltd. (YOFC), manufacturer and worldwide supplier of industry leading optical fiber and cable, today announced further improvements in the attenuation performance of its multimode fiber product line. The new maximum attenuation specification of 62.5 multimode fiber is reduced to 2.65 dB/km at 850 nm and .60 dB/km at 300 nm. For 50-micron multimode fiber, the new attenuation specification is 2.25 dB/km at 850 nm and .60 dB/km at 1300 nm.

YOFC's low attenuation multimode fiber offers cable manufacturers improved margin and flexibility in their manufacturing process. In addition, network designers and installers will realize greater value in YOFC's low attenuation multimode fibers as they result in longer link lengths and greater loss margins. This is particularly important in 1 and 10 GbE networks where the fiber attenuation, not bandwidth, can limit design flexibility and system performance.

The new specifications represent the industry's lowest attenuation for multimode fiber. YOFC uses the Plasma Chemical Vapor Deposition (PCVD) manufacturing process originally developed by Philips of the Netherlands. The PCVD process is widely recognized in the industry as the most effective process for making complex index profile optical fibers such as multimode and low water peak single mode fiber. Multimode fiber manufactured with the PCVD offers superior optical properties and uniformity compared to other manufacturing processes.

Due to the precise control of the glass deposition in the core of the fiber, the distribution of attenuation values is very tight. The typical attenuation values for 50 micron multimode fiber are <2.20 dB/km at 850 nm and <.50 dB/km at 1300 nm. www.changfei.com

Graybar Releases Graybar VIP Design OnlineSM

The First Web-based Multi-Vendor Structured Cabling Design and Budgeting Tool for Consultants

Tool anticipated providing a 25 percent or greater increase in productivity with fewer errors

ST. LOUIS, January 21, 2005 - Graybar, a leading North American distributor of electrical and telecommunications service solutions and products and related supply chain management and logistics services, today announced its release of the industry's first multi-vendor Web-based design and budgeting tool for complex structured cabling projects - Graybar VIP Design OnlineSM. Live demonstrations were held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 24, in Sun Ballroom Meeting Rooms 1, 2 and 3 at the Graybar Technology Showcase, part of the Winter BICSI Conference at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Conference Center in Orlando, Fla. Attendees viewed demonstrations Jan. 23-26 at Graybar Booth 305 in the Exhibit Hall. Information on Graybar VIP Design Online is also available at www.graybar.com/vip.

Design Online's simple point-and-click interface provides Graybar's authorized consultants with the ability to save at least 25 percent, if not more, on the time it takes to design, configure and budget structured cabling projects while reducing errors. For the first time within a Web-based design and budgeting tool, consultants will have access to a centralized repository of more than 8,000 data communications products and their prices. Included in the database are 15 interoperable cabling and connectivity product lines proven to exceed industry standards by the Graybar Verified Independently for Performance testing program. Consultants have the ability to manage multiple projects through the interface.

Consultants estimate saving 25 percent or more on design time by:

1) Reducing the time-to-assemble material lists for a complex project by using ready-made templates and by eliminating the tedious clerical work of copying and pasting data into spreadsheets;

2) Avoiding configuration errors with built-in goof-proof configuration rules;

3) Eliminating tedious phone, e-mail and fax communication by automatically generating budgets; and

4) Generating a robust, fully configured product graphic "on the fly" to give customers early visibility of a design.

Design Online weaves together up-to-date and intelligent content on data communications products with their proper configurations - without overwhelming consultants. It was developed leveraging the eXalt Solutions software platform. Graybar selected eXalt Solutions because of its unique capabilities in building solution designs with technical products and dynamically creating complex bills of material, graphics, budgets and reports.

"The eXalt offering is truly unique - we have not seen any other software suited for the needs of our consultant partners. With Design Online, a consultant can assemble a VIP design in a fraction of the time with more accuracy than using conventional methods. We are excited to offer this leading-edge technology while extending VIP's leadership position," explained Graybar Commercial Market Manager Bob Weiland.

"Design Online was a perfect fit for our software platform," stated eXalt Solutions President Leslie Swanson. Consultants can focus on what they do best - design - while removing the unnecessary clerical spreadsheet entry and phone work in the budgeting process to dramatically shorten project design times."

Added consultant Mike Keeling, President of Data Site Consortium, Inc., "Having reviewed the Beta version of Design Online, I am looking forward to using its capabilities to respond better and quicker to my clients' cabling and connectivity needs. The site is intuitive to use, and its ability to save all related project information makes it truly an effective tool."

About Graybar
Graybar, a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America, is a leader in the distribution of high quality electrical, telecommunications and networking products, and an expert provider of related supply chain management and logistics services. Through its network of 250 North American distribution facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands of manufacturers, serving as the vital link to hundreds of thousands of customers. For more information, visit www.graybar.com or call 1-800-GRAYBAR.

About eXalt Solutions, Inc.
eXalt Solutions, Inc., develops, manufactures and markets the "Next Generation" of Sales and Support Chain software to help manufacturers of complex products increase sales and profitability. The company offers a suite of software tools to help both suppliers and sales chain partners select, sell, configure, design in, collaborate and order products. eXalt Solutions is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, visit www.exaltsolutions.com or call 617-491-4549.

NEW S&V SPECIFICATION POSTED ON NEBB WEBSITE

Gaithersburg, MD. The National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB) Sound & Vibration Committee recently completed a new, suggested, long-form sound and vibration (S&V) specification which may be viewed and/or copied from the NEBB website at http://www.nebb.org/svspec.htm. NEBB certifies firms which meet stringent requirements to provide S&V measurement services, and NEBB also publishes standards and specifications to perform the work.

The new NEBB S&V specification is consistent with industry formats, such as the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and MasterSpec® and is a fully comprehensive, state-of-the-art specification with a well defined scope and necessary details to produce desired results. For example, the sections on S&V measurement include step-by-step procedures to ensure clarity of tasks and uniformity of outcomes.

NEBB is making the specification available on its website and encourages the design community to insert it into their company's standard specification or tailor a version of the document to reflect their company's requirements. While the NEBB S&V specification is meant to be a stand alone section, if a design firm wanted to include S&V measurement as part of the overall testing, adjusting, balancing (TAB) work, the NEBB S&V specification may be easily inserted in the body of the NEBB TAB specification or any existing design firm's standard specification. www.nebb.org

Contact NEBB Technical Director Andy Nolfo at andy@nebb.org or 623-546-7893 for more information about the specification.

Fluke Networks Introduces Cabling Bandwidth Tester

The first cabling bandwidth tester for network technicians helps close trouble tickets 30% faster, insures easy upgrades to higher network speeds.

New CableIQ Qualification Tester quickly determines if an existing cabling link can support the bandwidth requirements of the network

EVERETT, Washington - Fluke Networks today announced the availability of the new CableIQ Qualification Tester, the first cabling bandwidth tester for network technicians. This intuitive handheld tool shows network technicians what speeds existing cabling can support and helps those technicians quickly solve network connectivity problems.

Qualification is a new category of testers in the industry that meets the emerging needs of network technicians. In contrast to certification testers, which guarantee cabling installations comply to TIA/ISO performance standards, and verification testers, which test if the cable is connected correctly, qualification testers determine if an existing cabling link can support certain network speeds and technologies.

CableIQ's qualification test helps techs troubleshoot connectivity problems, deploy new technologies like VoIP and upgrade to network to higher speeds. The qualification test determines if existing cabling can support 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, VoIP, and Gigabit Ethernet. Its unique ability to see cabling bandwidth, coupled with device speed and duplex detection, allows techs to isolate bandwidth-related cabling problems from network problems. When problems are determined to be cabling related, technicians can use CableIQ's diagnostics to locate performance faults. The result is faster problem resolution, fewer escalated trouble tickets and seamless upgrades to higher network speeds.

Besides allowing techs to see cabling bandwidth, CableIQ also identifies what is at the far end of any cabling link with infrastructure discovery. This allows the technician to see whether the port is connected to a switch, a PC, an analog phone line or an open cable, as well as verify device speed and duplex settings. Technicians can use the discovery mode to quickly map out their cabling infrastructures, verify moves, adds and changes, and improve switch utilization by freeing up and redeploying unused ports. All these tests can be done while the network is live.

"The ability to troubleshoot an active port is a timesaver - reducing the total time needed for problem resolution," says Dave Bowling, IT manager for State Farm Insurance in Chicago, Illinois. The benefits come with very little training. "I handed the unit to our maintenance folks; they turned the unit on and began testing within two minutes of reviewing the various selections available."

CableIQ's intelligent wiremap graphically maps the cable's wiring configuration and shows the distance to opens and shorts to isolate faults easier. CableIQ will show not just that the 1-2 pair is open, but will show which wire is open, and at what distance from the tester. In addition, CableIQ's remote ID accessories show the user, simultaneously, both the office location and the wiremap to that office.

The tester uses IntelliTone digital signaling technology to precisely locate cables on both passive and active networks in even the most chaotic wiring closet. CableIQ generates both digital and analog tones for use with Fluke Networks' IntelliTone Probe. Intelligent wiremap provides more useful information than other wiremap methods.

The CableIQ Qualification Tester is available for immediate delivery. www.flukenetworks.com

Graybar VIP Design Online Fact Sheet

Graybar's authorized consultants will achieve unprecedented improvements in productivity and accuracy when creating designs and budgets using these system benefits:

One-Stop Shopping Provides Up-to-Date, Multi-Vendor Structured Cabling Product Data: For the first time, consultants can access multi-vendor structured cabling solutions and pricing in one convenient location. Gone is the time-consuming process of searching multiple Web sites and catalogs. The Web-based configurator houses the most current data on Graybar VIP cabling and connectivity products. Included are racks and cabinets for structured cabling design, budget and bill of material creation "on the fly."

Self-Service Environment Enhances Productivity and Customer Confidentiality: Rather than wasting time calling, faxing and e-mailing distributors and contractors, consultants can access pricing and product information online without delay. This also helps keep projects under wraps.

Templates Streamline Bill of Material Development: Consultants can choose from hundreds of ready-made templates to build material lists. Using templates is faster and more accurate than copying and pasting data into spreadsheets.

Online Visual Dramatically Accelerates Approval Process: With the dynamic graphic interface, consultants can show clients their design earlier and online. This may shorten the typical project timeframe from start to finish by more than 50 percent.

Design and Budget Updates Happen Instantaneously During Client Collaboration: As consultants design, the system generates a bill of material and budget reports at the same time. Updates happen instantly during project design sessions with clients.

"Goof-proof" Configurator Eliminates Design and Budget Errors: Now it is virtually impossible for consultants to "design in" mistakes. Budget-based rules monitor rack-space consumption and faceplate port allocation to ensure more accurate designs and budgets.

Powerful Search with Rich Repository of Product Content and Reference Materials: Consultants can find the right part quickly without having to navigate through dozens of screens of useless data. Powerful parametric search capabilities make it possible. Drawings and reference materials are available in an instant. www.graybar.com

Solutions Announces New Line of Equipment

RICHARDSON, Texas, SYSTIMAX® Solutions, the worldwide leader in structured connectivity solutions and services for businesses, announced that its new line of equipment frame systems designed to house, manage, and secure data and telecommunications equipment will be available through SYSTIMAX Solutions(TM) distribution channels beginning February 14, 2005. The new line is intended to expand the SYSTIMAX Solutions portfolio to include a more comprehensive product line that will meet the needs of customers who manage telecommunications, enterprise network and data center functions. This product offer will also strengthen SYSTIMAX Solutions' ability to meet virtually all the structured cabling needs of end-users through their broad portfolio of products.

"As networks continue to expand, more robust cable pathways are expected to become a higher priority for telecommunication providers," said Sandra Young, Vice President Global Marketing, Enterprise Solutions. "As a result, we are confident that the demand for structured and robust infrastructure to support and manage thousands of cable pathways will continue to increase. We believe this new line of SYSTIMAX products offers a comprehensive solution to customers for their current and future storage and organization needs."

The line includes:

- Standard open rack system
- Wall-mount racks and accessories
- Rack shelves
- Rack and cabinet horizontal cable managers
- Rack and cabinet vertical cable managers
- Cable runway and runway accessories
- Steel and aluminum cabinets and cabinet accessories (four-post platforms)

"We understand that nearly every network is configured differently, and these storage and organization solutions enable SYSTIMAX Solutions customers to build their own systems based on individual requirements," continued Young. "With this SYSTIMAX line having nearly unlimited combinations, these customer systems have the flexibility to meet nearly every conceivable standard network size and configuration." www.systimax.com

YOFC Appoints Sales, Marketing and Technical Talent in North America

Wuhan, China, JANUARY 24, 2005- Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Company, Ltd. (YOFC) manufacturer and worldwide supplier of industry-leading optical fiber and cable, today announced the establishment of it's North American Sales, Marketing and Technical Operations Team: Mr. Crawford Cutts, formerly VP, Business Development at SpecTran Corporation and Director, Strategic Accounts at Juniper Networks; and Mr. Bill Beck, formerly President of SpecTran Specialty Optics and co-founder and CEO of Verrillon. YOFC appointed Cutts and Beck exclusive sales agents for North America.

"Bill and I are very pleased to be representing YOFC in North America for the sale of single mode, multimode fiber and specialty fiber designs", Cutts said. "The Plasma Chemical Vapor Deposition (PCVD) technology used by YOFC is widely recognized in the industry as the most effective process for the precise manufacturing of complex index profile optical fibers such as 10 GbEthernet 50 micron multimode, low water-peak single mode and new specialty designs. FC has been supplying this high quality fiber to customers in the US continuously for over 10 years."

"Crawford will focus on multimode and single mode fiber for traditional communications applications; I will focus on supporting customers requiring specialty designs", Beck said.

Yan Changkun, Sales Director of YOFC noted, "Crawford and Bill have many years of experience in this industry and can quickly establish a strong position for YOFC in the North American market. They have a comprehensive understanding of fiber optic technology and applications. Their strong relationships with the customer base make them a perfect fit for our customer-focused organization."

Cutts was Vice President of Business Development at SpecTran Corporation from 1990 to 1996. He assumed the position of President of General Photonics, a SpecTran and General Cable joint venture manufacturing optical cable, until SpecTran was sold to Lucent in 1999. From 2000 to 2003, Mr. Cutts was Director, Strategic Accounts at Juniper Networks.

Beck began his career in fiber optics in 1981. He was a pioneer in the development of specialty fiber applications as President of Ensign-Bickford Optics, SpecTran Specialty Optics and most recently as co-founder and CEO of Verrillon. He has been consulting in fiber optics, sensors and lasers for the past two years and is Secretary of the New England Fiberoptics Council.

About YOFC
Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Company, Ltd. (YOFC) was established in 1988 by Philips of the Netherlands and China's Ministry of Post and Telecommunications. Today, YOFC is the largest supplier of optical fiber and cable to the Chinese market and exports its products to the United States and several countries in the Americas, Europe and the Far East. Located in China's "Optical Valley" in Wuhan, YOFC operates the world's second largest optical fiber manufacturing facility using the patented and proprietary Plasma Chemical Vapor Deposition process. The PCVD process is widely recognized as the industry's most effective process for the precise manufacturing of complex index profile fibers such as high bandwidth multimode, dispersion controlled or low water peak single mode and other special designs: www.changfei.com

Brady Corp. Offers New Service

MILWAUKEE - (January 27, 2005) -Brady Corporation (NYSE:BRC) offers a new service to assist companies in reducing the amount of time needed to implement a thorough, OSHA-compliant Lockout/Tagout program. OSHA CFR 1910.147 requires companies to maintain a list of all equipment that needs to be locked out, as well as develop and maintain specific lockout procedures for each of those pieces of equipment. Brady's On-Site Graphical Lockout Procedure Services provide a fast, effective and complete solution for companies to quickly and economically comply with the standard.

With this service, Brady's professional engineers first conduct an on-site facility audit, performing a Zero Energy State Assessment for each piece of equipment requiring a lockout procedure. Their hands-on testing determines what steps are needed to bring each piece of equipment to a state of zero energy.

The engineers then develop Graphical Lockout Procedures. Using the latest hand-held electronic tools and digital technology, Brady's engineers quickly create effective and easy-to-understand lockout procedures for the equipment, with the energy source easily depicted with graphics and text to support the overall procedure.

Brady crews then strategically install the graphical procedures at the optimal location on the equipment, ensuring maximum operator usability and safety.

Brady crews also create and install color-coded energy source tags at each lockout point to safely and quickly direct authorized employees to the correct energy source.

Having installed over 15,000 graphical lockout procedures, Brady has been able to demonstrate significant cost savings to companies in recovering valuable production time. The time is recouped when operators follow the graphical lockout procedures to safely, quickly and consistently lockout their equipment.

For more information and a full-color laminated Lockout Procedure sample, call 1-800-496-4040, or visit www.bradycorp.com.

Fluke Networks announces Tester Meets UL Standards

EVERETT, Washington - Fluke Networks today announced the accuracy specifications for its DTX Series have been confirmed by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL). This confirmation offers network owners the peace of mind that Fluke Networks´ CableAnalyzer meets UL's stringent accuracy standards.

According to Hugo Draye, Marketing Manager - Certification, Fluke Networks, "It is important to note that Fluke Networks´ DTX CableAnalyzer is the first and only cable tester to receive UL confirmation for compliance with the latest standards. This UL confirmation delivers assurance to the network owners that their installed cabling links meet or exceed the requirements spelled out in the latest industry standards. To the installation contractor, tester accuracy, as validated for the DTX by UL, saves time and money, because the specification levels for high-performance cabling installation allow fewer margins for error. Certifying with the DTX means no false 'pass' results and no false 'fail' results."

Fluke Networks' DTX Series was awarded the UL Classification in accordance with the IEC- 61935-1 specifications for Accuracy Level IV and in accordance with the specifications proposed in TIA-TSB-155 for Accuracy Level IIIe. Accuracy Level IIIe will be required to test Cat 6 cabling for 10 Gigabit Ethernet deployments. For baseline and permanent link specifications, a level IV tester must exhibit a worst-case value for residual NEXT at 100 MHz that is 18 times smaller than the value allowed to meet Accuracy Level III. The DTX Series CableAnalyzer passed all requirements for the baseline tester, as well as for the permanent link and channel measurement configurations. UL's testing process includes the random selection of sample cable testers for evaluation from the finished goods inventory at Fluke Networks. This ensures that no tester was specially modified prior to testing.

For more information www.flukenetworks.com

General Cable fourth-quarter earnings turn to profit

LOS ANGELES, Feb 1 (Reuters) - General Cable Corp. (BGC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , a maker of aluminum, copper and fiber-optic wire for communications, on Tuesday said it had a profit in the fourth quarter, up from a year-ago loss, on higher sales and streamlining of its manufacturing facilities.

The Highland Heights, Kentucky, company said it earned $3.3 million, or 8 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, compared with a net loss of $10.6 million, or 30 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. www.generalcable.com

Does Your Tap Water Contain Teflon Chemicals?

Feb. 2, 2005, EWG writes to health officials in five states where chemical companies use Teflon chemicals to ask: please test your water. Florida, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania could find that like Georgia, Minnesota, Ohio and West Virginia, they've also got a Teflon pollution problem to deal with.

Read Letter | What's Wrong With Teflon? | Chicago Tribune story

The industrial facilities that use the Teflon chemical are located in Aston PA (Dyneon), Gainesville, FL (Clariant), Orangeburg, NY (Daikin), Decatur, AL (Daikin), Bayonne, NJ (Asahi), and Thorndale, PA (Asahi).

Dear Deputy Secretary Myers:

According to recent media reports, water utilities located near industrial facilities that use the Teflon chemical PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid, also called C8) have found the chemical in their water supplies and treated tap water. As you may know, PFOA is a breakdown product of stain- and grease-resistant coatings used since the 1950s in a wide range of consumer products, including furniture, food packaging, and carpet. In a preliminary survey the Environmental Working Group (EWG) identified the following manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania that use PFOA or related perfluorochemicals in their operations: Dyneon (Aston) and Asahi Glass (Thorndale). Because PFOA has been found in tap water from other communities near industrial operations, and because of its unique toxicity and persistence, we urge you to conduct a survey to determine levels of PFOA in tap water - if you have not done so already - from these at-risk communities and others in the state that you identify as sites of industrial perfluorochemical use.

EWG has been studying the toxicity, prevalence, and unique environmental persistence of the Teflon chemical for four years. The chemical is now the subject of a federal investigation and three class-action lawsuits, one in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, and two in Decatur, Alabama. In September 2004 Teflon maker DuPont settled another class-action lawsuit regarding tap water supplies polluted by PFOA that could cost the company as much as $340 million. 3M- and DuPont-sponsored studies have identified the Teflon chemical in treated tap water in West Virginia and Ohio near DuPont's Parkersburg, West Virginia, Teflon plant; in St. Paul, Minnesota, near 3M's former PFOA manufacturing location; and in Columbus, Georgia, where secondary manufacturers use the chemical. Scientists have also detected PFOA in surface water from the Great Lakes and the Mobile River in Mobile, Alabama (Goulanger et al. 2004, 3M 2001).

The Teflon chemical is a breakdown product of coatings on countless consumer products we use every day, such as non-stick cookware, clothing, carpeting and other textiles, cleaning products, and fast-food packaging such as french-fry and pizza boxes. It is in the blood of over 95% of Americans, never breaks down in our bodies or in the environment, and has been linked to serious health risks, including cancer, developmental problems and high cholesterol, a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is suing DuPont for suppressing findings of a 1981 study that found the Teflon chemical PFOA in the blood of seven of eight pregnant workers tested in its Teflon plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Two of those seven women gave birth to babies with birth defects. In a separate investigation that could result in a limit or ban of this Teflon chemical, the EPA is trying to learn how this chemical has gotten into the blood of over 95% of Americans.

The potential risks posed by the toxic, indestructible Teflon chemical have been covered in national and regional media for the past two years, including stories from ABC's "20/20," The New York Times and USA Today. These and other relevant news stories are available at www.ewg.org/news/eclips.php?reportid=138,127,140,161,174. You can also find more information on EWG's four-year study of the Teflon chemical at www.ewg.org/issues/PFCs/index.html.

We urge you to test for the Teflon chemical in tap water at risk from industrial pollution in your state, and inform the public of the results. Given what is known about the toxicity of Teflon, and the ongoing federal review aimed at defining and reducing exposures, even low levels of the Teflon chemical in tap water are a concern. We appreciate your prompt attention to our request for confirmation of your study, and look forward to reviewing your findings.

Sincerely,

Timothy Kropp
Senior Scientist, Environmental Working Group

Boulanger B, Vargo J, Schnoor JL, Hornbuckle KC. 2004. Detection of perfluorooctane surfactants in Great Lakes water. Environ Sci Technol. 38, 4064-70.

3M. 2001. Executive Summary: Environmental monitoring - multi-city study water, sludge, sediment, POTW effluent and landfill leachate samples. U.S. EPA Administrative Record AR226-1030a111.

Recipient List
Copies of this letter were sent to:

Florida Department of Environmental Protection
www.dep.state.fl.us

Colleen M. Castille, Secretary
Department of Environmental Protection

Mimi Drew, Director, Water Resource Management
Department of Environmental Protection
850-245-8336

Alabama Department of Environmental Management
www.adem.state.al.us

Onis "Trey" Glenn III, Director
ADEM

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
www.state.nj.us/dep/

Bradley M. Campbell, Commissioner
NJDEP

Samuel A. Wolfe, Assistant Commissioner, Environmental Regulation
NJDEP

New York State Department of Health
www.health.state.ny.us

Antonia C. Novello, Commissioner
NYSDOH

Pennsyvlania Department of Environmental Protection
www.dep.state.pa.us

Kathleen A. McGinty, Secretary
PDEP

Cathy Myers, Deputy Secretary for Water Management
PDEP

Getting Down to the Wire

LIGHTS, COMPUTERS, PHONE SYSTEMS--THE WIRES THAT POWER OUR BUILDINGS ARE MADE OF A TANGLE OF MATERIALS THAT RAISE ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH QUESTIONS.


Architectural Record
SECTION: Architectural Technology; Feature; Pg. 222 Vol. 192 No. 12
December 1, 2004
http://archrecord.construction.com/features/digital/archives/0412feature-4.asp

By Alex Wilson

Alex Wilson, the president of BuildingGreen and the executive editor of Environmental Building News*, has written about energy-efficient and environmentally responsible design and construction for more than 20 years. www.BuildingGreen.com

Environmental Building News* is a top notch subscriber paid publication that takles the tough issues and prepares the readers for the challenges of the future.

###

Even the greenest of architects seldom give much consideration to wiring in buildings. How significant can wiring be? It's just a small fraction of what's installed compared to other building materials-and don't fire codes more or less dictate what can be used? But some sleuthing about how wiring is made and used in buildings sheds light on a highly complex issue and points up a need to pay closer attention to today's practices, from environmental, health, and safety standpoints.

All modern buildings, of course, require wires and cables for power distribution and to carry voice and data signals. The term wire refers to an individual strand of material that conducts electrical current, whereas cable refers to two or more wires twisted together. Virtually all wire and cable used in buildings is wrapped in plastic insulation, and most of these components are made by bundling multiple insulated wires together, sheathing them in an additional outer jacket. Insulated wire and cable come in a large variety of types, and there are many performance standards and ratings that govern how and where they can be used. In the U.S., insulated wire and cable represents an annual $20.5 billion market that is projected to grow by more than 5 percent per year through 2006, according to a 2002 report from the Freedonia Group. There are an estimated 11 million miles of data cabling in U.S. buildings today.

In general terms, power cables in commercial buildings must be either sheathed in metal armor (BX cable) or protected within metal conduit. In residential buildings, power cables can be jacketed in plastic; this type of cable is commonly referred to by a trade name, Romex (made by the Southwire Company). Data or communications cables can be installed in most buildings without metal protection, but a specialized plenum rating is required for installation in ceiling and floor plenums.

Copper is the dominant conductor used in insulated building wire and cable. Though less common, aluminum wire is also used; it's lighter and less expensive than copper, but also less conductive, so more material is required for the same electrical capacity. Fiber-optic cable, which is made of glass, is increasingly used for data and communications applications commonly served by insulated wire and cable. Fiber optics transmit light signals instead of electricity to carry data-and they're lighter, less expensive, and more energy-efficient than copper for data transmission. Because they don't carry electric current, insulation requirements are not as great as for metal conductors.

Copper and aluminum wires and cables are typically insulated with a nonconductive material that allows wires to be in contact with one another without conducting electric current between them. The most common resins used for insulating wire are polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and fluoropolymers. Nylon, various rubber compounds, silicone, and polyurethane are also used for insulation and jacketing, but less widely.

Polyethylene is the most common type of insulation and jacketing for high-voltage power-transmission cables, as well as for non-plenum-rated data cables, radio frequency wiring, and audio wiring. It has excellent dielectric properties (that is, it insulates well) but is inherently less flame resistant than other insulation materials. As a result, it's rarely used for power in buildings, and when used, other materials are often added to it to improve its flame resistance. It is widely used for data cable installations requiring no flame resistance, such as wire runs in conduit or behind fire-rated barriers.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the most common insulation and jacketing material for wiring in buildings, owing largely to its good flame resistance and low cost. In Romex-type wiring, for example, PVC is typically used both as the insulation on individual conductors and as the jacketing that surrounds the bundle of individual wires. PVC has significantly greater flame resistance than polyethylene, but other additives are required to make it flexible and stable.

In the past 10 years, PVC has come under attack by several groups because of a variety of health and environmental concerns. The biggest concern is that under certain conditions, highly toxic dioxins can be released-especially from accidental fires or incineration at the end of its life. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), dioxins are known to be toxic to laboratory animals, causing cancer and altering reproductive, developmental, and immune functions. There are also concerns about the need to add stabilizers and plasticizers to PVC, some of which have health impacts, and PVC also releases hydrogen chloride, a toxic, corrosive gas, when exposed to extreme heat-both before and after it ignites.

Various fluorine-containing polymers, especially fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP), are increasingly common in data wiring insulation because of their exceptional dielectric properties, superb flame resistance, heat resistance, chemical inertness, durability, and flexibility. For plenum-rated data cable, FEP-insulated wire is often the only option allowed by code, due to fire-safety concerns. Such wire is often wrapped in a PVC jacket, though newer, more stringent "limited combustible" ratings require FEP jacketing. In addition to these performance benefits of FEP, the polymer can be recycled easily, according to DuPont.

While superb performance has spurred rapid growth of FEP wire insulation, some significant environmental and health concerns have arisen about the whole class of fluoropolymer materials (see sidebar at right). FEP does not burn easily, but it can emit toxic gases when it gets very hot, even without actual combustion. The primary gas emitted is hydrogen fluoride, which is more dangerous than the hydrogen chloride given off by PVC. Other toxic chemicals can be given off by FEP during fires; these poorly understood thermal degradation products have been referred to collectively as "the supertoxin.

The Fluorine Debate
Fluorine, chlorine, and bromine all belong to a family of elements known as halogens. Halogens form strong chemical bonds, which makes the resultant compounds durable and often inert-but their longevity also allows them to accumulate in biological systems. Many halogenated compounds have been demonstrated to be toxic in laboratory tests.

There is growing evidence that fluoropolymers, comprised almost entirely of carbon and fluorine, pose health and environmental dangers. According to some environmental and health advocates, they may be a worse threat than chlorinated polymers such as PVC.

Fluoropolymers go by many different names, but the family of chemicals is often referred to as perfluorochemicals (PFCs). They are synthetic chemicals that don't occur naturally in the environment, and they exhibit properties that have made them useful for a wide range of applications, from nonstick surfaces to stain-shedding fabric treatments to wire insulation.

In April 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a preliminary risk assessment for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), one type of PFC, noting that "studies recently evaluated by the agency have raised a number of potential toxicity concerns." The agency has solicited information about PFOA from the industry and the scientific community, and fluoropolymer manufacturers have voluntarily agreed to reduce emissions, to study their products to determine if they contribute to the widespread PFOA pollution, and to take steps to reduce worker exposure during manufacturing.

Several recent peer-reviewed papers in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives also detail the potential health impacts of PFCs. A September 2003 paper entitled "Neuroendocrine Effects of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOs) in Rats" presented evidence that PFOs can function as an endocrine inhibitor. In the December 2003 issue, another paper showed that out of 645 blood samples collected at random from six Red Cross blood banks around the country, all but one had measurable levels of PFOs.

Industry response to these concerns has been mixed. In the late 1990s, manufacturer 3M discovered that PFOA, used in producing its popular Scotchguard fabric treatment, was showing up in humans and wildlife worldwide, and in May 2000, the company announced it was voluntarily pulling it off the market. DuPont, which had purchased PFOA from 3M, has continued to produce the chemical to fuel its $1.5 billion fluoropolymer business. DuPont downplays health and environmental concerns about PFOA, but also points out that its Teflon products, such as FEP, use PFOA in manufacturing but don't contain the compound in the finished product. While DuPont claims that its fluoropolymer products are safe, the company also posts some consumer warnings on its Web site.

In addition to toxicity concerns, the chemicals emitted by FEP (and to a lesser extent by PVC) during a fire are highly corrosive. An article by Stephen Saunders, "Cabling: What You Don't Know Can Kill You" (posted at www.wireville.com), suggests that it is the corrosivity of halogen-insulated wiring that may ultimately shift us away from halogen-based wire insulation and jacketing. Frank Bisbee, a data cable consultant and editor of www.wireville.com, suggests that how good or bad a particular type of cabling looks-relative to toxicity and potential for corrosive by-products to cause damage to electronic equipment-is highly dependent on how the tests are performed. If humidity during testing is very low, for example, there won't be enough water vapor to convert hydrogen fluoride into hydrofluoric acid, or hydrogen chloride into hydrochloric acid, and acid corrosion will be less of a problem. Depending on the amount of oxygen present during a fire, the resultant emissions will vary tremendously, he says.

Making wires workable

To make insulated cables easy to manufacture and safe for buildings, three additives-plasticizers, stabilizers, and flame retardants-are typically added to insulation and jacket materials.

Plasticizers are usually added to PVC to make it flexible enough to be used to insulate wires. The most common plasticizers used in PVC are phthalate compounds, which have come under scrutiny because their chemical composition mimics natural hormones in humans and other animals, causing reproductive problems and birth defects. Unlike PVC, polyolefins used for wire insulation do not require the use of plasticizers.

Stabilizers are added to some plastics to increase resistance to heat, sunlight, moisture, and other stressors. The most common stabilizers used in insulation and jacketing are lead compounds, which can constitute 2 to 5 percent of the total weight of the material. PVC is the only widely used resin for which lead stabilizers are needed. Other stabilizers beginning to appear on the market include salt-metal blends, such as barium-zinc and calcium-zinc; organotin compounds; and metal-free organic compounds. Cable manufacturer Mohawk/CDT is one of the companies shifting to lead-free PVC; according to Michael Rubera, Mohawk's director of technical support, the company primarily uses polyolefin insulation and lead-free PVC jacketing on its non-plenum-rated data cables.

Flame retardants are added to plastics to slow the spread of a fire, reduce the amount of heat and smoke emitted during a fire, and cause a fire to self-extinguish. They operate by different means. Some retardants reduce the fuel content of the material, for example; others raise the decomposition temperature of the polymer by more tightly bonding the molecules; still others emit water at high temperatures.

PVC and fluoropolymer resins are inherently flame resistant due to their halogen content, but the plasticizers added to PVC are not, so additional flame retardants have to be added to PVC for use in some wiring applications. FEP is more flame resistant than PVC, but the hydrofluoric acid released when it's exposed to heat is more toxic than the hydrochloric acid released by PVC.

Three classes of flame retardants are commonly used in wire and cable insulation: halogenated compounds (based on bromine, fluorine, or chlorine), inorganic compounds (such as antimony), and phosphorous compounds. Among halogenated flame retardants, bromine-based compounds are more effective than chlorine-based compounds, because bromine forms a weaker bond to carbon and thus interferes more effectively with combustion. A number of brominated flame retardants are commonly added to polyolefin wire and cable insulation-either alone or mixed with an antimony compound.

Chlorine is sometimes added to polyethylene insulation, but its presence can negatively affect the performance of the polymer, and as with PVC, it may release hydrogen chloride or dioxin in the event of a fire.

The most common inorganic flame retardants are metal hydrates, antimony compounds, and zinc borate. Metal hydrates work by introducing water to the fire; when used, they can be either compounded with the resin, or packed in around the wires as the cable is manufactured. Aluminum hydroxide is widely used in plastics such as polyethylene. At temperatures above 480 degrees Fahrenheit, the compound degrades into water and alumina, slowing flame spread or extinguishing the fire. Magnesium hydroxide is similar but degrades at a higher temperature; it is more commonly used with polypropylene.

Antimony flame retardants are generally most effective when combined with halogens. Antimony trioxide is commonly added to PVC, for example. Halogen acid, released during a fire, reacts with the antimony compound and produces char, which acts as a physical barrier to flame spread. Antimony-halogen reactions in a fire also keep oxygen from easily combining with the fuel contributed by the polymer.

Zinc borate, alone or in combination with aluminum hydroxide, is used as a flame retardant in a variety of halogen-free polymers. Phosphorous-containing flame retardants are very versatile; many different compounds are used, although the most common are phosphate esters (used in flexible PVC) and chlorinated phosphates (used in polyurethanes).

Other components used to make insulation and jacketing, like fillers, pigments, dyes, and lubricants, are generally of lesser environmental priority and concern than the ones mentioned above.

Searching for greener solutions

To date, there's been little attention paid to health and environmental concerns related to wiring, but one group that has studied the issue in some depth is the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI). According to TURI deputy director Liz Harriman, there are significant international efforts to reduce lead use in insulation and jacketing. The European Union's directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) will ban lead from electrical equipment and electronics by 2006, and some manufacturers are removing lead from their products before this deadline. "TURI is working with the wire and cable industry and their suppliers in Massachusetts to keep them competitive in the global marketplace," Harriman says.

In terms of fire safety, U.S. codes rely exclusively on test standards for flammability and flame spread, ignoring the risks of toxic and corrosive gases released before and after ignition. This approach differs from some European codes, which assume that incapacitation from irritating gases can affect occupants' ability to escape from a building fire.

There is clearly interest in some circles in specifying halogen-free wiring. Clear alternatives to halogenated wire and cable are polyolefin products; to use these for insulation and jacketing, compounds are typically added for flame resistance, as described earlier. Borealis Compounds, the U.S. division of the Danish company Borealis A/S, offers such products in the U.S., but sales are limited. They're used primarily in subway systems and other locations where acid emissions from halogenated compounds are unacceptable. The manufacturing costs of flame-resistant polyolefin wiring are significantly higher than those of PVC, according to a Borealis engineer, and regulatory changes would probably be required to bring about a significant shift toward polyolefins from PVC.

Some manufacturers, including Mohawk/CDT, offer PVC-insulated wiring without lead or other heavy metals. Demanding lead-free or heavy-metal-free cable can hasten the transition away from these toxins.

Yet another approach is to specify polyolefin cable with lower flame resistance and place it in a fire-protected environment (e.g., metal conduit or cellular cores of concrete floor panels). Such a method will add to a project costs, however, and the trends are generally in the other direction: specifying plenum-rated, FEP-insulated cable that can be installed in plenums without additional protection.

For data and voice signals, fiber-optic cables and wireless technologies are increasingly viable options. One fiber-optic cable can replace many copper cables in high-capacity applications, and wireless data networks are quickly supplanting hardwired connections in settings such as classrooms and meeting rooms.

Leave no wire behind

A new requirement in the 2002 National Electrical Code (NEC), known as Article 800, specifies that abandoned cables must be removed from plenum spaces. The change was made because of a concern that leaving old cables in place when new ones are added leads to dangerous fuel loading in plenums. Though it's already being enforced in some jurisdictions, the requirement generally kicks in when a space is remodeled.

Removing old cable during renovations and retrofits raises the issue of lead exposure. Since 1984, most cable jackets have been made with lead-stabilized PVC. As the plasticizer leaches out over time, the jackets become brittle and the lead migrates to the surface, leaving behind dust with a high lead content. This dust, loose in ceiling or floor plenums, can easily reach building occupants or workers removing old cable.

Although there seems to be no concerted effort to study or address this potential health hazard, the new NEC requirement forces building owners and occupants to consider potential removal options when cables are first installed. Many owners are now requiring tenants to remove cables once they leave a space; this requirement should lead to more frugal use of cable, the installation of systems that facilitate eventual removal, and better labeling practices for cables in use.

Once old wire and cable is removed, what can be done with it? Copper is a valuable commodity, so old wiring is commonly recycled, but the various additives in wire insulation and jackets raise concerns about incineration, and most of these materials are difficult if not impossible to recycle. Of all the wire insulation and jacketing materials, FEP is the most recyclable, though recycling programs for this material are not known to exist and may not appear any time soon, since the labor involved in identifying and separating it out is substantial.

Wiring remains a challenge for designers and builders involved in sustainable design. Acceptable alternatives are heavily controlled by codes that focus almost exclusively (in the U.S.) on flame spread and smoke development, with no regard for the toxicity of wire and cable products. Whether this will be considered in fire-safety testing of wire and cable remains uncertain, but it seems clear that the EPA and other agencies will continue researching the safety of halogen-containing insulators.

Perhaps the best news is that better solutions are on the way. "New, innovative materials that are halogen-free and flame retardant will hit the market," says TURI's Harriman. "There are significant drivers for their development, even if not from the building industry."

###

Greener Wiring: A Checklist for Action

General Guidelines

Design for easy access. Install wiring in readily accessible wiring chases to simplify future modifications.

Minimize wiring runs. Reduce material use by installing high-capacity runs to local hubs, rather than connecting each directly to a central hub. Local hubs can connect to workstations via wireless or short-wired connections.

Avoid wiring in exterior walls. Limit wiring runs and receptacle placement in exterior walls, particularly in residential buildings. Such installations interfere with insulation and can result in significant air leakage.

Avoid the need for plenum-rated and limited-combustion cable. Run data cable in metal conduit, sealed wiring chases, or cellular raceways in concrete decking to avoid the need for highly flame-resistant cable.

Don't overwire. Design for future wiring needs, but avoid installing wires unless there is an immediate need for them. Design for future removal. Design installations so that wire can be easily removed when not in use.

Minimize EMF. Rely on "prudent avoidance" strategies to minimize exposure of building occupants to electromagnetic fields.

Go wireless. Use wireless data connections instead of hard-wired ones for maximum flexibility and minimum material use. Wireless connections may be usable in some local areas, even if they are not usable buildingwide.

Specifications

Plan for future needs. Install voice-data-video (VDV) cable that can serve upgraded networks so that cable will not become obsolete as quickly.

Eliminate use of lead stabilizers. Some PVC wire insulation and jacketing are composed of 5 to 10 percent lead by weight. Specifiy products that don't contain lead stabilizers.

Don't install lead-stabilized cable loose in plenums. To keep lead dust out of indoor air, cable that's stabilized with lead (which includes most plenum-rated cable) should be installed in metal conduit and not directly exposed to conditioned air circulating through ceiling or floor plenums.

Specify halogen-free products. Wherever possible, specify wire and cable insulation and jacketing that do not contain PVC, chlorinated polyethylene, FEP, or products containing brominated flame retardants.

Specify heavy-metal-free wire and cable. Cadmium, chromium, and other heavy metals are often using in pigments for wire insulation and jackets. Avoid using them whenever possible.

Use fiber-optic cable. Fiber optics, widely used to carry voice and data signals, require less insulation and jacketing than copper wiring. It may be possible to run fiber-optic trunk lines to smaller copper distribution lines, thus reducing total insulated cable use.

Removal

Remove old cable. As per 2002 revisions to the National Electrical Code, remove cable that is not being used or will not be usable in the future.

Follow safety precautions when removing old cable. Old cable contains high levels of lead dust. Ensure that workers wear proper respiratory protection, and seal removed cable in plastic bags.

Recycle old cable. Deliver old cable to facilities where it's properly recycled; never burn old cable to recover copper.

Copyright 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. www.mcgrawhill.com All Rights Reserved

New 5th Edition of GreenSpec Reflects Significant Changes in Criteria

Brattleboro, VT-The just-released 5th edition of the widely used GreenSpec® Directory of environmentally preferable building products and materials reflects significant changes. "As the green building industry evolves, we evolve with it," said GreenSpec coeditor Alex Wilson. The criteria used by BuildingGreen staff to screen products for GreenSpec are regularly examined and the benchmarks raised.

The 5th edition of GreenSpec includes more than 1,850 product listings that designers, builders, and building owners can use in identifying products that can improve the environmental performance of their buildings. More than 200 product listings have been added since the 4th edition came out, while about 100 were dropped. Products may be dropped because they have been discontinued, because the manufacturing has changed (reduced recycled content, for example), or because the GreenSpec criteria have been tightened so the lowest-performing products are removed. "Our goal is to constantly push the envelope," notes Wilson. "Increasingly, we get calls from manufacturers wanting to know how they would need to modify their products to satisfy GreenSpec criteria."

One of the big changes with the 5th edition of GreenSpec deals with toilets. "It has long been recognized that not all low-flush toilets perform well," said Wilson. In 2004 a new testing protocol was developed for toilets that accurately measures flush performance. This "Maximum Performance" (or MaP) testing protocol was jointly developed by water conservation agencies in Canada and the United States and has become one of the criteria used for evaluating toilets for GreenSpec. To be listed in GreenSpec, toilets must evacuate at least 65 grams of solid waste per liter of flush water, as tested under the MaP protocol. This performance standard, rounded to the nearest 50-gram increment, amounts to a minimum of 400 grams for 6-liter (1.6 gallon-per-flush) toilets and 250 grams for 4-liter (1 gpf) toilets. Special calculations are used for dual-flush toilets.

In some GreenSpec categories, thresholds for volatile organic compound (VOC) levels have been significantly tightened. An interior paint, for example, can have a VOC level no higher than 50 grams per liter to be listed in GreenSpec-significantly lower than the tightest air pollution regulations, even in California.

GreenSpec criteria for a number of appliances have also been tightened for the 5th edition. "As these products become more efficient across the board, we want to recognize the real leaders," said Wilson.

The criteria used for screening products for GreenSpec have been refined over more than ten years by the editors of Environmental Building News, the oldest and most respected publication serving the green-building industry. These criteria are published in the new 5th edition, and they can be downloaded from the BuildingGreen.com website in the periodically updated article "What Makes a Product Green. "Unlike other directories, GreenSpec does not charge for listings or for the review process," said Wilson. "We don't even accept ads." As a user-supported resource, the listings are the result of total editorial independence and integrity-information that can be trusted.

The 464-page GreenSpec Directory also includes "Guideline Specification," language in the CSI MasterFormat™ structure that can help architects and specifiers develop green project specifications. The directory costs $89, plus $5 shipping and handling. GreenSpec-listed products can also be found in the online BuildingGreen Suite, a subscription-based information service available for $199 per year.

For more information on GreenSpec visit www.GreenSpec.com

A cover image of the GreenSpec 5th edition can be downloaded at www.buildinggreen.com/press/images/index.cfm

Niedax expands their wire management division

Niedax GmbH, a leading European supplier of wire management systems since 1971, has announced the formation of Niedax-Kleinhuis USA. Located in Columbus, OH with a national warehouse and sales office location, Niedax-Kleinhuis made their North American introduction of their cable trays and surface raceways at the recent 2005 BICSI national conference in Orlando, FL. In 2003 Niedax received UL listing for their cable trays and surface raceways, which has led to the national marketing of the products through a series of electrical and telecommunication distributors. The product line consists of various types of cable trays from the popular wire mesh systems, one-piece pan style ventilated and solid bottom trays, cable ladder racks, as well as long span-high strength 3 piece tray systems. A complete system of tray supports are also manufactured by Niedax and stocked in Columbus. Standard product finishes include pre-galvanized, hot dipped galvanized and stainless steel.

"The Niedax product offering provides some unique options for cable installers that is not available from some of the traditional sources", says Steve Childers, US sale mgr. "Our one-piece style of cable tray offers several advantages including a more attractive appearance. Virtually all of the cables are enclosed or hidden from view. Aesthetics is a critical factor in many of today's projects and our tray simply looks the best. Versatility is another great feature. Simple, inexpensive fittings can be utilized to make field changes brought on by building obstacles. We can also provide pre-made fittings if desired, including 45º & 90º bends, T's and Crosses. We believe that our complete line of cable tray products provides the customer with the best wire & cable management system possible."

Also manufactured by Niedax is a wide range of metallic surface raceways in pre-galvanized steel, powder coated painted finishes, and stainless steel.

Kleinhuis, a company that Niedax purchased in 2000, has also been marketed out of the Ohio facility since the mid 1980's. These products consist of various electrical components such as cord fittings, liquid tight fittings, PVC wiring duct, terminal blocks, and grounding bars. To view more of the Niedax or Kleinhuis product line you can visit the company website at www.kleinhuis.com or call for a free catalog at 800-544-2105.

NAED CO-SPONSORS 2005 UID/UED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

MARCH 13 - 16, INDIANAPOLIS, IND.
Four-Day Program Targets Branch, Sales Management

(ST. LOUIS, MO) …The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) invites electrical distributors and manufacturers to participate in the 2005 University of Industrial Distribution/University of Electrical Distribution (UID/UED), held March 13 - 16 at Indiana University/Purdue University in Indianapolis, Ind. Recognized for its educational excellence, this professional development event is co-sponsored by NAED and 22 other industrial distribution associations. The program has served more than 5,000 distributors and manufacturing professionals from 20 countries.

"UID introduced me to a whole other side of the business," said Darren Sixkiller, operations manager for Armstrong's Supply Company, Inc. in New Orleans, La. "I learned about operations, sales management and inventory management. It got my feet wet and exposed me to some of the processes that other companies in our industry are using. It's a great networking tool and gave me the opportunity to talk with people from all over the country who are working in the same industry."

Sue Batz, regional sales manager for Service Wire Company in Culloden, W.V. is also enthusiastic about her experience attending UID. "It was awesome…very inspirational," she said. "During one class we divided into groups and prepared presentations. It was wonderful because it was such a dynamic group of people who all brought a different skill set to the group. We had CEOs, sales representatives and purchasing reps. It was really nice to be part of a team plotting a plan with such a different cross-section of people from all over the country and the world. I enjoyed it immensely. I would definitely recommend it to others. I want to go back."

UID/UED will feature four days of in-depth training seminars taught by experts from multiple markets. In addition, at the end of the event, participants will receive three continuing education credits (CEUs) which can be applied toward their Professional Certificate in Industrial Distribution from the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Highlights of the UID/UED program include:

  • Popular Speakers

    • Don Rice, Ph.D., a nationally recognized author, lecturer, consultant and training specialist to the distribution industry will present, "Planning and Managing the Distributorship," a full-day program designed for managers. The program includes how to make a 30% return on investment through profit planning, maximizing asset turns, controlling allowable expenses and developing a profit plan to bank 30 cents of every margin dollar as pre-tax profits. Rice will also teach a half-day program, "Customers: How to Keep Them for Life," that will address identifying customer needs, overcoming problems, determining service levels and turning the one-time buyer into a customer for life.

    • Al Bates, Ph.D., president of the management-consulting firm Profit Planning Group and popular NAED speaker will present "Improving the Distributor's Bottom Line," a full-day program designed for non-financial managers who need a better understanding of distributors' profitability. Participants will learn how to analyze the distributor's business base; perform financial statement analysis; compare distributor profitability; understand fundamentals of asset management; and use the Strategic Profit Model.

    • William McCleave, Jr., Ph.D., president of W.R. McCleave & Associates and a recognized expert in integrated supply, will teach, "Differentiating Your Distribution Company - A Winning Strategy." Attendees will learn how to develop an effective offensive strategy clearly separating vital business signals from background noise and then implement a successful action plan.

  • Top Quality Educational Experience - Distributor and manufacturer attendees, who are typically branch managers and sales personnel, will sharpen their areas of expertise and cross-train in other areas. The program, set in the educational atmosphere at a prestigious university, is specifically designed to promote success among individuals and businesses in wholesale distribution.

  • Private NAED-Only Networking Event - The NAED Education & Research Foundation will be sponsoring a private networking event for all NAED members and affiliates. This will be an excellent opportunity to solidify industry partnerships and to establish new ones.

To register, visit the NAED Web site at www.naed.org.

4 Wire Solutions

4 Wire Solutions is a master Manufacturers rep firm located in the northern reaches of Michigan. Though 4 Wire may not be as well known as the manufacturers they rep, we all know and have heard of LG www.lgcable4u.com and some of us who work internationally may have herd of DEK (Dae Eun Electronics) www.dek.co.kr. 4 wire has had the formidable task to take both these giants to market slowly here in North America and though the cable and connectivity markets have many players these companies not only turn the heads of there competitors they turn the heads of installers, end users and designers alike. 4 Wire Solutions has been slowly opening new markets and spreading the news about LG being in our industry. The fiscal conservatives have embraced both DEK and LG for there low cost and their power house performance. 4 Wire Solutions has taken a forward step by representing these two companies that have been in the industry since divestiture but behind the scenes in the US to many of us for these past 20 years. 4 Wire has been working with regional distribution sales channels and customers guiding them to the products that make their Banker's feel proud and their customer's know they are their friend.

One final note the North American website for DEK is under construction, and there is an English side to the site above.

Certified Training Schedule

Certified Communications, Inc.
Suite #162
903 N. Bowser Road
Richardson, TX 75081

Feb - July, 2005

Dates

FEBRUARY
2/7 - 2/11
2/28 - 3/4

MARCH
3/14 - 3/18

APRIL
4/4 - 4/8
4/18 - 4/22

MAY
5/16 - 5/20
5/30 - 6/3

JUNE
6/13 - 6/17

JULY
7/11 - 7/15

Class


ITS Installer 1
ITS Installer 2


ITS Technician


ITS Installer 2
ITS Technician


ITS Installer 2
ITS Technician


ITS Installer 1


ITS Installer 2

This schedule is subject to change based on Customer preference and can be modified to take place from 6PM to 10PM for a 2 week period.

James R. (Ray) Craig - RCDD/ITS Specialist
Corporate Trainer
Certified Communications, Inc. www.certified.com
903 N. Bowser Road
Suite #162
Richardson, TX 75081
Toll Free 1-800-479-7126

DYMO Industrial Hires National Sales Manager

Here's some exciting news that's happening within the Industrial Business Unit at DYMO. Business is great and our team is growing. In order to better serve their distributors, DYMO has appointed a new National Sales Manager.

February 8, 2005, Stamford, CT - DYMO Industrial announces that Michael Clemens has joined their growing team as the National Sales Manager, responsible for sales and marketing at key accounts.

"I'm excited by the potential of this new business at DYMO," said Mike Clemens. "The RhinoPRO range of label printers have tapped into an underserved market and I'm looking forward to building relationships that can drive incremental sales for DYMO and distributors within this profitable category."

"DYMO Industrial is committed building a world class organization and we recognize that our team members are the heart and soul of our business", said Ernie Racenet, Global Director, Industrial Business Unit, DYMO Corporation. "We're creating a market driven organization and Mike's experience the datacom market makes him the perfect fit for our business and a valuable asset to our distribution partners."

Distributors interested in selling or learning more about the RhinoPRO range of Industrial Labeling Tools are encouraged to contact Mike Clemens at mclemens@dymo.com or calling him directly at 203-232-3697.

About the DYMO Industrial Business Unit
The DYMO Industrial Business Unit is focused on producing high quality, affordable labeling solutions for the Electrical, Datacom and MRO markets. DYMO is a division of Esselte, a $1.2 billion dollar business products manufacturer. Information is available at www.dymo.com/industrial.

DYMO Corporation
44 Commerce Road
Stamford, CT 06902
203-733-6044

Anixter fourth-quarter earnings higher

CHICAGO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Anixter International Inc. (AXE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , a distributor of communications products, on Tuesday posted higher fourth-quarter earnings, helped by the lower valuation of inventory and higher sales from acquisitions.

The Glenview, Illinois, company said it earned $25.6 million, or 64 cents a share, compared with $13.1 million, or 36 cents a share, a year earlier.

Anixter share rose 3.6 percent in early trading.

Operating profit rose 65 percent, to $41.4 million, including 15 cents a share of benefit from the lower valuation of some inventory in the marketplace.

Results also included a gain of 9 cents a share for the consolidation of a facility.

Sales rose 28 percent to $848.3 million, including a $15.9 million increase from the acquisition of Distribution Dynamics.

In a statement, Anixter Chief Executive Robert Grubbs said "overall sales for the period were stronger than anticipated, especially in the days before and after the holidays."

He added: "An improved economic environment, increased levels of capital spending, product and market expansion price increases driven by higher commodity prices all contributed to fourth quarter growth."

Shares of Anixter rose $1.21 to $34.63 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Administrative Firestopping Responsibilities

Maintaining the fire rated barriers in the buildings you occupy is critical. Your decision to properly maintain these barriers is directly proportional to the amount of damage a building will suffer in the event of a fire. If you fail to maintain the fire rated walls and a loss of life happens on your watch as the result of a fire, you may be held responsible by the victim's attorneys. You should not be surprised if your Organization puts distance between your firestop decisions and their liability.

Acquire working knowledge of the rating and condition of those barriers in your facilities. All fire rated walls and floors are rated by Independent Testing Facilities like U.L. or E.T.L.. Testing determines the amount of time a barrier will prevent the spread of flame and/or smoke. Any "approved" System used to penetrate these barriers for telecommunications cabling must be rated (tested) for at least as much time as the wall or floor it is passing through. Sealing the firestop systems for smoke is a very important factor. When you review and assess the fire barriers, make sure you have adequate smoke seals as well. Many more people trapped by a fire loose their lives to smoke than to the flames.

Get your people trained. Select someone at your facility and make him/her your subject matter expert. Have them contact the major firestop companies and go through their Factory Certification Training. Nearly all the major manufacturers offer some type of training. Many have web based training and some offer it at no cost.

Establish a S. O. P.. Every building should have a Standard Operational Procedure for the penetration of its fire rated barriers. Get control of the violations. Maintain control of the barriers by requiring any Contractor or In House Personnel who run telecomm or any other low voltage cable report to your selected subject matter expert. Your expert will confirm the rating of the barrier, select the proper type of tested system, oversee the installation and most importantly, decide if the Contractor gets paid or if the In House Installer should be doing something other than running cable in your facility.

Seek pre-approval from the AHJ. Most people think that a U. L. tested penetration system will be automatically approved by the local inspector. WRONG. The system or method you employ may be tested by a thousand testing laboratories. If the Inspector does not like what he sees, he can reject it. Acquire working knowledge, select a system and go to the AHJ for his approval prior to its installation. This will insure you that the system you selected is what your Inspector is looking for and will eliminate the ambiguity.

Document your efforts. Have the Contractor or firestopping expert take digital photos of all installed systems. Be sure each barrier is alpha numerically identified and a documentation / warning label is affixed as close as possible to the approved penetration. The digital photos should be stored in an installation pictorial showing the first cable installation as well as any subsequent installations. This is particularly useful if an AHJ (Inspector) wants to inspect your fire rated barriers. As soon as he sees your Installation Pictorial, you will take some comfort in the fact that he will be pleased with your efforts.

Don't let your guard down. There are many Contractors who will come in the night and leave before any one realizes that they have damaged your fire rated walls or floors. A policy letter to all Department Heads should be implemented. It should be strongly worded so that the manager knows that it would be a negative career move to allow anyone to penetrate a fire rated barrier in your facility without the guidance of the subject matter expert. Then enforce it to the hilt.

In the 22 years I have been in the telecomm business, I am amazed at the condition of the fire walls in this Country. Many of them have been obliterated to the point of no return. Litigators circle like buzzards waiting for a fire. As soon as there is loss of life, they swoop in on easy prey. Don't be easy prey for a personal injury lawyer. Do something.

The following Companies offer solutions for fire barrier penetrations made by low voltage installers. All have some type of training available for you or your staff. Most have factory trained Contractors to install their systems if needed.

Unique Fire Stop Products www.uniquefirestop.com
3 - M www.mmm.com
Hilti Fire Stop www.us.hilti.com
Specified Technology www.stifirestop.com
CSD Sealing Systems www.csdsealingsystems.com

Mike Tobias
CEO - Unique Fire Stop Products, Inc.
Voice 251.960.5018

General Cable fourth-quarter earnings turn to profit

Tue Feb 1, 2005 04:22 PM ET
LOS ANGELES, Feb 1 (Reuters) - General Cable Corp. (BGC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , a maker of aluminum, copper and fiber-optic wire for communications, on Tuesday said it had a profit in the fourth quarter, up from a year-ago loss, on higher sales and streamlining of its manufacturing facilities.

The Highland Heights, Kentucky, company said it earned $3.3 million, or 8 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, compared with a net loss of $10.6 million, or 30 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter.

SNAKE TRAY INTRODUCES SNAKE HOOK , A STRESS FREE CABLE MANAGER

Snake Tray is pleased to announce Snake Hook, the new innovative cable manager for walls, overhead or under floors. Snake Hook's wide arch design relieves stress on cables for maximum performance from the cable. Built-in mounting system allows for quick and cost effective installations. The smooth wide arch makes pulling cables easier. Snake Hook is also qualified for plenum environments.

Snake Hook is the ideal cable manager for lighter cable counts and/or as a service loop hanger. Snake Hook comes in a wall, under floor and overhead models for easy installation.

For further information on Snake Tray products please call 800-308-6788, email info@snaketray.com, or visit Snaketray.com.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Want to know more about how you can capture the business opportunities associated with integrated building systems? Mark your calendars for several key conferences and exhibitions.

AFCOM: April 17-21 Las Vegas www.afcom.com

BICSI SPRING: May 2-5 Las Vegas www.bicsi.org

BOMA: June 23-28 Anaheim http://s12.a2zinc.net/clients/Boma2004/Boma2005/
REALCOMM: June 27-28 Anaheim, CA www.realcomm.com/anaheim.htm
CONNECT 2005: June 28 Anaheim www.caba.org , www.ibfconferences.com

ACUTA: July 17 - 21 Gaylord Palms - Kissimmee, FL www.acuta.org/events/annual_conference/sce05.cfm
NECA: September 18-20, 2005 New Orleans www.necashow.org/

###

Jan 12-14
Wireless Comm. Assoc. : San Jose CA
202-452-7823
www.wcai.com

Jan 16-19
PTC's wireless to wireless: Honolulu HI
808-941-3789 ext. 124
www.ptc05.org

Jan. 22-27
BICSI : Orlando Fl
800-242-7405
www.bicsi.org/Content/Index.aspx?File=win05sched.htm

Jan. 30-Feb. 2
ACUTA winter : San Antonio TX
Vm/ 859-278-3338
Fax/ 859-278-3268
www.acuta.org/events/seminars

Jan. 30-Feb.1
World Health Care Congress: DC
800-817-8601
www.worldcongress.com

Feb. 8-10
Electric West:
www.west.electricshow.com

Feb. 13-16
NTCA 2005: San Antonio TX
703-351-2000
www.ncta.org

Feb. 13-17
HIMSS: Dallas ,TX
http://conference.himss.org/ASP/index.asp

Feb. 21-25
Internet Technology (IT): Miami,FL
203-852-6800 ext.142
www.itexpo.com

March 6-11
OFC/NFOEC: Anaheim, CA
202-416-1486
www.ofcconference.org

March 14-16
CTIA wireless: New Orlean, LA
www.ctia.org

March 15-17
BOMA National Facilities Mgmnt & tech. (NFM&T): Baltimore, Md
www.nfmt.com

April 21-22
Broadband wireless world: Las Vegas NV
949-443-3735
www.scievents.com/bwwo5

May 1-6
Interop: Las Vegas, NV
415-905-2300
www.interop.com

May 10-11
Expocom: Toronto
888-322-7333
www.reedexpo.ca/ee3

May 17-19
VOIP: Beijing China
852-2865-1118
www.china-voip.com

May 22-25
UTC Telecom: Long Beach CA
202-872-0030
www.utctelecom2005.utc.org

MAY 30-June 2
Broadband World Forum: Yokahama Japan

June 6-8
IEC: Chicago, IL

June 6-10
NFPA: Las Vegas, NV
www.NFPA.org

June 6-9
Supercomm: Chicago, IL
312-559-3327
www.supercomm2005.com

June 25-28
The North American Commercial Real Estate Congress & The Office Building Show
BOMA: Anaheim, CA
Vicki Cummins 888-777-6956
vcummins@pgi.com
www.bomaconvention.org


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