Aug 15, 2018

Updates to Wisconsin Porposed SPS 330-Fire Department Safety and Health Standards

Update on proposed SPS 330
SPS 330-Fire Department Safety and Health Standards

The Department of Safety and Professional Services is pleased to announce legislative approval of CR-17-067 regarding SPS 330 Fire Department Safety and Health Standards.  The rule will be published at the end of September 2018 and become effective October 1, 2018.  Here is a link to the updated code package:  CR 17-067/SPS 330.

Aug 1, 2018


(NIRS) Washington DC – Citing concerns about "national security" and "grid reliability," the Trump Administration is weighing options for subsidizing and preventing the closure of environmentally polluting nuclear and coal plants made uneconomic by growing competition from renewable energy and natural gas. However, an analysis by the SUN DAY Campaign of recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) suggests that such concerns are not only unfounded but the trend is also potentially too late to reverse.

A review of 2017 state-by-state data presented in EIA's "Electric Power Monthly" report reveals that renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) are now providing more electricity than nuclear power in over half the states and more electricity than coal in a third [see Note A]. And the numbers continue to shift in favor of renewable sources, particularly as falling renewable energy prices and declining electricity demand make nuclear and coal ever-more uneconomic.

Nationwide, according to FERC's latest "Energy Infrastructure Update," renewable sources now account for 20.66% of the total available installed generating capacity. That is more than double the generating capacity of the nation's nuclear power plants (9.12%) and is rapidly approaching the capacity of the nation's coal plants (23.04%), which has dropped precipitously from 28.90% just five years ago. [1]

Moreover, FERC reports that proposed generation additions and retirements over the next three years could result in a net loss of an additional 15,898-MW of coal capacity and an increase of just 756-MW of nuclear capacity [see Note B] while utility-scale renewable sources are projected to mushroom with 156,981-MW of new capacity -- primarily from wind (90,981-MW) and solar (52,216-MW). [2]  And the potential growth in solar does not include distributed, small-scale PV systems (e.g., rooftop solar) which could account for an additional 30% or more in solar capacity.

Renewable energy critics are quick to note that generating "capacity" is not the same as actual electrical "generation" because nuclear and coal typically have higher capacity factors than most renewable sources. True enough, but ...

In terms of actual "generation," renewables are now neck-and-neck with nuclear power ... and may hold a small lead. The most recent EIA data show renewables (including distributed solar) providing 20.17% of the nation's electrical generation during the first five months of 2018 compared to 20.14% from nuclear power. In fact, during the two most recent months reflected in EIA's data (i.e., April & May 2018), renewables provided 10.6% more electricity than did nuclear power. [3]  (Renewables also similarly outpaced nuclear power twice last year -- in March and April 2017.)

While coal still provides a greater share of U.S. electrical generation (26.6% for the first five months of 2018) than renewables, it is in a tailspin -- dropping from 39.0% five years ago -- while renewables have grown from a 14.3% share over the same period. [4]

These trends are likewise playing themselves out on the state level.

End-of-the-year data issued by EIA for calendar year 2017 reveal that nuclear power is now providing no electrical generation in 20 states plus Washington DC. Of these, four states have gone nuclear-free in recent years (CO, ME, OR, VT). Consequently, renewables are now providing more electricity than nuclear power in 27 states plus Washington DC; solar (utility-scale + distributed) alone is outpacing nuclear in 21 states while wind alone already exceeds nuclear in 22 states and is rapidly closing the gap in others. Even in six states still using nuclear power (CA, IA, KS, MN, TX, WA), renewable sources are providing more electricity. [5]

In addition, utility-scale renewable energy sources are out-producing electrical generation by coal in 17 states (plus Washington DC). Further, EIA reports no  electrical generation from coal in 2017 in two states (Rhode Island and Vermont) as well as Washington DC. [6]

"EIA and FERC data underscore that the renewable energy train has left the station," noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. "Trying to reverse that situation with costly subsidies for environmentally-polluting nuclear power and coal defies common sense."

"Nuclear and coal simply can't compete with renewable energy," said Tim Judson, Executive Director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. "Renewables will be generating more power than nuclear by 2020, and nuclear is poised for the same precipitous decline as coal in the coming years."


Nuclear Power vs. Renewables: *
Utility-Scale + Distributed Solar-Generated Electricity Exceeds Nuclear Power in 21 states + DC:
AK, CA, CO, DE, HI, ID, IN, KY, ME, MT, ND, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SD, UT, VT, WV, WY, + DC

Utility-Scale Wind-Generated Electricity Exceeds Nuclear Power in 22 states:
AK, CO, DE, HI,  IA, ID, IN, KS, ME, MT, ND, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WV, WY (in addition, wind-generated electricity is close to that from nuclear power in Washington state; the gap is also small in Nebraska)

Utility-Scale Wind + Utility-Scale & Distributed Solar Combined Exceed Nuclear Power in 24 states + DC:
AK, CA, CO, DE, HI, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, ME, MT, ND, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WV, WY, + DC

Utility-Scale Non-Hydro Renewables Combined Exceed Nuclear Power in 25 states + DC:
AK, CA, CO, DE, HI, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, ME, MT, ND, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WY, + DC (in addition, the numbers are very close in Minnesota; non-hydro renewables should outpace nuclear power in 2018 if they did not already do so in 2017)

All Utility-Scale Renewables Combined Exceed Nuclear Power in 27 states + DC:
AK, CA, CO, DE, HI, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, ME, MN, MT,  ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WY, + DC

*EIA reports no electrical generation by nuclear power in 20 states (AK, CO, DE, HI, ID, IN, KY, ME, MT, ND, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SD, UT, VT, WV, WY) + DC.

Coal vs. Renewables: **
Utility-Scale + Distributed Solar-Generated Electricity Exceeds Coal in 9 states + DC:
CA, CT, ID, MA, NJ, NV, NY, RI, VT, + DC

Utility-Scale Wind-Generated Electricity Exceeds Coal in 11 states:

Utility-Scale Non-Hydro Renewables Combined Exceed Coal-Generated Electricity in 15 states + DC:
CA, CT, ID, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OK, OR, RI, SD, VT, WA, + DC

Utility-Scale Wind + Utility-Scale & Distributed Solar Combined Exceed Coal-Generated Electricity in 16 states + DC:
CA, CT, HI, ID, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OK, OR, RI, SD, VT, WA, + DC

All Utility-Scale Renewables Combined Exceed Coal-Generated Electricity in 17 states + DC:
AK, CA, CT, HI, ID, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OK, OR, RI, SD, VT, WA, + DC (in addition, utility-scale renewables almost equaled the electrical output of coal in Kansas in 2017 and could exceed it in 2018; Iowa is also very close in coal vs. utility-scale renewable energy)

** EIA reports no electrical generation by coal in Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington DC.


# # # # # # # # #
[2]  pdf  [see table entitled "Proposed Generation Additions and Retirements by June 2021"]

[3] (issues released June 25, 2018 and July 24, 2018) [see tables ES1.A. and ES1.B.]

[5] [see tables 1.4.B. (coal); 1.9.B. (nuclear energy); 1.10.B. (hydropower); 1.11.B. (non-hydro renewables); 1.14.B. (wind); 1.17.B. (solar PV - utility + small-scale); 1.18.B. (solar thermal)]

[6] Ibid.

A.) EIA's data for solar include utility-scale solar PV and solar thermal as well as small-scale, distributed solar (e.g., rooftop solar systems). However, EIA's data for non-hydro renewables only reflect utility-scale facilities; they do not include state-by-state data for distributed photovoltaics. In its most recent "Electric Power Monthly" report (with data for the first five months of 2018), small-scale solar photovoltaic is estimated to account for ~31% of total electrical generation from solar sources.
Thus, the state-by-state comparisons of nuclear and coal to all renewables combined does not include distributed solar and therefore understates the actual amount of electricity being generated by renewable sources.

B.) FERC's data for capacity additions and retirements is subject to numerous variables such as the Trump Administration's possible proposals to bailout uneconomic nuclear and coal plants. In the case of net nuclear additions, for example, FERC's numbers may prove unduly optimistic. Currently, four reactors with 3175 MW of capacity are scheduled to retire in 2018-2020. The only new nuclear reactors under construction in the U.S., Vogtle 3 and 4 (2234-MW), are officially past the 2020 timeframe now (2021-22), but even if FERC is counting them, it should be a 941-MW net loss of nuclear capacity over the three-year timeframe (2018-2020), not a 756-MW increase. If one extends that out to three years from present, the net loss is greater: 7 reactors closed with 6038-MW, and 3804-MW net reduction.

By the time Vogtle 3 and 4 are scheduled to come online, there are a total of 9 scheduled retirements with 8080-MW of capacity, for a net reduction of 5846-MW of nuclear generation. During that timeframe, two more states will go nuclear-free (MA and OH), one state will reduce nuclear generation by nearly 40% (NY), and another by nearly 30% (PA).

WHMIS 2015: We're Almost There!

The multi-year WHMIS 2015 transition is getting closer to the deadline.  Now it's not too late to make sure that employers and workers are up to speed with courses and information to help them understand the system.

Remaining Transition Phases

Phase 2

From June 1, 2018 to August 31, 2018

Distributors can continue to sell, and those importing for their own use can continue to use, hazardous products with labels and (M)SDSs that are compliant with WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015.

During this phase, manufacturers and importers are required to only sell or import hazardous products with labels and SDSs that are compliant with WHMIS 2015. The transition to WHMIS 2015 for manufacturers and importers is now complete.

Phase 3

From September 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018

During this phase, manufacturers, importers and distributors are required to sell or import only those hazardous products that are complaint with WHMIS 2015. At this point, transition to WHMIS 2015 is complete for all suppliers.

Full Implementation of WHMIS 2015

By December 1, 2018, all suppliers and employers will be required to be in compliance with the new Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR).


CCOHS WHMIS 2015 online training and resources

  • WHMIS 2015: An Introduction provides a basic overview of the changes to WHMIS after its alignment with GHS. Free.
  • WHMIS 2015 for Workers provides worker education on the new WHMIS system, along with an exam and a certificate for those who complete it successfully.

For chemical suppliers


Free WHMIS 2015 Resources from CCOHS:

For WHMIS updates visit

#HaveYourSay On the Prevention of Harassment and Violence in the Workplace

he Government of Canada made a commitment to Canadians through Bill C-65 to help ensure that federally regulated workplaces, including Parliament Hill, are free from harassment and violence.

On July 24th, 2018, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, invited Canadians to voice their opinion on the proposed regulatory framework to be implemented should Bill C-65 become law.

All Canadians are welcome to participate in this consultation as your insights will help shape the new framework. You are invited to read  the consultation paper before completing the survey as it provides a comprehensive overview of the proposed regulatory framework.

For more information, follow the Labour Program on Twitter.

EPA Facts and Figures Report available and A to Z Directory!

Data Update to Facts and Figures Website and Fact Sheet
EPA has released its most recent Facts and Figures data on national municipal solid waste (MSW), which is for the year 2015. EPA published these data on its Facts and Figures about Materials, Waste and Recycling website and in a summary fact sheet, which includes new numbers, trends, charts and data tables. In 2015, 262.4 million tons of MSW, or trash, were generated. The per capita generation rate was 4.48 pounds per person per day. Of the MSW generated, approximately 68 million tons were recycled and 23 million tons were composted. In addition, 33 million tons were combusted with energy recovery and more than 137 million tons of MSW were landfilled. Since the passage of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in 1976, the recycling and composting rate has more than tripled to the current rate of 34.7 percent.
For more information: 

Also see the EPA A to Z Directory at this link:

EPA Extends Comment Period for Proposal to Reconsider RMP Rule Amendments

PAINT.ORGOn July 24, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register a notice of data availability and extension of the comment period for its May 30 proposed rule to reconsider the final Risk Management Program (RMP) amendments. The extension follows an inquiry from nonprofit EarthJustice, which questions 2017 RMP data that EPA collected from industrial facilities and used to roll back the RMP amendments.

EPA officially finalized the RMP amendments on Jan. 13, 2017; however, the effective date of the final RMP amendments was delayed several times, with the last one delaying the amendments until Feb.19, 2019. Since the final RMP amendments have not become effective yet, EPA is now proposing to rollback several provisions of that 2017 RMP rule. Among others, EPA is proposing to rescind amendments relating to third-party compliance audits, safer technology and alternatives analyses, incident investigations, and information availability to the public. In addition, EPA is also proposing to retain, modify, or incorporate some amendments relating to local emergency response coordination, emergency response exercises, and CBI protections. More information can also be found on EPA's website.

The agency is now accepting comments on its proposal through Aug. 23, 2018ACA is seeking member input on any concerns with EPA's latest proposal.

In general, EPA's RMP program applies to all stationary sources with processes that contain more than a threshold of a regulated substance. The program's elements are intended to prevent accidental releases and reduce the seve

rity of releases that occur. All sources must prepare and submit an RMP to EPA at least every five years. In addition,
RMP Program 3 facilities involve processes subject to OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) standard or are in one of the specified NAICS codes, such as chemical manufacturing. Together, PSM and RMP form the regulatory framework for prevention of catastrophic chemical accidents at fixed facilities. Several ACA companies have facilities subject to RMP requirements, particularly Program 3 facilities, which have the most stringent requirements. ACA's main concern with the 2017 RMP amendments was that the changes would not actually enhance chemical facility safety, but would instead create significant administrative burdens and higher compliance costs without commensurate benefits in safety.

In May 2017, ACA submitted comments to EPA in support of the agency's proposed rule to further delay the effective date of the RMP regulation. ACA underscored that during this proposed delay, the existing RMP regulations will remain in place, and noted that the already robust RMP requirements have resulted in a steady decline in reportable accidental releases over the past 20 years. From 2004 to 2013, EPA data shows that there were roughly 12,500 facilities subject to RMP. During that 10-year span, 92 percent of these facilities had no RMP reportable accidents. This decline in reportable accidental chemical releases is expected to continue under the existing RMP regulations.

The 2017 RMP rule amendments encountered extreme resistance since EPA first issued them in mid-January 2017. EPA stated that the amendments made to the final rule were aimed at modernizing RMP by (1) making changes to the accident prevention program requirements, (2) enhancing the emergency response and preparedness requirements, and (3) modifying the information availability requirements. However, numerous industry members and trade associations pushed back against implementation of these amendments.

Energy Department Releases Request for Information on Multi-Sector Uses of Hydrogen

DOE today's H2@Scale project kickoff meeting in Chicago, EERE's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Steven Chalk announced the release of a request for information (RFI) soliciting stakeholder feedback on opportunities to enable high volume production and multi-sector use of hydrogen.

Hydrogen is an energy carrier and a feedstock used in industrial applications today including petroleum refining, ammonia production for fertilizers, and steel production, and can also be used in fuel cells to generate power for homes or to drive cars, buses or trucks. With the help of this RFI, hydrogen use could be expanded and made more affordable across multiple applications such as energy storage, running large turbines at power plants, supporting grid flexibility and enabling baseload operation of nuclear plants, as well as increased renewable power generation.

The objective of this RFI is to assess the domestic resources compatible with large-scale hydrogen production, as well as to identify pathways to effectively leverage these resources for near- and long-term use in major industries. Responses to this RFI will provide DOE insight into the technical and economic barriers associated with these production pathways and end-uses to help establish a more focused and relevant H2@Scale research portfolio.

"The H2@Scale initiative is looking at ways that hydrogen can help make nuclear and fossil baseload plants more economical, and increase the flexibility and utilization of variable resources like solar and wind," said Chalk. "Greater use of all of our domestic energy resources increases the nation's energy security and resiliency."

This RFI supports the H2@Scale initiative vision to enable affordable, reliable, and secure energy through hydrogen production from domestic fossil, nuclear, and renewable resources and hydrogen utilization across multiple sectors.

RFI Topics include:

  • Domestic Hydrogen Supply Expansion/ Diversification
  • Demand-Sector Market Expansion
  • Leveraging Current Industries and Infrastructure
  • H2@Scale H-Prize Competition Concepts
  • Innovative Approaches for Enabling H2@Scale

Senate Passes Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018

PAINT.ORG: On July 26, the U.S. Senate approved the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018 by a voice vote with amendments offered by Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The measure now returns to the U.S. House of Representatives. If the House concurs with the Senate amendments, the legislation would be cleared for the president's signature. At this writing, the House hadn't scheduled action yet on this amended bill.

The bill, H.R. 4318, amends the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States to temporarily modify certain rates of duty for provisions recommended by the International Trade Commission (ITC) pursuant to the new process established in the American Manufacturing and Competitiveness Act of 2016. The legislation includes more than 1,600 products that were recommended by the ITC. The legislation, as approved by the Senate, contains several chemicals of interest to coatings manufacturers, including Industrial grade nitrocellulose and heat-curable epoxy resin mixture.

Through the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), Congress temporarily suspends or reduces tariffs on certain imports for three years. Most of these duty suspensions relate to chemicals or other inputs used by U.S. manufacturers, who assert that the tariff relief provided by the MTB helps reduce their manufacturing costs, thus making their products more competitive. The tariff changes contained in this bill will apply to goods imported or shipped 30 days after the bill's enactment.

Criteria for MTB consideration are that each duty suspension must be noncontroversial (e.g., no domestic producer or Member objects); revenue-neutral (foregone tariffs of no more than $500,000 per product in a calendar year); and administrable by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The MTB offers only temporary, not permanent, relief from tariffs, maintaining an incentive for companies to develop the capability to manufacture these products in the United States.

Congress passed the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 to establish an open and transparent process for consideration of the MTB. This bill established a three-step process that allowed companies to petition the ITC, an independent and non-partisan independent agency. The process begins with petitions from interested parties, after which, the public and the Administration provides comments to the ITC, which then conducts an analysis. Following that, the ITC issues a public report to Congress with its analysis and recommendations regarding products that meet the process bill's standards.

Jul 31, 2018

CARB investigation leads to nationwide recall of 500,000+ Cummins heavy-duty trucks

Owners of 2010–2015 model-year vehicles must replace faulty emissions components

SACRAMENTO – The California Air Resources Board announced today that 500,000 heavy-duty trucks manufactured by Cummins Inc. will be recalled due to excess emissions caused by defective catalysts. Cummins worked collaboratively with CARB on the voluntary recall which constitutes the largest such effort for heavy-duty trucks to date.

The excess emissions were discovered after CARB launched its new Heavy Duty In-Use Compliance program in 2016. The Cummins action marks the first major recall resulting from the program, in which subject vehicles are equipped with Portable Emissions Measurement Systems (PEMS) to measure truck emissions while operating on streets and highways under typical operating demands and conditions.

As CARB has done with light-duty vehicles (cars and pickups) for decades, it initiated a program in 2016 to bring private fleet-owned or rental trucks that had been operating for several years for testing. Initial readings of some of the Cummins engines revealed higher than expected emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a smog-forming pollutant. This led to more comprehensive testing by CARB.

The testing confirmed that the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems were defective, causing emissions of NOx to exceed state and federal standards. The same problem was found to affect about 60 "engine families" under the Cummins name found in a wide range of vehicles, from big-rigs, to larger pickup trucks and some buses.  An engine family is the basic unit that CARB and U.S. EPA use to identify a group of vehicles or engines for certification and compliance purposes.

"Increased vigilance and testing led directly to a positive result.  Our new heavy-duty in-use compliance program ensures that heavy-duty and other trucks already in operation meet the required emissions standards both in the lab and on the road," said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols.  "Our portable testing equipment tells us exactly how clean a truck is when it's actually operating in the real world: pulling a full load and driving on roads and through neighborhoods where people live."

After CARB shared the initial findings with Cummins, the company conducted its own testing to confirm the failures and agreed to institute a voluntary recall, ultimately affecting more than 800,000 vehicles, to replace the catalysts. This number includes about 232,000 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 vehicles with Cummins engines that had the same SCR defect. Recalls for those vehicles were approved in July 2016 and July 2017, respectively, and are already underway.

The trucks will be recalled in a two-phase operation. Starting in August 2018, owners of the 500,000-plus affected vehicles will receive letters with instructions on how to get their catalysts replaced or receive reimbursement for the cost of the replacement. The second phase begins in March 2019.  Replacing the catalyst is required for vehicle owners to renew their California DMV registration on most engine families.

It is noteworthy that the cause of the excess emissions was purely mechanical – the faster-than-expected degradation of the catalyst – and not the product of a 'defeat device' or cheating on tests as was the case with 2009-2015 Volkswagen 2 and 3–liter diesel-powered passenger cars and SUVs. The degrading catalysts also do not pose a safety issue, and do not affect current model year Cummins engine families.

CARB's in-use testing of the vehicles played a key role in identifying the problem.  Once Cummins was made aware of the issue, they cooperated with CARB and U.S. EPA and agreed to recall the full range of engine families, pay for all required repairs and reimburse owners who may have already paid for an SCR replacement.

"CARB plans to continue testing vehicles produced by other manufacturers to ensure California gets the emission reductions it needs so that all people have healthy air to breathe," said CARB Executive Officer Richard W. Corey. 

Following the recall, CARB and EPA will work together to ensure that the affected vehicles will meet all emissions standards.


Jul 27, 2018

California Wine Is Testing Positive for Radioactive Material from the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

ESQUIRE: French scientists just released a study that found trace amounts of radioactive material in California wines from 2011 that are a direct result of Fukushima—in case you had a taste for some slight radiation along with those tannins.

The scientists vaporized bottles of California cabernet and rosé from 2009 to 2012 and studied the ashes for levels of cesium-137, a man-made radioactive particle that you can't pick up from nature. Wine bottled after the 2011 nuclear incident had more cesium-137 than wines from before, The New York Times reports. Some had almost double the amount, swept across the Pacific Ocean in a radioactive cloud. 

A similar thing happened with European wine after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, as well as wine during the height of Cold War nuclear testing.

Don't worry: The radiation levels in the Napa wine are too low to be considered a health risk. The World Health Organization says that people are regularly exposed to more radioactive material than that which was found in food and drink outside Japan after Fukushima. (Ingesting too much cesium-137 can lead to cancer, though.) And California officials say there's no risk to California residents.

Read full at:

Jul 26, 2018

Agricultural nutrients targeted in Clean Lake 2020 bill and Kasich Executive Order

Recent actions by the Ohio legislature and Governor Kasich will affect the management of agricultural nutrients in Ohio. The Ohio General Assembly has passed "Clean Lake 2020" legislation that will provide funding for reducing phosphorous in Lake Erie. Governor Kasich signed the Clean Lake 2020 bill on July 10, in tandem with issuing Executive Order 2018--09K, "Taking Steps to Protect Lake Erie." The two actions aim to address the impact of agricultural nutrients on water quality in Lake Erie.

Read in browser »

U.S. EPA Region 5 fact sheets on ethylene oxide use and dry cleaner regulations

U.S. EPA Region 5 recently issued an update to their ethylene oxide fact sheet, which now includes a case study.  They have also developed a regulatory update for dry cleaners that includes recommendations for alternatives to percloroethylene (perc). 

Download the ethylene oxide fact sheet at 

Download the dry cleaning regulatory update at 

The next PFAS or BPA? Why businesses must get ahead of hormone-disrupting chemicals

GREENBIZ: American consumers are growing increasingly concerned about food safety and chemical hazards. Over the past 10 years, the market has shifted away from products containing bisphenol A (BPA) — previously found in baby bottles, sippy cups and food packaging — following widespread consumer demand for safer products. But BPA is not the only chemical of concern in the food supply that should be on the radar of sustainability professionals.

Meet the new BPA: phthalates and PFAS. 

Over the past year, a tidal wave of media and public attention has been paid to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals, and how they have contaminated the drinking water of millions of Americans coast to coast. But most major grocery, big box and restaurant chains may not realize that PFAS and another class of toxic chemicals called phthalates are hiding in the food and food packaging they serve to their customers every day, posing a hidden business liability to retailers and brands. Phthalates and PFAS are used in food processing, packaging and preparation. In fact, they're found in America's favorite brands of food products, despite that they pose notable hidden financial, legal, regulatory and reputational liabilities to businesses.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lacks the mandate, budget and political will to modernize our broken chemical safety system to address these chemicals. That's why the business community must lead once again, just like it did on BPA.

The opportunity to lead

Grocery stores have the market power and responsibility to meet rising consumer demand for safer food, especially in the absence of leadership by our federal government. We encourage these companies to develop proactive strategies to address the hidden hazards posed by phthalates and PFAS.

Over the last five years, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families has led the Mind the Store campaign to assist and encourage major retailers in improving the chemical safety of the products and packaging they buy and sell. Last year, our second annual "Retailer Report Card" graded 30 companies on their safer chemical policies and practices, including major grocery chains such as Kroger, Albertsons, Ahold Delhaize, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. This fall, we plan to release an expanded report card, which will evaluate an even greater number of companies, including additional grocery stores.

Along with our partners at the Environmental Health Strategy Center and Toxic-Free Future,  last month, we sent letters to over 75 of the nation's top grocery and restaurant chains, urging them to take action on phthalates and PFAS. Let's briefly examine the case for action.

Phthalates in the food supply — a major source of exposure

Eating food is the major way that most people are exposed to these hormone-disrupting chemicals, which many studies link to harm to reproductive health and brain development.

Daily exposure to phthalates poses an unacceptable cumulative health risk to women of childbearing age and young children, according to federal and academic scientists. Phthalates are industrial chemicals widely used to soften plastic (especially vinyl or PVC) and rubber, and in adhesives, inks, sealants, coatings and fragrance. Research shows that phthalates migrate into foods from every point along the supply chain: at the farm level, in processing plants, from food packaging and during food preparation.

Last year, The New York Times broke the story that processed macaroni and cheese was laden with phthalates, which led to a wave of media coverage, posing reputational liabilities to Kraft and other manufacturers. A recent study found that dining out was associated with the highest phthalate exposure among Americans, suggesting that materials used in food preparation in restaurants are an additional source of these chemicals.

Here's the good news: Safer alternatives to phthalates are widely available, effective and affordable. Surely if companies can get them out of vinyl flooring and toys, they can get them out of food contact materials.

PFAS, the highly fluorinated chemicals in food contact materials

PFAS includes some of the most long-lived chemicals known to science. They don't readily break down in the environment, may build up in our bodies and are highly mobile, enabling them to contaminate drinking water.

These highly fluorinated chemicals were commercialized without adequate data or safety assurance. Yet research links PFAS exposure to reproductive and developmental toxicity, harm to the liver and kidney and hormone disruption. The use of PFAS poses a long-term hazard and will continue to release problematic persistent chemicals into the air and drinking water for decades and centuries to come.

PFAS are widely used to impart resistance to grease, stains and water in food serviceware and packaging, textiles and other materials. A 2017 study found that 33 percent of fast food packaging tested still contained PFAS, where they can make their way into our food. Like phthalates, safer alternatives are available.

Read full at:

Jul 24, 2018

Climate Pollutants Fall Below 1990 Levels for First Time - Emissions down 13% since their 2004 peak while economy grew 26%

Emissions down 13% since their 2004 peak while economy grew 26%

Sacramento — The California Air Resources Board today announced that greenhouse gas pollution in California fell below 1990 levels for the first time since emissions peaked in 2004—an achievement roughly equal to taking 12 million cars off the road or saving 6 billion gallons of gasoline a year.

"California set the toughest emissions targets in the nation, tracked progress and delivered results," said Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. "The next step is for California to cut emissions below 1990 levels by 2030 – a heroic and very ambitious goal."

Under Assembly Bill 32 passed in 2006, California must reduce its emissions to 1990 levels (431 million metric tons) by 2020. The 2016 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory published today shows that California emitted 429 million metric tons of climate pollutants in 2016--a drop of 12 million metric tons, or three percent, from 2015.

"In California we see the impacts of climate change all around us, but our efforts to curb its worst impacts are on track.  We are well positioned to meet the challenge of the 2030 target," said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. "This is great news for the health of Californians, the state's environment and its economy, even as we face the failure of our national leadership to address climate change."

Senate Bill 32, signed in 2016, requires the state to go even further than AB 32 and cut emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030—the most ambitious carbon goal in North America.

The state's annual emissions inventory helps keep the state accountable for meeting its emissions reduction targets. Highlights from the inventory published today include:

  • Carbon pollution dropped 13 percent statewide since a 2004 peak; meanwhile the economy grew 26 percent.

  • Per capita emissions continue to be among the lowest in the country. They fell 23 percent from a peak of 14 metric tons per person (roughly equal to driving 34,000 miles) in 2001 to 10.8 metric tons per person in 2016 (roughly equal to driving 26,000 miles). That is approximately half as much as the national average.

  • Carbon pollution dropped 3 percent between 2015 and 2016—roughly equal to taking 2.4 million cars off the road or saving 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • The "carbon intensity" of California's economy – the amount of carbon pollution emitted per $1 million of gross state product – dropped 38 percent since the 2001 peak and is now one-half the national average.

  • California now produces twice as many goods and services for the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as the rest of the nation.

Electricity generation had the largest decline among the sectors. Emissions from this sector declined 18 percent in 2016, reflecting continued growth in renewable energy – such as solar, wind and geothermal – as a result of the state's Renewables Portfolio Standard, and a corresponding drop in natural gas generation. Solar electricity in all forms, including rooftop generation, grew 33 percent, while natural gas fell more than 15 percent.

Thanks to the carbon price signal created by the Cap-and-Trade Program that makes fossil fuel generation more expensive, cleaner out-of-state electricity is increasingly taking the place of fuels such as coal. This included more imports of hydroelectric power from outside the state, which grew by nearly 39 percent in 2016 thanks to abundant rainfall throughout the West Coast.

"Emissions may vary from year-to-year depending on the weather and other factors," said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. "However, this inventory demonstrates that our policies are working to incentivize GHG-free energy sources and ensure the state remains on track to meet its climate targets in 2020 and beyond."

The transportation sector, the state's largest source of greenhouse gases, saw a 2 percent increase in emissions in 2016 because of increased fuel consumption. But the state also saw cars and trucks use a record amount of biofuels – 1.5 billion gallons in all – as a result of the state's Low Carbon Fuel Standard. These low-carbon alternative fuels, consisting mostly of biodiesel, renewable diesel, and ethanol, avoided 14 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, compared to what would have happened if conventional fossil fuels had been used.

Emissions from the industrial sector – including refineries, oil and gas extraction, cement plants, and other stationary sources – fell 2 percent from 2015 levels, though emissions from refineries increased slightly.

California's primary programs for reducing greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 are the Renewables Portfolio Standard, the Advanced Clean Cars Program, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and the Cap-and-Trade Program. Additional programs address a variety of greenhouse gas sources. These include the Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Strategy, the Sustainable Communities Strategy and the Sustainable Freight Action Plan.

The 2030 Scoping Plan, adopted by CARB last year, lays out how these initiatives work together to reduce greenhouse gases to achieve California's 2030 target of 260 million metric tons and also to reduce smog-causing pollutants. This ambitious target will require California to more than double the rate at which it has been cutting climate-changing gases. Future reductions will occur against a backdrop of natural sources of GHGs which are increasingly variable because of the climate change California is already witnessing. Those variables include drought, reduced snowmelt runoff and larger and hotter wildfires, any one of which can affect the state's energy balance and emissions levels.

How the Inventory is Compiled

The annual statewide GHG emissions inventory is compiled using many data sources. The primary source is data directly reported to CARB by the largest facilities and companies under the Cap-and-Trade Program. These reports are verified by a CARB-accredited third-party verification body.

CARB also relies on statistical data from various state and federal government agencies in developing the statewide inventory. These agencies include the California Board of Equalization, Energy Commission, Department of Food and Agriculture and CalRecycle, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Geological Survey.   

The latest data for this inventory is from 2016. This is because the process for verifying and validating required reporting of emissions from all facilities under the Cap-and-Trade Program takes more than a year, and additional data undergoes rigorous vetting by other government agencies.

The greenhouse gas emission numbers above are stated in million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).  Scientists use carbon dioxide as the benchmark in comparing the potency of heat-trapping effects among all greenhouse gases. Consistent with international and national greenhouse gas inventory practices, global warming potential in a 100-year timeframe is used in the inventory.

Jul 23, 2018

New Forever Stamp Salutes First Responders

Dedication Ceremony at Montana Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center

First Responders Forever stamp


The firefighters, emergency medical professionals and law enforcement officers who serve our communities across the nation.


Honored on a Forever stamp at U.S. Postal Service first-day-of-issue ceremony


Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
11 a.m. (MDT)


Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center 
5765 W. Broadway St.
Missoula, MT 59808


Emergencies of various types occur in our communities every day, from crimes and medical incidents to accidents and fires. These critical situations require men and women who possess the training and knowledge to rescue the endangered, treat the injured, and restore safety and order. With this stamp, the Postal Service recognizes all first responders for their skill, dedication and uncommon bravery.

Note: The dedicating official will be Guy Cottrell, Chief Postal Inspector, U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Artist Brian Stauffer worked with art director and designer Antonio Alcalá and designer Ricky Altizer to create this stamp. Additional details will be provided before the ceremony date.

Jul 20, 2018

Black Lung rates Continue to Rise in U.S.

In the current issue of the American Journal of Public Health and via the reporting of Howard Berkes from NPR, we know the continued high rates of coal workers pneumoconiosis (CWP) is rising among American coal miners.

Jul 19, 2018

Energy Department Announces $3.6 Million in Machine Learning for Geothermal Energy

DOE - The Energy Department today announced up to $3.6 million for 4-6 projects that will focus on early-stage R&D applications in machine learning to develop technology improvements in exploration and operational improvements for geothermal resources. The rapidly advancing field of machine learning offers substantial opportunities for technology advancement and cost reduction throughout the geothermal project lifecycle, from resource exploration to power plant operations.

NIOSH Webinar Integrating Functional Outcomes with Clinical Measures

Integrating Functional Outcomes with Clinical Measures
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 10:00:00 AM PDT - 11:30:00 AM PDT
Join us for a special NIOSH Total Worker Health (TWH) and Center for Workers' Compensation Studies (CWCS) webinar on Tuesday, July 24, 1- 2:30 pm Eastern, in which Dr. Kathryn Mueller and Dr. T. Warner Hudson will explore the benefits of integrating functional outcomes with clinical process measures as a basic approach to patient care in the US.     The speakers will also:  •	Discuss the broad challenges to our health care system that make a transition to this new approach imperative  •	Examine the connection between medical care and disability,   •	Review research supporting a functionally based approach to health care, and   •	Describe a basic path that will make possible a shift of the US health care system toward the integration of functional and clinical process measures for patients.       Each year, millions of American workers develop health problems that may temporarily or permanently remove them from the workforce. Although most are able to work again after a brief recovery period, in approximately 10% of cases, workers incur injuries or illnesses severe enough to lead to prolonged or permanent withdrawal from the workforce. For individuals, life disruptions caused by serious illness or injury are compounded by the economic impact of being out of work. Although workers' compensation and other programs assist injured and ill workers, these programs do not fully cover economic loss and the health care costs brought on by functional impairment, nor can they begin to ameliorate the personal costs and burdens of significant life-disruptions.    By considering functional outcomes with Total Worker Health approaches in workplaces, organizations and occupational safety and health providers and practitioners may begin to better address the challenges faced by workers experiencing these injuries and illnesses. A preventive approach based in TWH concepts may help mitigate risk factors potentially affecting workers both on the job and at home.    Free Continuing Education credits for this event are pending.

Jul 18, 2018

OSHA Fixes Error Dating to 2016 Implementation of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Tracking Regulation

Following a review of the requirements put in place in 2016 regarding the "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses" regulation, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has taken action to correct an error that was made with regard to implementing the final rule.

OSHA determined that Section 18(c)(7) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and relevant OSHA regulations pertaining to State Plans, require all affected employers to submit injury and illness data in the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) online portal, even if the employer is covered by a State Plan that has not completed adoption of their own state rule.

The regulation, which took effect Jan. 1, 2017, requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms.

OSHA immediately notified State Plans and informed them that for Calendar Year 2017 all employers covered by State Plans will be expected to comply. An employer covered by a State Plan that has not completed adoption of a state rule must provide Form 300A data for Calendar Year 2017.  Employers are required to submit their data by July 1, 2018. There will be no retroactive requirement for employers covered by State Plans that have not adopted a state rule to submit data for Calendar Year 2016.

A notice has been posted on the ITA website and related OSHA webpages informing stakeholders of the corrective action.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

Jul 5, 2018

OSHA Occupational Chemical Database - FULLY Searchable!!!!

This chemical inventory is OSHA's premier one-stop shop for occupational chemical information. It compiles information from several government agencies and organizations. Information available on the pages includes:
  • Chemical identification and physical properties
  • Exposure limits
  • Sampling information, and
  • Additional resources.

OSHA Standards and Exposure Limits

Employers must comply with a number of standards where employees are potentially exposed to chemical hazards. These include OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limits PELs for about 400 substances, which can be found as follows:

  • General Industry: 29 CFR 1910.1000, Toxic and Hazardous Substances
    • Air contaminants and Z1, Z2, Z3 tables
    • 29 CFR 1910.1001 - 29 CFR 1910.1018
    • 29 CFR 1910.1025- 29 CFR 1910.1053
  • Construction: 29 CFR 1926.1101, Toxic and Hazardous Substances
    • 29 CFR 1926.1101 – 29 CFR 1926.1153
  • Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000, Toxic and Hazardous Substances
    • Substance-specific standards

OSHA's PELs are included in the "Exposure Limits" table for individual chemicals in the database. In addition, OSHA has separate substance-specific standards, which can be found in the "Notes" section of the "Exposure Limits" table.

Other OSHA standards that generally apply to hazardous substances include the Hazard Communication standard (1910.1200) and the Respiratory Protection standard (1910.134). Employers may also need to provide personal protective clothing (1910.132) where there is a potential hazard from skin contact with chemicals, or eye and face protection to guard against chemical splashes (1910.133).


New sustainable beverage tech could eliminate plastic bottles. Point of use product!!!

North Carolina-based Clear Water Manufacturing has launched a machine that can filter, fill and cap more than 300 bottles of water per one-hour cycle on-site at any location, including campuses, hotels, stadiums or in retail spaces.

Read on at


Target, Tesco, CVS to Require Environmental Impact Data from Suppliers through CDP

Source: Environmental Leader:

Target, Tesco and CVS Health have joined Walmart in an agreement to collect data from suppliers, through non-profit CDP, regarding their overall environmental footprint. By asking suppliers to report on their environmental footprint, the retailers aim to reduce environmental risk and cut carbon emissions in their supply chains. The retailers are three of the new companies that have joined in the supply chain initiative through CDP: the total number of companies now reporting through CDP marks more than a 15% increase from last year, when 99 organizations were requesting data.

....Joining the Ranks

Tesco, CVS Health, and Target join many of the world's leading companies in requesting supplier information through CDP. Others include Bank of America, Barclays, Dell, Imperial Brands, Juniper Networks, Microsoft, LEGO, L'Oréal, Novartis, NRG Energy, Phillips Lighting, Philip Morris International, Royal Phillips, the US General Services Administration, and Virgin Money Holdings.

In total, 115 organizations,representing a combined annual spend of more than $3.3 trillion – are now requesting data from over 11,500 suppliers. This is more than a 15% increase from last year, when 99 organizations requested data.