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 www.osha.gov.

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.

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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.

Web resources could assist chemical risk management

NIEHS News: Two new papers describe publicly accessible web-based tools for exploring environmental chemicals and predicting their risk. These resources will help health policymakers to make faster and more accurate decisions about chemical safety and the need for remediation efforts.

The Conditional Toxicity Value (CTV) Predictor, was described in the May issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. The tool's web portal allows users to rapidly obtain chemical toxicity values, which are predicted using a collection of statistical models.

The second tool was reported May 22 in the journal Bioinformatics. The ChemMaps.comwebserver allows users to easily browse, navigate, and mine chemical space. ChemMaps.com includes DrugMap, which lists more than 8,000 drugs, and EnvMap, which lists more than 47,000 chemicals of relevance to NIEHS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"For environmental chemicals, we can now visualize the areas of chemical space where we have safety data and where there are clusters of toxic or nontoxic chemicals," said Nicole Kleinstreuer, Ph.D., co-author of the ChemMaps study. Kleinstreuer is the deputy director of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM).

"[This will] facilitate green chemistry applications, help prioritize allocation of testing resources, and allow predictions on new chemicals," she explained.

Source: https://factor.niehs.nih.gov/2018/7/science-highlights/chemical_risk/index.htm

Jun 27, 2018

EPA Highlights Permit Streamlining Success

In support of the Trump Administration's efforts to expedite infrastructure projects, EPA's Smart Sectors program released a video, Best Practices in Permitting, highlighting best practices in environmental permitting. The video, which was developed to encourage replication for other permitting projects, features The Boeing Company, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (S.C. DHEC), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), The Nature Conservancy, Open Space Institute, and Lowcountry Land Trust.

"A streamlined permit process, as called for by President Trump, is beneficial for both the environment and the economy," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "The best practices outlined in this video advance the President's One Federal Decision Memorandum for critical infrastructure projects and can help American job creators save time and resources while accelerating and improving environmental protections."

"Administrator Pruitt has set an ambitious goal of improving the Agency's permitting timelines to six months or less," said EPA Chief Operating Officer Henry Darwin. "As we pursue that goal, we want to highlight those who have worked together to obtain permits on a shorter timeline, so others realize this is doable and are encouraged to pursue similar success."

"Developed as a helpful resource for organizations that want to make infrastructure improvements, this video and story map marks the first of many Smart Sectors products designed to illustrate a collaborative process for achieving economic and environmental success," said EPA Office of Policy Acting Associate Administrator Brittany Bolen.

When Boeing decided to secure additional land for future growth in Charleston, South Carolina, the company identified 468 adjacent acres that met its needs. Because about 150 of those acres were wetlands, Boeing worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and EPA Region 4 to secure air and wetlands permits for development.

Just over six months after submitting the permit applications, Boeing received the permits to expand. One major component of the company's comprehensive mitigation plan involved protecting wetland and upland resources that are next to the Francis Marion National Forest. The mitigation plan included restoration and enhancement of aquatic resource functions and habitat improvements on nearly 4,000 acres of land, which will expand the green belt around Charleston. The land will eventually be turned over to the U.S. Forest Service and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, providing the public with access for hiking, bird watching, and other recreational activities. 

The wetlands mitigation plan benefits the community, water quality, wildlife, and threatened and endangered species. From a regulatory perspective, it also helps maintain and improve the Cooper River watershed by fully offsetting adverse impacts to aquatic resource functions associated with the expansion of the existing aircraft manufacturing and assembly complex.

The streamlined process showcased in the video supports President Trump's One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding – signed by 12 federal agencies in April – directing the establishment of a coordinated and timely process for environmental reviews of infrastructure projects. The video also underscores EPA's goal to reach permitting-related decisions within six months by Sept. 30, 2022. The video was developed by EPA's Smart Sectors program, which works with the aerospace industry and 13 other sectors of the economy to better understand the challenges and opportunities surrounding regulated industries.

For more information about EPA Smart Sectors: https://www.epa.gov/smartsectors

Jun 26, 2018

EPA's Notice of Propose Rulemaking for Clean Water Act Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention

On June 15, 2018, a proposed regulatory action to establish no additional regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 311(j)(1)(C) authority for CWA hazardous substances (HS) discharges prevention was signed by EPA's Administrator. EPA based this proposal on a review of existing regulations and analysis of the frequency and impacts of reported CWA HS discharges. The purpose of this action is to notify the public of EPA's proposed approach and provide an opportunity for public comment.

Jun 15, 2018

University of Utah Site Selected for $140 Million Geothermal Research and Development

Department of Energy Selects University of Utah Site for FORGE
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the University of Utah will receive up to $140 million in continued funding over the next five years for cutting-edge geothermal research and development. After three years of planning, site characterization, and competition, the proposed site outside of Milford, Utah, has been selected as the location of the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) field laboratory. This new FORGE site is dedicated to research on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), or manmade geothermal reservoirs.

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Jun 8, 2018

Regulatory Alert: e-Manifest User Fee Final Rule is effective June 30, 2018.

Regulatory Alert: The e-Manifest User Fee Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on January 3, 2018, and is effective June 30, 2018.

The new 5-part form cannot be used until June 30. As soon as EPA approves the form, it will be available for order and begin shipping.

The current 6-part form must be used through June 29 and is prohibited from use after June 29, except as provided by EPA in the following: "EPA will accept Page 1 copies of the obsolete 6-copy forms for processing after June 30, 2018, but we strongly recommend that users transition to the 5-copy forms as quickly as possible. If a user wishes to continue to use the obsolete 6-copy forms, they should undertake measures to minimize confusion in their use, such as applying a pre-printed adhesive label to the top copy with the accurate copy distribution language ('designated facility to EPA's e-Manifest system'). Facilities should train their manifest personnel to inspect manifests carefully to ensure they are routed properly during the time any of the obsolete manifests remain in use."

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Jun 6, 2018

Much Needed: OSHA Participates in National Committee to Improve Safety Culture in Healthcare

OSHA was one of 24 organizations to participate in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's efforts to develop a national strategy for reducing hazards for healthcare workers. The agency joined the National Steering Committee for Patient Safety, which includes members from the healthcare, policy, regulatory, and advocacy communities. See OSHA's healthcare page for resources on keeping workers safe.

June 12 is National Forklift Safety Day!

National Forklift Safety Day, sponsored by the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), will be recognized on June 12 in Washington, D.C., and workplaces nationwide. Throughout the day, forklift manufacturers will highlight the safe use of forklifts, the importance of operator training, and the need for daily equipment checks. ITA works with OSHA through an Alliance to provide training seminars for OSHA inspectors, and develop safety materials. For these and other resources to share on National Forklift Safety Day, visit OSHA's forklift webpage.

Reminder: General Industry and Maritime Silica Standard Effective June 23

General industry and maritime employers must comply with OSHA's silica standard by June 23, except for phase-in dates for medical surveillance and for engineering controls in the oil and gas industry. Visit the silica webpage for guidance on complying with the standard, as well as information on silica sampling and analysis, health effects of silica exposure, and answers to frequently asked questions from OSHA QuickTakes:

New China policies spark disarray in recycling industry - “This is an international crisis. We just can’t absorb these costs.”

Buried in the mountains of refuse at Casella's recycling plant in Charlestown are tons of material that should have gone straight to the landfill — from tires and pots to lobster buoys and garden hoses — items that can gum up the machines and taint the byproducts ultimately sold as commodities.

The increasing amount of such non-recyclable waste entering processing plants has sparked a backlash in the countries that convert the material into useful products, most notably China, which used to process the vast majority of US recyclables before it cracked down on what materials it would accept this year.

...Since the new policy went into effect on Jan. 1, US exports of recyclable material to China have plunged.

Now, with 400 tons of new material coming in every day — only about half of which they can recycle 

....With the rise of single-stream recycling, many residents have become less conscientious about what they deposit in recycling bins, with everything from bowling balls to Christmas lights fouling up the machines at sorting plants, 

In Braintree, where the cost of recycling has risen from about $4 a ton last year to $47, local officials are worried about what will happen in the coming months.

"It's already having a big impact, but it keeps going up," said Rosemary Nolan, the town's solid waste and recycling coordinator. 
"We've been told it could go up to $200 a ton."

If the costs continue to rise, she worries the town may have to cut other services, such as education or transportation projects.

"It's insane what has happened," he said. "This is an international crisis. We just can't absorb these costs."

Read full by David Abel 

Follow him on Twitter @davabel

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Jun 1, 2018

Salmonella Infections Linked to Chicken Distributed by Ruby's Pantry Pop-up Location

Four people in two states have become ill

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), Minnesota Department Agriculture (MDA), and local health departments are investigating at least four cases of salmonellosis affecting three Wisconsin residents and one Minnesota resident. All four of the patients received frozen breaded chicken products at a Ruby's Pantry pop-up location before their illnesses. Specifically, a raw breaded chicken product, that may look fully cooked, was distributed to Ruby's Pantry patrons without cooking instructions or labels stating that the product was raw.

Anyone who received any unlabeled chicken products from any Ruby's Pantry location(link is external) is advised to either discard any remaining product or cook it to an internal temperature of 165ºF. These products may be raw even if they appear cooked. Ruby's Pantry is cooperating with investigators and has voluntarily agreed to not distribute any unlabeled chicken products.

Raw chicken products can be contaminated with Salmonella or other pathogens. When handling raw chicken products, it is important to take steps to protect you and your family.

The following tips are recommended for the safe handling of raw poultry.

  • Wash hands and surfaces often when handling raw poultry.
  • Separate raw meats and poultry from other foods in the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerate or freeze raw poultry promptly after purchasing.
  • Cook all raw poultry to an internal temperature of 165ºF.
  • Always follow manufacturer's instructions provided on product packaging.
  • Place cooked poultry on a clean plate or platter before serving.
  • Report suspected food poisoning to your local health department.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on safe handling of raw breaded chicken products(link is external)on its food safety webpage.

Salmonellosis is caused by Salmonella bacteria that are spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or by direct or indirect contact with fecal matter from infected people or animals. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pains, fever, and vomiting that lasts for several days. Bloodstream infections can occur, but are rare, and can be quite serious in the very young and older people. Most people recover from salmonellosis on their own, but may require extra fluids to prevent dehydration.

If you have consumed chicken from a Ruby's Pantry and are experiencing symptoms of salmonellosis, contact your health care provider. Ill consumers in Wisconsin should also contact their local health department and ill Minnesotans should contact the Minnesota Department of Health.

Source: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/news/releases/060118.htm

May 31, 2018

ISO 45001: A New Standard in Global Occupational Health and Safety

In a global economy where your suppliers can be across town or half way around the world it can be difficult to determine if those businesses are adhering to the same health and safety standards that you are. Think of the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh in 2013 when 1,129 people were killed when the 8-story factory where they were working collapsed due to structural issues that had gone ignored. Though the global companies that bought the clothing made in this factory may have had their own safety standards, processes and programs, they had little control over the conditions and health and safety practices of the factory thousands of kilometers away.

To combat the problem, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed and released the new standard, ISO 45001:2018, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, which provides a set of processes for improving workplace practices globally. It is intended to help organizations of all sizes and industries improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks, and create better, safer working conditions all over the world.

ISO is a United Nations recognized non-governmental organization that works in 162 countries. This standard was developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts and takes into account other international standards such as the internationally applied OHSAS 18001 standard for occupational health and safety management systems, the International Labour Organization ILO-OSH Guidelines and the ILO's international labour standards and conventions. The ISO 45001 will replace OHSAS 18001, the world's former reference for health and safety.

Who it's for

The new standard is applicable to all organization, regardless of size, industry or nature of business. It provides government agencies, industry and other affected stakeholders with guidance for improving worker safety in countries around the world. It can help organizations provide a safe and healthy work environment for workers and visitors by continually improving their occupational health and safety functions.

Key Elements

The system takes a risk-based approach and encourages proactive prevention through the identification of activities and processes that can harm workers as well as meet legal compliance requirements. Additionally, there is an emphasis placed on the responsibilities of senior management. The system can't work without their commitment and key role in the system's implementation, maintenance, development, and promotion. This active role played by management can help to embed the management system into the culture and day-to-day operation of the business. Worker involvement is fundamental in the system's implementation through their participation in decision making, evaluating procedures and providing feedback.


This management system provides a structured approach to protecting workers.

Potential benefits from the use of the standard include:

  • Eliminating or minimizing risks
  • Reduction of workplace accidents
  • Reduced absenteeism and staff turnover
  • Reduced cost of insurance premiums
  • Creation of a health and safety culture, whereby employees are encouraged to take an active role in their own occupational health and safety
  • Reinforced leadership commitment to proactively improve occupational health and safety performance
  • Ability to meet legal and regulatory requirements
  • Improved staff morale through commitment to safety and encouraging participation

Supply Chain

Under ISO 45001, when production is outsourced, the parent company's occupational health and safety standards must be applied. This means that companies that have traditionally outsourced difficult and dangerous activities to locations where the cost of production is lower and labour laws are lenient will no longer be able to do so. Suppliers and subcontractors must apply the same standards as the principal business so that the parent company stays in compliance. Adopting ISO 45001 requires that an organization assess its safety standards throughout their entire supply chain to prevent accidents.

Certification and compliance to ISO 45001 is not mandatory but is a way to provide valid proof that a contracting or outsourcing organization adheres to the same standards as its host or client. The steps involved in adhering to the standard can facilitate continuous improvement and this recognized certification can help support business expansion into global markets and ensure that the safety standards adhered to at the organization's home are followed by suppliers, regardless of location.



May 16, 2018

EPA extends deadline to apply for $5.5 billion in water infrastructure projects loans.

WASHINGTON  –– Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced at a meeting with water sector associations that the deadline to submit letters of interest for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans has been extended to July 31, 2018. Administrator Pruitt also sent a letter highlighting the deadline extension to governors of 56 states and territoriesas well as tribal leadership.

"By extending the deadline to apply for a WIFIA loan, even more entities will be able to bring critical water infrastructure improvements to their communities, including projects that keep lead and other contaminants out of drinking water," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These projects create jobs, protect public health, and help ensure that all Americans continue to have access to clean and safe water."

EPA's announcement comes as part of Infrastructure Week and highlights the importance of working together with the water sector on a variety of topics, including affordability, governance, and the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs).

Also in conjunction with Infrastructure Week, the Agency released a new interactive website that showcases leading efforts by states, public water systems, and communities to replace lead service lines.


Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in the nation's water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. WIFIA can provide up to 49 percent of the financing for a project and a state SRF could provide additional financing for the remaining eligible project costs. The WIFIA program received $63 million in funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 23, 2018. 

On April 4, 2018, EPA announced the availability of additional WIFIA funding that could provide as much as $5.5 billion in loans, leveraging over $11 billion in water infrastructure projects. This year's WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability highlights the importance of protecting public health, including reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants in drinking water systems and updating the nation's aging infrastructure.

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May 9, 2018

Free Webnar on Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality Assessment and Monitoring Trends

Stay up-to-date with outdoor and indoor air quality and monitoring trends. When:  Tue, Jun 5, 2018 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM CST
 Webinar will cover: - legislation governing air quality in the U.S. and Europe; - how the air quality compares in the two regions; - basics of the major pollutants and main industrial sources; - outdoor air quality assessment by industry; - indoor air quality assessment; and - how to choose an air monitoring device. Who should attend: - managers responsible for air emissions compliance; - Environmental Health & Safety personnel; and - anyone responsible for indoor and outdoor air quality; cities, municipalities, organizations.

Register here:

May 8, 2018

EPA announces applicants selected for FY18 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants

EPA is Pleased to Announce the Selection of $3.3M in FY18 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Funding

EPA is selecting approximately $3.3  million in grant funding to 17 communities across the country to recruit, train, and place unemployed and underemployed individuals with the skills needed to secure long-term employment in the environmental field. Each recipient will receive funds to develop and operate environmental job training programs that advance environmental justice by providing opportunities for residents living in areas impacted by contaminated lands. EPA EWDJT grants Transform Lives and Advance Economic Opportunities. Local residents will secure employment within their communities conducting brownfields remediation, Superfund cleanup, wastewater management, solid waste recycling and cleanup, integrated pest management, chemical safety, solar installation, and other environmental work.

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May 7, 2018

EPA Releases Five-Year Review of the 2012 Recreational Water Quality Criteria

The EPA has released its Five-year Review of the 2012 Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC), as required by the BEACH Act amendments to the Clean Water Act (CWA). The review report describes the state of the science since the release of the 2012 RWQC, related to the protection of human health in water bodies designated for primary contact recreation (e.g., swimming) in these areas:
  • Health studies;
  • Indicators and performance of qPCR methods;
  • Microbial source tracking;
  • RWQC implementation tools; and
  • Criteria adoption by states, territories and authorized tribes.

Based on the EPA's review of the existing criteria and developments in the available science, and consistent with CWA Section 304(a)(9)(B), the EPA has decided not to revise the 2012 Recreational Water Criteria during this review cycle. The Agency believes, however, that further research and analysis as identified in this report will contribute to EPA's future review of the 2012 RWQC. The EPA will work with the environmental public health community as it moves forward with its research efforts. The use of qPCR and ongoing research in methods and indicators continue to strengthen and augment the tools available to support the current criteria.

May 4, 2018

Fire Surge: Why Are We Witnessing A 93% Increase In Waste & Recycling Facility Fires In First 4 Months of 2018

.............March's number of 37 fire incidents is not only one of the highest months on record but is more than the number of fires that occurred in both March of 2016 and 2017 combined. March 2018 could merely be an anomaly. But then comes April. Aprils's number of 36 fire incidents is not only one of the highest months on record as well but is more than the number of fires that occurred in both April of 2016 and 2017 combined.
The Scope of the Problem:
In the past 12 months, we have seen 347 unique reported waste and recycling facility fire incidents in the US & Canada. When you factor in my extremely conservative assumptions that we are under-reporting waste and recycling facility fires by about 5:1, (Source:https://www.linkedin.com/post/edit/how-many-recycling-fires-have-occurred-us-canada-within-ryan-fogelman) we are looking at a reasonable number of fire incidents in the US and Canada at 1700+.
In the same time period (May 2016-Apr 2017) we encountered 277 waste and recycling facility fire incidents in the US and Canada. Using the Environmental Research & Educations Foundations data, EREF's Municipal Solid Waste In The US, published in 2016: In 2013 there were 3,913 recycling facilities and 81 WtE facilities. That would equate to 40% of Waste & Recycling Facilities have had a "Fire Incident" in the past 12 months, increasing from the 30% I had shared at WasteExpo in 2017. I realize this number might seem high to some, but when put in the context of Rumpke's reporting, of 12 fires in 2017 reported in just two of their facilities, you can see the numbers start to add up quickly.

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Fukushima: Melted nuclear fuel still clinging to the walls where radiation levels are so high even robots cannot enter

INSIDE the heart of Fukushima's deadly reactor: JAW-dropping footage from the heart of the Fukushima nuclear disaster zone reveals the devastation inside its destroyed reactor. The scenes were captured by a camera attached to a 16-metre rod and inserted into reactor 2 at the doomed Japanese power plant.


Apr 30, 2018

Particulate Matter Assessment for Construction Activities

Particulate Matter Assessment for the Construction Industry

As the public is getting aware of the health implications of Dust/Particulate Matter and other pollutants, governments are expecting better pollutant management from industries. This guide provides a brief overview of a Dust pollution risk management plan for the Construction industry as well as some best practices to help mitigate the impacts.


Construction, an important industry for global economic growth, also contributes significantly to air pollution in the form of dust. Although the exhaust from the construction vehicles and machinery adds to the NO2 levels as well, its impact is not as strong as Dust.

In scientific terms, Dust is referred to as Particulate Matter or PM. Other than being an annoyance by soiling surfaces (explanation), PM has major health and environmental implications. The WHO and the governments all around recognize PM10 and PM 2.5 (size in microns)  among the most harmful pollutants. While the larger and heavier PM more commonly affect the construction site vicinity, the wind carries the lighter PM10 and 2.5 thus affecting people and vegetation miles away. Construction vehicles on the open ground further dissipate PM and carry it to farther distances.

PM is emitted at all stages of construction:

  1. demolition;
  2. earthworks;
  3. construction; and
  4. track out (The transportation of dust and dirt from the construction site onto the public road network, where it may be deposited or suspended by vehicles using the network).

The PM impact depends on factors such as the size of the construction site, duration of activity, weather conditions, the direction of the wind, proximity of people and vegetation, etc.

Harmful effects of PM

Health effects from some particles are immediate while others take years to develop. Particles greater than 10 microns cause eye, mouth, and skin irritations but PM10 and smaller are much more harmful. Europe and U.S. attribute hundreds and thousands of deaths every year to PM 2.5 and PM 10.

PM10 affects the upper respiratory system by aggravating asthma and bronchitis. PM 2.5 penetrates deeper into the respiratory tract, dissolves into the blood and compromises immunity. When dust originates from activities on a formerly contaminated site, PM10-2.5 combine with heavy metals present in soil and cause toxicity in addition. Lead and asbestos toxicity from PM is fairly common.

PM also affects the ecosystem by wilting plants as dust on leaves prevents photosynthesis.

Major construction projects over a long duration also increase the long-term PM10 concentrations in cities.

An effective assessment forms the basis of a well-planned and environment friendly construction.

But you can drastically reduce dust emission with proper measures. The mitigation controls depend on the effective assessment of dust emission prior to construction activities. An effective assessment forms the basis of a well-planned and environment friendly construction.

PM Assessment for construction

Source: Guidance on the Assessment of dust by Institute of Air Quality Management

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Apr 25, 2018

$54.3 Million in Brownfield Grants to Assess and Clean Up Brownfields

EPA is pleased to announce that 144 communities will receive 221 grants totaling $54.3 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) Grants to assess, clean up and redevelop underutilized properties while protecting public health and the environment. These funds will expand the ability of communities to recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new, productive reuses.

In addition, communities can use Brownfields funding to leverage considerable infrastructure and other financial resources. For example, EPA's Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund can be used, under certain conditions, to address the water quality aspects of brownfield sites and the assessment and construction of drinking water infrastructure on brownfields, respectively. EPA's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program may also serve as a potential source of long-term, low-cost supplemental financing to fund brownfields project development and implementation activities to address water quality aspects of brownfields.

FARMER Program to help farmers upgrade equipment, $135 million for purchase of cleaner agricultural trucks, pump engines, tractors and more

SACRAMENTO — Funds will soon be available to expedite the purchase and use of cleaner agricultural equipment to help farmers reduce their exposure to harmful diesel exhaust, improve local air quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the California Air Resources Board has announced.

The "Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions" (FARMER) Program provides $135 million for farmers to acquire cleaner heavy duty trucks, harvesting equipment, agricultural pump engines, tractors and other equipment used in agricultural operations.  The funds, available this summer, will be administered through California's regional air districts.

"Emissions from agricultural equipment are a significant source of air pollution, especially in the San Joaquin Valley.  Reducing that pollution is necessary to protect public health and meet air quality standards," CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey said.  "Although tough new engine standards are in effect now and will eventually lower emissions, most agricultural equipment lasts for decades.  We cannot wait for the older dirtier equipment to phase out naturally, so we are taking action to improve air quality sooner by helping farmers to buy cleaner farm equipment now. This will help improve air quality throughout the state, but particularly in the San Joaquin Valley which suffers from unacceptably high levels of fine particle pollution."

FARMER funding allocations come from proceeds from the state's cap-and-trade program ($85 million), the Air Quality Improvement Fund ($15 million) and the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Fund ($35 million). The California Legislature directed funds from these three sources to reduce emissions from the agricultural sector through grants, rebates and other financial incentives.

Because the San Joaquin Valley has the vast majority of California's agricultural operations and experiences the greatest negative health impacts from agricultural emissions, 80 percent of the funding — $108 million — will be distributed by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to farmers in the region.

Legislators placed special emphasis on purchasing vehicles and equipment that use advanced technologies such as clean diesel or electricity in order to accelerate improvements in air quality.

More Information

Apr 16, 2018

FREE Webinar: Taking Safety to the Next Level with Lockout Leadership

An April 17 EHS Today-hosted webinar, sponsored by The Master Lock Company

Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT (GMT -4, New York)
Duration: 1 Hour
Event Type: Live Webinar
Cost: Free

Register Today!


Summary:  Lockout tagout is perennially one of OSHA's top 10 violations and a leading cause of serious injuries in the workplace. What makes the difference in influencing workplace safety culture is a mentor-based leadership program. Lockout leaders perform hands-on training, day-to-day coaching, and effective inspections.  This can make the difference by reinforcing the routine incorporation of energy control strategies into each task where sudden startup hazards exist.

Key Points:

  • How hands-on training makes the difference when delivered by instructors embedded on the work floor
  • Why having knowledgeable coaches keeping an ongoing eye on lockout practices drives continuous improvement
  • How to turn auditing from a difficult chore to manage to an ongoing method of positive reinforcement
  • Why lockout leadership skills can be a great start for a much broader Safety Champion program

Apr 15, 2018

Sarcoidosis Among U.S. Navy Enlisted Men, 1965-1993

Sarcoidosis is a multisystem granulomatous disease of unknown etiology with highest incidence among young and middle-aged adults. In the United States, the risk for sarcoidosis is substantially higher among blacks than among other races (1,2); however, the reasons for this association are unknown. In response to the occurrence of a case of sarcoidosis in a U.S. Navy (USN) enlisted man, CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed USN data on cases of sarcoidosis diagnosed among active-duty enlisted personnel during 1965-1993. This report summarizes the findings of this analysis, which indicate that the incidence of sarcoidosis declined among USN enlisted men during 1965-1993, particularly among blacks, and that the risk for sarcoidosis was statistically associated with the assignment of USN enlisted men to aircraft carriers.

In 1974, a 21-year-old black enlisted man had sarcoidosis diagnosed based on a chest radiograph indicating bilateral hilar adenopathy without parenchymal disease; noncaseating granulomata were present on lymph node biopsy. He had a history of shortness of breath, cough, and chest and joint pain, which he related to his work of grinding antiskid materials from aircraft carrier decks during the preceding 2 years. He received a medical discharge for sarcoidosis in 1975. In 1987, physicians at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs diagnosed pneumoconiosis in this patient after mineral-dust deposits were identified in a lung biopsy; the mineral-dust deposits were attributed to the same work exposures aboard the aircraft carrier. In October 1992, the patient asked the USN to request NIOSH to investigate whether his sarcoidosis diagnosis and other cases diagnosed in persons with whom he had served in the USN may have been associated with environmental exposures during their USN service. Because of the possibility of an association between risk for sarcoidosis-like illnesses and environmental exposures during service in the USN and because the underlying cause(s) of sarcoidosis is unknown, in December 1992 the USN requested that NIOSH evaluate the potential relation between sarcoidosis and the USN work environment.

NIOSH obtained records from the U.S. Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) for all incident cases of sarcoidosis (defined as diagnosis of "sarcoidosis" by a USN health-care provider) identified among white and black enlisted men while on active duty at any time from 1965 through 1993 * (n=1121). Incidence rates were calculated using age-specific total denominator data for white and black enlisted men on active duty from 1971 through 1993 (denominator data were unavailable for the years before 1971). Numbers for other races were too small for meaningful analysis (no more than three incident cases of sarcoidosis were diagnosed among persons in any other racial category); women were excluded because none had been assigned to aircraft carriers -- an exposure of particular a priori interest -- during 1965-1993.

Apr 10, 2018

Cellphone Radiation Linked to Brain and Heart Tumors studies are reproducible

In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified cellphones as a Group 2B "possible carcinogen,"1 and the evidence supporting the theory that electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from cellphones can trigger abnormal cell growth and cancer2,3 just keeps growing and getting stronger.

In February, the findings of two government-funded animal studies4 were published. Curiously enough, the published interpretation of this $25 million research (conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), an interagency research program currently under the auspices of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) significantly downplays the actual findings of the studies.

Cellphone Radiation Linked to Brain and Heart Tumors

The NTP research includes two studies: one on mice and one on rats. Male rats were more likely to develop heart tumors, while female rats and newborns exposed to high levels of radiation during pregnancy and lactation were more likely to have low body weight. DNA damage and damage to heart tissue were also observed in both male and female rats, but not mice. Other types of tumors did occur in both types of animals, though, including brain, prostate, liver and pancreatic tumors.

According to the researchers, if these results can be confirmed, then cellphone radiation may indeed be a "weak" carcinogen. As you'll see below, that confirmation was delivered last month, in the form of published research by the Ramazzini Institute.

The animals in the NTP studies were exposed to cellphone radiation for nine hours a day for two years (basically the full life span of a rat). As noted by The New York Times,5 the heart tumors (malignant schwannomas) found in male rats are "similar to acoustic neuromas, a benign tumor in people involving the nerve that connects the ear to the brain, which some studies have linked to cellphone use."

The scientists also expressed surprise at the finding of DNA damage, as the conventional belief is that nonionizing radiofrequency radiation cannot harm DNA. "We don't feel like we understand enough about the results to be able to place a huge degree of confidence in the findings," John Bucher, Ph.D.,6 senior scientist at the NTP told reporters. Such statements fly in the face of warnings issued by NTP researchers two years ago.

NTP and Ramazzini Show Effects Are Reproducible

The NTP-funded studies found rats exposed to RF radiation began developing glial cell hyperplasias — indicative of precancerous lesions — around week 58; heart schwannomas were detected around week 70. Ramazzini's study confirms and reinforces these results, showing RF radiation increased both brain and heart tumors in exposed rats. This, despite the fact that Ramazzini used much lower power levels.

While NTP used RF levels comparable to what's emitted by 2G and 3G cellphones (near-field exposure), Ramazzini simulated exposure to cellphone towers (far-field exposure). In all, the Ramazzini Institute exposed 2,448 rats to 1.8 GHz GSM radiation at electric field strengths of 5, 25 and 50 volts per meter18 for 19 hours a day, starting at birth until the rats died either from age or illness.

To facilitate comparison, the researchers converted their measurements to watts per kilogram of body weight (W/kg), which is what the NTP used. Overall, the radiation dose administered in the Ramazzini study was up to 1,000 times lower than the NTP's — yet the results were strikingly similar. As in the NTP studies, exposed male rats developed statistically higher rates of heart schwannomas than unexposed rats.

They also found some evidence, although weaker, that RF exposure increased rates of glial tumors in the brains of female rats. As noted by Ronald Melnick, Ph.D., a former senior NIH toxicologist who led the design of the NTP study and current senior science adviser to the Environmental Health Trust:19

"All of the exposures used in the Ramazzini study were below the U.S. FCC limits… In other words, a person can legally be exposed to this level of radiation. Yet cancers occurred in these animals at these legally permitted levels. The Ramazzini findings are consistent with the NTP study demonstrating these effects are a reproducible finding. Governments need to strengthen regulations to protect the public from these harmful non-thermal exposures."

The NTP's conclusion that there's no cause for concern is also challenged by an independent review panel, which concluded its review of the two NTP studies March 28. According to this panel of experts, there's "clear evidence" linking RF radiation with heart schwannomas and "some evidence" linking it to brain gliomas. It remains to be seen whether the NTP will accept or reject the panel's conclusions in its final report.

Why Evidence of Rodent Schwannomas Could Spell Trouble for Human Health

As explained by Louis Slesin, Ph.D., editor and publisher of Microwave News, the increased incidence of schwannomas in rodents exposed to RF is no mere coincidence, and is of great concern for public health:20

"Schwann cells play a key role in the functioning of the peripheral nervous system. They make the myelin sheath, which insulates nerve fibers and helps speed the conduction of electrical impulses. There are Schwann cells just about everywhere there are peripheral nerve fibers. They are present in most organs of the body — whether mice, rats or humans. Schwann cell tumors are called schwannomas.

The NTP found schwannomas in many other organs, in addition to the heart, of rats chronically exposed to cellphone radiation. These included a variety of glands (pituitary, salivary and thymus), the trigeminal nerve and the eye … The NTP also saw schwannomas in the uterus, ovary and vagina of female rats. The brain has no Schwann cells —the brain is part of the central nervous system. There, glial cells play a similar function. In fact, Schwann cells are a type of glial cell …

Tumors of the glial cells are called gliomas. The NTP also saw an increase in glioma among the male rats exposed to GSM and CDMA radiation. Higher rates of glioma have been reported in a number of epidemiological studies of cellphone users. The other tumor linked to cellphone radiation in human studies is acoustic neuroma, a tumor of the auditory nerve … formally called a vestibular schwannoma.

While schwannomas and gliomas are commonly noncancerous tumors, they can develop into malignant schwannomas or glioblastomas … The implication is that instead of searching for consistency in RF's ability to cause cancer in specific organs, the emphasis should now be on specific cell types — beginning with Schwann cells in the periphery and glial cells in the brain."

Full information: