Jun 26, 2017

POWERFUL tool to connect to a wide range of government databases.

Today, all around cool internet thing IFTTT is hooking all kinds of useful public data into its powerful platform. With the launch of its new Data Access Project, IFTTT will add support for a broad selection of government agencies, organizations and research and cultural groups. That includes public data from federal and state government feeds on down to municipal transit information.

The new data streams have the potential to be all kinds of useful. In practice, that means every time there's a relevant new SEC filing, your Hue lights can flash green (or red, depending). Or you can get a text every time the State Department posts a travel warning. Or a Slack notification each time the Department of Defense posts an update. Or lots of things — infinitely configurable things, really.

Put simply, IFTTT lets you connect things to other things. It does this through easy to set up custom formulas, like "every time @techcrunch tweets, call my phone." These logic statements, all take the form of "if x happens, do y," hence the name If This Then That (IFTTT). IFTTT used to call these formulas Recipes but now they're calling them Applets, which is more confusing in our book but the functionality remains the same.

IFTTT's more than 40 new sources include:

  • Department of Labor
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Library of Congress
  • National Science Foundation
  • Energy Information Association
  • USA.gov
  • Pew Research Center
  • Department of Defense
  • Centers for Disease Control
  • Amtrak
  • Caltrain
  • Texas Legislature
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • American Civil Liberties Union

For IFTTT, the public data initiative stands to breathe some new life into a platform that in recent years is perhaps best known for letting you automate quirky things in your smart home. As a (really) long time IFTTT user, I have to say that it's an exciting and potentially very useful new direction. I fully expect to lose hours configuring my own public data streams in the coming days.

According to IFTTT CEO Linden Tibbets, the beauty of the service's new direction is that it can help users organize yet another kind of information that might otherwise be overwhelming and put it to good use.

"It's not that the information isn't out there — companies, governments, and institutions are releasing information all the time. But for the average person, it's overwhelming," said Tibbets.

"We've built out services whose data impacts people in very real ways: governments, agencies, non-profits, transits, and other institutions. Now people can easily find, and use, that information in brand new ways. We're excited to see the response, and plan to expand the Data Access Project with more services in the near future."

Apparently, this could be the tip of the iceberg for IFTTT's foray into helping people harness the power of public information that's already floating around.

"People are hungry for public data, especially when it comes to staying on top of the news and government," said Anne Mercogliano, IFTTT Vice President of Business Operations and Marketing. "Our IFTTT team kept seeing more and more amazing data resources out there and realized it was something we wanted to invest in and help build and bring onto the platform. We hope the Data Access Project is helpful for the average person, researcher, official and more."

Mercogliano notes that ProPublica's IFTTT channel saw a significant boost in interest after November 8, 2016. And in March of this year, IFTTT launched a collection of "Applets for activism" that sought to tap into that same phenomenon.

"Customizing your experience is at the heart of IFTTT and we want to ensure you're getting all of the data you need but in a way that works for your lifestyle," Mercogliano said. "The Data Access Project is an ongoing initiative for us and we're looking for any government, local agency or nonprofit to be a part of our project."

Interested groups can contact IFTTT at dap@ifttt.com to get started.

DHHS (NIOSH) Publication: The Myths of Respiratory Protection in Healthcare

Evidence from surveillance studies indicates gaps in hospitals' respiratory protection programmatic operations and healthcare workers' (HCWs) marginal compliance with respiratory protection recommended practices. Improper use of respiratory protective devices (RPDs) may expose HCWs to infectious respiratory illnesses. In this document, NIOSH addresses common myths related to respiratory protection and provides information to reinforce respiratory protection program administrator responsibilities and HCW knowledge concerning the proper use of these devices so that they can be prepared for the next public health emergency and best protect themselves in daily practice.

Preparedness through Daily Practice: The Myths of Respiratory Protection in Healthcare

Jun 22, 2017

Information about Laboratory Chemical Safety from the National Library of Medicine (NLM)

NLM Toxicology and Environmental Health Info
Chemicals accidents in academic and industrial labs are too common. Some of these accidents result from hazardous chemical reactions.The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has information about laboratory chemical safety.

The NLM National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) PubChem provides a new feature, the Laboratory Chemical Safety Summary (LCSS). These summaries have stability and reactivity information taken from the NLM Hazardous Substances Databank (HSDB). An LCSS offers easily accessible, helpful information for directors and instructors of research and teaching laboratories to help in the development and implementation of safe laboratory practices.

The NCBI Minute Webinar PubChem, a Source of Laboratory Chemical Safety Information shows how to access the LCSS to find the most relevant chemical safety information including flammability, toxicity, exposure limits, exposure symptoms, first aid, handling, and clean up. It can be viewed at

The NLM also provides selected links to information about lab safety.

CA-OSHA: Disinfectants Can Cause Asthma

Disinfectants are readily available and frequently used in many work settings, including schools, offices, health care, and manufacturing. However, disinfectants are pesticides, and many contain ingredients that can cause or trigger work-related asthma. People may not realize that products they commonly use, such as disposable wipes and common cleaners, often contain disinfectant ingredients. Disinfecting is often unnecessary, for example, for cleaning up a drink spill, a dusty workstation, or a muddy floor. Usually, cleaning with asthma-safer cleaners and microfiber is enough to keep a workplace clean and healthy.

May is Asthma Awareness Month, and employers and workers can read about how to prevent work-related asthma caused by disinfectants in new fact sheetspublished by the Work-Related Asthma Prevention Program (WRAPP) of the California Department of Public Health. WRAPP has found over 275 people in a variety of work settings who, when interviewed, linked their work-related asthma to disinfectants. One fact sheet was created for employers, and a second fact sheet for workers is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. They explain work-related asthma, how to prevent asthma from disinfectants, what to do if a worker experiences symptoms, and new requirements for disinfectant use in California schools and childcare.

Work-related injuries and illnesses are costly but preventable

Every year, thousands of California workers are injured on the job or become ill as a result of health hazards at work. These injuries and illnesses result in substantial costs. California's workers' compensation benefits paid in 2013 alone totaled $12.1 billion.

Worker injuries and illnesses are preventable; having the necessary data to understand them is the first step to helping workers stay safe and healthy. The California Department of Public Health's Occupational Health Branch calculates Occupational Health Indicators for California each year and has recently released a reportwith data from 2008 to 2013.

Important findings from the report:

  • In 2013, 396 workers died from injuries sustained on the job, and Hispanics accounted for 49% of the deaths.
  • Each year more than 100,000 workers lose work time from job injuries, and about 20,000 are hospitalized.
  • Over 1.7 million workers are employed in high-risk occupations where the rate of work-related injuries is more than twice the overall rate for U.S. industries.
  • Nearly 950,000 working adults report that their asthma was caused or made worse by their exposures at work, representing a significant opportunity to reduce the overall burden of asthma.

Please download the full report and share it widely with your networks to join our effort of making the workplace a safer and healthier place for all Californians.

Jun 15, 2017

The murky waters surrounding glyphosate - another view on Reuters 'Cancer agency left in the dark over glyphosate evidence'

The Reuters piece on glyphosate may shed light on one part of the current debate about glyphosate and the role of WHO's IARC. However, the lack of company transparency, problems with accessing raw data and the lobbying of industry groups to undermine independent agencies forms by far the biggest part of the problem facing public health researchers investigating pesticides and other chemicals. The chemical industry assault on IARCs wider monograph work has been well documented in the last couple of years and would appear to be pretty crude. This is very much 'Doubt is their Product' territory.
 
Below are 4 examples of how this may be happening and why researchers like Portier for example challenge the evidence base for glyphosate safety used by ECHA and EFSA. It is very much the other side of the 'transparency' coin.
 
(1)"EU declared Monsanto weedkiller safe after intervention from controversial US official. Exclusive: European Food Safety Authority dismissed a study linking glyphosate to cancer following counsel with an EPA official allegedly linked to the company and who figures in more than 20 lawsuits…"
 
(2)Inconvenient data buried as 'confidential business information.'
"The key ingredient in the most widely used herbicide in the world, Roundup, is stirring up controversy again.
A new analysis of previously confidential data has revealed serious errors in the supposedly scientific justification that glyphosate is safe.
The analysis comes from a real silverback in the environmental health field: Dr. Chris Portier, retired Director of the US National Center for Environmental Health and formerly the director of the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. He finds that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemical Agency (EChA) missed eight instances where statistically significant increases in tumors occurred in animals exposed to glyphosate.
Portier was only able to obtain access to these data, which had been submitted for review by Monsanto, because in 2016 members of the European Parliament requested that the data be made available for public scrutiny. This request—and the delayed release of the data in the first place—was necessary because the data had been considered confidential information by EFSA and EChA.

From Portier's letter:
In these additional analyses, I found eight significant increases in tumor incidence that do not appear in any of the publications or government evaluations presented by both EFSA and EChA.

He also observes:
Transparency is an important aspect of the scientific process and I applaud EFSA for allowing limited access to the raw data from the animal studies of glyphosate. However, scientific rigor is required and the tumors identified in Table 1 may be interpreted as a failure by the agencies involved in these assessments to carefully review and analyze all of the available data before rendering a decision that there is no evidence that glyphosate is carcinogenic to humans".
 
(3)WHO agency targeted by Monsanto lobby group over glyphosate cancer link.
 
(4)"The American Chemistry Council is a trade group representing a long list of corporations that produce and work with synthetic chemicals, from ExxonMobil to Eli Lilly to Monsanto. The trade group has a history of enthusiastically defending the safety of various chemicals and lobbying health agencies to do the same.
On Wednesday, the American Chemistry Council announced the launch of its new campaign, one that it claims will promote "Credibility in Public Health Research," or CAPHR for short. The target of the CAPHR campaign is the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, the same agency that had listed glyphosate as a carcinogen".

"In particular, CAPHR will seek reform of the International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) Monographs Program, which evaluates the carcinogenic hazard of substances and behaviors," writes the American Chemistry Council in a press release. "IARC's Monographs Program suffers from persistent scientific and process deficiencies that result in public confusion and misinformed policy-making."

Jun 13, 2017

EPA Honors Winners of the 2017 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

Innovative Technologies Spur Economic Growth, Reduce Costs, and Decrease Waste
 
Contact Information:
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov )
 
WASHINGTON (June 8, 2017) - The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recognizing landmark green chemistry technologies developed by industrial pioneers and leading scientists that turn potential environmental issues into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development.
 
"We congratulate those who bring innovative solutions that will help solve problems and help American businesses," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These innovations encourage smart and safe practices, while cutting manufacturing costs and sparking investments. Ultimately, these manufacturing processes and products spur economic growth and are safer for health and the environment."
 
The Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners will be honored on June 12 at a ceremony in Washington, DC. The winners and their innovative technologies are:
 
Professor Eric Schelter, University of Pennsylvania, for developing a simple, fast, and low-cost technology to help recycle mixtures of rare earth elements. Reducing the costs to recover these materials creates economic opportunity by turning a waste stream, currently only recycled at a rate of 1%, into a potential revenue stream. About 17,000 metric tons of rare earth oxides are used in the US annually in materials such as wind turbines, catalysts, lighting phosphors, electric motors, batteries, cell phones, and many others. Mining, refining, and purification of rare earths are extraordinarily energy and waste intensive and carry a significant environmental burden.
 
Dow Chemical Company, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, in partnership with Papierfabrik August Koehler SE, Germany, for developing a thermal printing paper that eliminates the need for chemicals used to create an image, such as bisphenol A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS). Thermal paper is used broadly throughout the world for cash register receipts, tickets, tags, and labels. This technology reduces costs by creating records that do not fade, even under severe sunlight, allowing the original document to be preserved for long term storage. The paper is compatible with thermal printers currently in commercial use around the world.
 
Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, New Jersey, for successfully applying green chemistry design principles to Letermovir, an antiviral drug candidate, that is currently in phase III clinical trials. The improvements to the way the drug is made, including use of a better chemical catalyst, increases the overall yield by more than 60%, reduces raw material costs by 93%, and reduces water usage by 90%.
 
Amgen Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, in partnership with Bachem, Switzerland, for improving the process used to manufacture the active ingredient in ParsabivTM, a drug for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in adult patients with chronic kidney disease. This improved peptide manufacturing process reduces chemical solvent use by 71%, manufacturing operating time by 56%, and manufacturing cost by 76%. These innovations could increase profits and eliminate 1,440 cubic meters of waste or more, including over 750 cubic meters of aqueous waste annually.
 
UniEnergy Technologies, LLC (UET), Mukilteo, Washington, in partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), for an advanced vanadium redox flow battery, originally developed at the PNNL and commercialized by UET. The battery, when used by utility, commercial and industrial customers, allows cities and businesses more access to stored energy. It also lasts longer and works in a broad temperature range with one-fifth the footprint of previous flow battery technologies. The electrolyte is water-based and does not degrade, and the batteries are non-flammable and recyclable, thus helping meet the increasing demand of electrical energy storage in the electrical power market, from generation, transmission, and distribution to the end users of electricity.
 
During the 22 years of the program, EPA has received more than 1600 nominations and presented awards to 114 technologies that spur economic growth, reduce costs, and decrease waste. The agency estimates winning technologies are responsible for annually reducing the use or generation of more than 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals, saving 21 billion gallons of water, and eliminating 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent releases to air.
 
An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute formally judged the 2017 submissions from among scores of nominated technologies and made recommendations to EPA for the 2017 winners. The 2017 awards event will be held in conjunction with the 21st Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference.
 
More information: www.epa.gov/greenchemistry

Jun 12, 2017

Energy Department Announces $3 Million for High Performance Computing to Advance Clean Energy Manufacturing

The Energy Department announced up to $3 million in available support for manufacturers to use supercomputers at the department's national laboratories to tackle major manufacturing challenges. The High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) Program enables the use of high performance computing (HPC) expertise and resources for the manufacturing sector to address research and development challenges with HPC and investigate its use to support advanced energy and manufacturing issues.

Full Story

Jun 8, 2017

DEA and NIOSH Guidance Documents on Fentanyl

DEA has just published a new guidance document for first responders to protect against exposure to  fentanyl or one of the analogues:
 
NIOSH has a document first posted last year :
 
Of note in the NIOSH document is recommended use of a 5 mil glove and a P-100 mask.

Jun 7, 2017

EPA Further Delays Implementation of Final Rule for Wood Composite Formaldehyde Emissions

(PAINT.ORG) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has once again pushed back the implementation date for its final rule that limits formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. In a direct final rule, the compliance dates for the rule set the emission limits, recordkeeping, and labeling requirements for March 22, 2018, instead of Dec. 12, 2017; importers of articles made with composite wood products, such as furniture or kitchen cabinets, must certify the articles comply by March 22, 2019; and laminated products producers have one additional year, until March 22, 2024, to comply with the emissions.

Prior to this delay, implementation had been pushed back following the White House "regulatory freeze" memo.

EPA on Dec. 12, 2016 published in the Federal Register its final rule that limits formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products and establishes a process by which companies will use third parties to certify compliance with the formaldehyde emission standards. EPA's announcement followed a four-month long delay since its pre-publication notice on July 27. The pre-publication notice was mostly consistent with 2009 limits that California's Air Resources Board began to phase in. California's limits range from 0.05 part per million (ppm) to 0.13 ppm, depending on the product covered.

The final rule addresses formaldehyde, which the agency says can irritate the skin, eyes, nose, and throat following short-term, relatively low exposures. EPA says elevated exposures may cause some cancers.

The final rule mandates composite wood products that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured, or imported into the United States to be labeled as Title VI compliant under the Toxic Substances Act (TSCA). These products include hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard as well as household and other finished goods containing these products.

The Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products Act of 2010 established emission standards for formaldehyde from composite wood products and directed EPA to finalize a rule on implementing and enforcing many provisions covering composite wood products.

Formaldehyde may be released from adhesives that are used in a wide range of wood products, such as some furniture, flooring, cabinets, bookcases, and building materials including plywood and wood panels. Exposure to formaldehyde can cause adverse health effects including eye, nose and throat irritation, other respiratory symptoms, and cancer.

EPA is setting testing requirements to ensure that products comply with those standards, establishing eligibility requirements for third-party certifiers, and establishing eligibility requirements for accreditation bodies to be recognized by EPA that will accredit the third-party certifiers. The final rule includes certain exemptions for products made with ultra-low formaldehyde or no-added formaldehyde resins and new requirements for product labeling, recordkeeping, and enforcement provisions.

Additional provisions, including recordkeeping requirements, apply to importers, distributors, and retailers, which includes dealers selling recreational vehicles, mobile homes, and building materials.

There is, however, some variation between the national rule and California's, one of which is that EPA requires recordkeeping for three years compared to California's two-year requirement. EPA is also requiring importers to provide certification of their compliance with the rule within two years, and the agency requires manufacturers to disclose emissions test results to their direct purchasers upon request.

Additionally, companies that make or import laminated hardwood plywood products are not automatically exempt, as they are from California's requirement. Under EPA's final rule, while some laminators will qualify for exemptions, others must comply within seven years.

Jun 6, 2017

Free digital edition of “Occupational Safety and Health Online. How to find reliable information”.

The book is an introduction on how to find the highest quality occupational safety and health (OSH) information online, and is a useful tool for education and training, research and evidence-based practice. It is recommended he book for PhD and Master's students as well as for postgraduate education of OSH professionals: occupational physicians, safety experts, occupational health nurses, hygienists, psychologists and ergonomists. The book is appropriate for continuing medical education (CME) and continuous professional development (CPD). See  https://shop.ldoh.net/shop/occupational-safety-health-online-e-book/

The book can be downloaded as a common working tool by course participants, a group of OSH professionals-in-training or researchers. Authors and co-authors are Frank van Dijk, Yohama Caraballo-Arias, Jos Verbeek, Carel Hulshof and Paul Smits, all international experts in the field.



Jun 1, 2017

Initial Release of the 2016 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) Data

EPA is releasing initial data collected under EPA's Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule from the 2016 CDR reporting period. This initial release of the 2016 CDR data includes national production volume, other manufacturing information, and processing and use information, but does not include information that was claimed by the submitter to be confidential business information (CBI) or information that is being withheld to protect CBI.
 
EPA anticipates releasing additional data in FY 2018 after the completion of an ongoing CBI substantiation process required by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amended TSCA.
 
There are a number of changes since the 2012 CDR, including new information as a result of new lower threshold for reporting chemicals subject to certain TSCA actions and changes to processing and use reporting. CDR data is collected every four years, with the latest submission period ending on October 31, 2016. 
 
The CDR information collection is carried out pursuant to section 8 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Under the CDR rule, EPA collects basic exposure-related information on the types, quantities and uses of chemical substances produced domestically and imported into the United States. This information constitutes a comprehensive source of basic screening-level, exposure-related information on chemicals available to EPA, and is used by the Agency to help assess potential health or environmental effects of chemicals in commerce.
 
The 2016 CDR data is available via ChemView: https://java.epa.gov/chemview

May 31, 2017

ANNOUNCING $56.8 Million in FY17 Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants

EPA is pleased to announce that 172 communities will receive 279 grants totaling $56.8 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Assessment and Cleanup Grants. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities through the assessment and cleanup of abandoned industrial and commercial properties and expand the ability of communities to recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new, productive reuses.

List of FY17 Grants Selected for Funding


Fact Sheets of All Selected Applicants

Women in Green Cleaning Free Webinar

Friday, June 2

1-2 p.m. Central Time

What are the unique challenges facing women in the cleaning industry? What are some of the ways women can help mentor and support each other to help grow the green cleaning movement? Let's take a look at these questions—and more—in this important discussion with some of Healthy Schools Campaign's strongest champions.

The Women in Green Cleaning panel will feature some of the most inspiring and hard-working women leading the field of green cleaning right now. Each woman will discuss her own career in the traditionally male-dominated cleaning industry, offering advice for how to overcome the unique challenges of the different areas in the field. Panelists will also discuss their reasons for supporting the green cleaning movement.

  • Diana Stewart, President, EnvirOx
  • Tracy Enger, Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Project Manager, EPA
  • Kim Thomas, Executive Director, Plant Services and Custodial Operations, Clarke County School District in Georgia
  • Shawna Cragun, Director of Custodial Services, Davis School District in Utah

We want to hear from you, too! Are you a woman in green cleaning? Whether you've been at this for decades, blazing your own trail, or if you're new to the game—please join us for this first-ever discussion of women in green cleaning. We will be leaving ample time in this webinar for questions and discussion from our network.


The Women in Green Cleaning panel will feature some of the most inspiring and hard-working women leading the field of green cleaning right now. Each woman will discuss her own career in the traditionally male-dominated cleaning industry, offering advice for how to overcome the unique challenges of the different areas in the field. Panelists will also discuss their reasons for supporting the green cleaning movement.
 
Women in Green Cleaning panelists include—
Kim Thomas, Executive Director of Plant Services and Custodial Operations at Clarke County School District in Georgia. Kim is a long-standing champion of the IAQ Tools for Schools program. To hear more about her stellar program, be sure to view the EPA IAQ Master Class webinar "Creating Healthy Indoor Environments in Schools: The Knowledge Network and Actions You Need." Click on this link to view this webinar and all of our webinars on-demand: www.epa.gov/iaq-schools/indoor-air-quality-master-class-webinar-series-calendar#register

Shawna Cragun, Director of Custodial Services at Davis School District in Utah. Meet Shawna on this webinar, then dive into the details of her program on Thursday, June 22, during EPA's IAQ Knowledge-to-Action webinar "Green Cleaning for Improved Health: The Return on Investment of Green Cleaning in Schools."

Diana Stewart, President of Envirox. Diana will provide insight into Envirox's commitment to supporting student health and wellness through safer, healthier cleaning technology.

 

TOXIC CHOCOLATE: that 45 of the 70 chocolate products contain lead and/or cadmium above the safe harbor threshold of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986

As You Sow has conducted independent laboratory testing of 70 chocolate products for lead and cadmium. We found that 45 of the 70 chocolate products contain lead and/or cadmium above the safe harbor threshold of California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Based on these results, we have filed notices with 18 manufacturers, including Trader Joe's, Hershey's, Mondel─ôz, Lindt, Whole Foods, Kroger, Godiva, See's Candies, Mars, Theo Chocolate, Equal Exchange,  Ghirardelli, Earth Circle Organics, and more, for failing to provide the legally required warning to consumers that the products contain cadmium or lead, or both.

No level of lead is safe for children. Lead exposure has been a significant public health issue for decades. Lead is linked to a variety of neurological impairments, including learning disabilities, seizures, and a lower IQ. Developing fetuses and children are especially vulnerable to lead exposure because their brains are in critical growth and development stages.

"As underscored by the Flint disaster, humans have contaminated our environment with lead, and now we must do everything in our power to protect ourselves and our children, who are the most vulnerable of us, from every possible exposure," said Sean Palfrey, MD,  a pediatrician and Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health at Boston University School of Medicine. "Young children and pregnant women especially should avoid exposure to lead."

Cadmium can cause damage to the kidney, liver, and bones, while also impairing neurobehavioral development. Lead and cadmium are both listed under the act as reproductive toxins.

California law ensures consumers receive warnings before they are harmed. To protect consumers, companies should take immediate steps to remove these toxic heavy metals from their products or, at a minimum, to provide consumers with warnings according to Proposition 65. If the heavy metals are not removed, people need to be informed so they can protect themselves and their families.

Read full at:

http://www.asyousow.org/our-work/environmental-health/toxic-enforcement/lead-and-cadmium-in-food/

May 30, 2017

FREE Webcast on Injury & Illness Recordkeeping @jjkeller

Injury and Illness Recordkeeping 9-1-1: Status of the revised rule

Tuesday, June 6th 10:00 AM Central Time

(11:00 ET, 9:00 MT, 8:00 PT) – Register Now!

OSHA has significantly revised its Injury and Illness Recordkeeping requirements, which will affect the recordkeeping experience for the majority of employers.

But the core of what an employer must do has not really changed.  You must still evaluate each injury and illness for its recordability according to OSHA's criteria in Sections 1904.5 through 1904.7, and log it within seven working days of finding out about it. You're still required to keep and maintain the OSHA 300 Log for each establishment that is required to keep records, and fill out and post the 300-A Summary by February 1st each year.

There have been significant changes as well. These may affect post-incident drug testing policies in your workplace and incentive programs which are tied to your incident rates.

This webcast will present a clear picture of:

• the status of the rule changes, 

• electronic reporting of injuries and illnesses, and 

• employer responsibilities under OSHA's Part 1904 Injury and Illness Recordkeeping rules

May 26, 2017

DERMaL ETool Kit for HAZMAT emergency preparedness responders, incident commanders, and other emergency management professionals

The DERMaL eToolkit provides emergency preparedness responders, incident commanders, and other emergency management professionals a resource library of references and information related to dermal (skin) exposure to chemicals.

Each resource was reviewed and rated by a team of subject matter experts in the emergency management field. This ensures the most relevant resources (according to selected criteria) are displayed at the top of the list.

To begin, click on the incident phase you are currently in, or choose...

Browse All Resources

 

Learn more about the DERMaL eToolkit, by viewing these publications. A dermal checklist for assessing risks during response activities involving chemicals (PDF, 205Kb) (adapted from Dotson et al.) contains key questions to ask during a risk analyses (i.e., risk assessment, risk management).

The EPA's Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) is seeking nominations for qualified scientists.

The EPA's Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) is seeking nominations for qualified scientists. The BOSC provides scientific and technical advice to EPA's Office of Research and Development. Environmental anthropology is highlighted as a "desired expertise" they are seeking. Applications are due June 30, 2017. 

Apply online at https://www.epa.gov/bosc

May 24, 2017

EPA To Host Finance Forum for Drinking Water Systems on July 26

The EPA's Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Finance Center, in collaboration with the Environmental Finance Center at UNC  and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, is hosting a finance forum for drinking water systems. The forum will take place on July 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Marriott Shoals Hotel in Florence, Alabama. 

Water utilities generally get most of their revenue from user charges. In order to ensure proper funding of utilities, it is critical that small water systems fully understand both rate setting and long-term fiscal planning. Systems should understand how policy decisions that promote economic development or conservation can impact revenues and aim to set rates that promote utility priorities while recovering the full cost of operation.
 
The forum will help ensure the financial stability of your water system while providing safe, quality drinking water at fair rates. Topics include many aspects of financial management and planning of a water system fund including rates and rate setting, controlling costs, planning for capital expenses, benchmarking financial performance, and collaboration between nearby small systems.
 
This forum is designed for drinking water systems serving 10,000 or fewer people, especially targeting local government systems facing financial challenges. Owners of privately owned systems, consultants and technical assistance providers serving small water systems are also invited to attend, provided that there is space.This forum is being offered at no cost to participants.
 
Small drinking water systems in the following eight Region 4 states are invited to register:  Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.  The forum has been submitted for CEUs to the various states. Register for the forum here.

May 23, 2017

Free Webinar: Group Lockout Techniques that Work

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 12:00 pm Central 

Many lockout accidents occur because one person unknowingly triggers machinery startup or a release of stored energy that injures other people working in associated danger zones. What accident investigations usually determine as a root cause is that each participating worker did not adequately protect themselves with personal control of the energy sources that hurt them. Group lockout would have made the difference.

This webinar discusses several scenarios of how hazardous energy accidents happen and how failure to communicate and insufficient or no personal lockout protection can lead to an accident. We will look in-depth at OSHA requirements for group lockout. And we will also cover a number of best-practice group lockout strategies based on ANSI Z244.1 that apply to all exposed workers, regardless of the scale of the work being performed. From simple 2- or 3-person tasks, to complex multi-employer project sites, group lockout solutions will be discussed to provide everyone the ability to participate in protecting themselves from the dangers of unexpected machinery activation or process flows.

 

REGISTER NOW!
Presenter

TODD GROVER has more than 30 years of experience as a practicing safety professional and EHS manager and has a business degree in administrative management. Grover also holds an Advanced Safety Certification through the National Safety Council and is an OSHA-authorized instructor for both the general industry and construction 10- and 30-hour courses. He worked with a wide range of industries to prepare numerous lockout policies and detailed procedures, develop company-specific compliance training, and perform accident investigations. Grover has represented dozens of employers during lockout-related OSHA citation cases. He has worked with control of hazardous energy lockout/tagout since the inception of the OSHA 1910.147 standard and is currently a participating member of the ANSI Z244.1 committee on control of hazardous energy, as well as a delegate to the U.S. PC283 committee contributing to the upcoming ISO 45001 Global Standard for Occupational Health and Safety.

Committed to making safety work through a continuous improvement strategy, Grover provides a solution-driven practical approach to accident prevention, risk management and meeting compliance requirements.

Free Webinar for Risk Management: A Hands-on Approach & Transition Experiences

Join Violet Masoud, Director of Sales, MSC for DNV GL Business Assurance, North American and Jason Teliszczak, CEO/Founder of JTEnvironmental Consulting, Inc. as they delve into how risk based thinking pertains to the ISO 9001:2015 standard. They will break down the key changes and highlight, from their recent experiences, best practices with a focus on risk management implementation.

Topics to be covered include:
• Risk Based Thinking
• Risk Management Implementation
• Examples of risk and proper documentation process
• Risk Mitigation
• Transition Strategies

Thursday, May 25, 2017 9:00 am 
Pacific Daylight Time (San Francisco, GMT-07:00) 

 (Register)

Free Webinar on OSHA’s silica rule to implement controls and work practices that reduce workers’ exposure to silica dust.

OSHA's silica rule is one of the biggest impact standards the agency has set in years. The rule significantly reduces the amount of silica dust that workers can be exposed to on the job. That means that employers will have to implement controls and work practices that reduce workers' exposure to silica dust. This webinar will cover the following important issues:


•      Overview of the newly published rule

•      Post-rule challenges

•      Implication of challenge on compliance efforts

•      Practical tips on what employers should do



Can't attend live? Register to view the webinar on-demand!

May 19, 2017

Liberty Mutual @LibertyMutual end safety research, “will result in a major loss for the occupational safety and health field."

ISHN: An institute whose research has had a tremendous impact on worker safety over the past six decades is closing its doors – and safety advocates aren't happy about it.

The Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, founded in 1954, has announced that peer-reviewed research will end and nearly four dozen scientists and researchers will be laid off when the program ends on June 6.

Bad timing
Thomas CecichAmerican Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) President Tom Cecich, CSP, CIH  said the closure "will result in a major loss for the occupational safety and health field."

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor at OSHA Jordan Barab said the closure "couldn't come at a worse time," noting that budget cuts to NIOSH and other occupational safety agencies under the Trump administration signal a lessening of support for health and safety research going forward.

From carpal tunnel to opioid abuse
Institute researchers have studied workplace injury and illness prevention, vehicle safety, opioid abuse, repetitive motion injuries, disability management and have developed innovations in prosthetic limbs and safer car steering columns.

The Institute also produces data on the costs of injury and illness in the workplace. The 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index estimated that workplace injuries and accidents that cause employees to miss six or more days of work cost U.S. employers $59.9 billion in 2014. The top five injury causes (led by overexertion, same-level falls and falls to a lower level) accounted for 64.8 percent of the total cost burden.

Barab blames the closure on changes in the workers' compensation market caused by lobbying by employers and trade associations to reduce premiums and by states eliminating requirements that companies carry traditional workers' comp insurance...

"We've seen safety programs work in keeping people alive and healthy on the job while improving a company's bottom line, but the evidence still is mostly anecdotal. That scientific body of research needs to be expanded."

Read full from Source:

May 17, 2017

Free EPA Webinar - The Resilient Business: Disaster Preparation through Pollution Prevention

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Webinar - The Resilient Business: Disaster Preparation through Pollution Prevention

Wednesday June 7, 2017, 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. EDT

Could your business cope with a major flood, snowstorm, or power failure? Do you use hazardous chemicals? Surveys show that many businesses have not prepared for disasters by taking precautions such as emergency planning, having adequate insurance, & arranging for emergency power. This webinar for Massachusetts businesses will show you how to manage hazardous chemicals safely so that they are not at risk of release during a flood or other natural disaster. Registrants will receive a presentation with links to on-line resources. Learn how to:
  • use online maps to quickly find out if you are in a floodprone area,
  • determine your elevation & assess your flood risk onsite,
  • reduce risk & save money by switching to less hazardous chemicals & using energy more efficiently,
  • comply with regulations for managing hazardous wastes & materials, &
  • find financing & technical assistance.

Speaker Agenda:
  • Roy Crystal, EPA Region 1 - The Resilient Business: Disaster Preparation through Pollution Prevention
  • Tiffany Skogstrom, Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance – Online Maps & Resources for Disaster Preparation & Toxics Use Reduction in Massachusetts
  • Brenda Mirabile, FM Global – Onsite Assessment of Flood Risk & How to Reduce It

Register here:

A second webinar covering these topics will be scheduled during the summer.

International Reports Call for Global Phase Out of Pesticides

Several heavy-hitting, international reports have surfaced in recent years, highlighting the serious impact agricultural chemicals are having on human health, including but not limited to the following:

According to a recent United Nations (UN) report,35 pesticides are responsible for 200,000 acute poisoning deaths each year, and chronic exposure has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer'sParkinson's diseasehormone disruption, developmental disorders and sterility.36

The latest USDA report on pesticide residues in food reveals only 15 percent of all the food samples tested in 2015 were free from pesticide residues, compared to 41 percent the previous year.37 This goes to show just how quickly our food is being poisoned, and how significant a source food is when it comes to chemical exposures.

According to Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno,38 founding president of the internationally recognized Bastyr University, toxins in the modern food supply are "a major contributor to, and in some cases the cause of, virtually all chronic diseases."

The answer, the UN report says, is reducing or eliminating pesticides around the world. It proposes a global treaty to phase out toxic pesticides and transition to a more sustainable agricultural system. Contrary to industry PR, many studies have confirmed pesticide use can be significantly reduced without impacting production:39

A World Health Organization (WHO) report warns environmental pollution — which includes but is not limited to pesticides — kills 1.7 million children annually. To address this problem, the authors recommend reducing or phasing out agricultural chemicals

A report by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics40 warns that chemical exposures, which includes pesticides, now represent a major threat to human health and reproduction41,42

An Endocrine Society task force has also issued a scientific statement43,44 on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs, i.e., chemicals that alter the normal function of your hormones), noting that the health effects are such that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them.

On the list of known EDCs are organophosphate pesticides and DDE, a breakdown product of DDT. Since it lingers in the environment, exposure still occurs via food even though DDT is no longer in use.

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals costs the European Union (EU) €157 billion ($172 billion) annually in women's health care costs, infertility and male reproductive dysfunctions, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurobehavioral disorders45,46,47

One in 5 cancers are thought to be due to environmental chemicals and, according to recent studies, not only can miniscule amounts of chemicals amplify each other's adverse effects when combined,48 this even applies to chemicals deemed "safe" on their own.

Basically, the analysis49 found that the cumulative effects of non-carcinogenic chemicals can act in concert to synergistically produce carcinogenic activity — a finding that overturns and more or less nullifies conventional testing for carcinogens 

May 12, 2017

Upcoming RCRA Changes and How They’ll Affect Your Business (Final Rule officially goes into effect on May 30)

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the law that oversees the proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste, is seeing some major updates go into effect on May 30, 2017. A majority of the rules within RCRA are from amendments made in 1984 so this marks the first time in over 30 years that we're seeing major changes that affect our clients.

In total, there are over 60 changes implemented through the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. It reorganizes the regulations to make it easier to understand and address ambiguities in an effort to improve compliance throughout the business community. Additionally, the updates provide greater flexibility for hazardous waste generators to manage waste in a cost-effective manner through episodic generation and Very Small Quantity Generators of Hazardous Waste – Large Quantity Generators (VSQG-LQG) consolidation provisions.

Here are some of the main changes that may affect your business.

  • Clarifications have been added to require waste determinations be accurate.
  • Confirmation is included regarding when a generator's hazardous waste determination must be made.
  • Additional information has been added on how to determine if a solid waste is either a listed and/or characteristic hazardous waste.
  • It identifies what waste determination records must be kept.
  • Requirements have been made for small quantity generators (SQGs) and LQGs to identify and mark RCRA waste codes on containers prior to sending hazardous waste off-site.

Preparing for the Compliance Date

Again, the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Final Rule officially goes into effect on May 30, 2017. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees RCRA, has information available on their website regarding the updates.



Lea HenselSOURCE: About the AuthorLea HenselCommunications and Marketing CoordinatorIowa Waste Reduction Center, Business and Community Services

May 10, 2017

DHS Provides Answers to Industry Questions on Chemical Security Assessment Tool

(PAINT.ORG) In September, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched "CSAT 2.0," which is a revised CSAT (Chemical Security Assessment Tool) Top-Screen, along with a revised Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) application, and a revised Site Security Plan (SSP) application. The agency believes these changes to its Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program could result in companies spending 90 percent less time using DHS' Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) and 70 percent less time operating the Site Security Plan (SSP) application.

DHS subsequently began issuing facility-tiering notifications based on the CFATS enhanced risk-tiering methodology in April of this year.

The Chemical Sector Coordinating Committee (in which ACA is a member) recently questioned DHS about this new SVA/SSP format — specifically inquiring about 5 questions that the process asks regulated facilities to answer — and requested that DHS' Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD) clarify its expectations for how regulated facilities should respond.  The five questions related to the following:

  • Q 2.50.010 Detection Measures and Identified Vulnerabilities
  • Q 2.50.020 Delay Measures and Identified Vulnerabilities
  • Q 2.50.030 Response Measures and Identified Vulnerabilities
  • Q 2.50.040 Cyber Security Measures and Identified Vulnerabilities
  • Q 2.50.050 Policies, Procedures, and Resources and Identified Vulnerabilities

According to DHS's Office of Infrastructure Protection (part of the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division, or ISCD), "the SVA — specifically including these questions —  is designed to help facility personnel understand their current security posture and identify gaps in current security. For each of the five questions, facilities should describe the security posture and potential vulnerabilities related to the measure (detection, delay, response, cyber, or policies, procedures, and resources). For example, for detection measures, the facility should provide high-level descriptions of the protective measures that are in place to monitor the perimeter and/or critical asset(s) and to detect attacks at early stages. These measures may include some combination of personnel or protective force monitoring through stationed positions or roving patrols, intrusion detection systems (IDS), lighting, and/or closed circuit television systems (CCTV)."

The direction from ISCD went on to say that after describing the current detection security posture, "a facility should use this information to identify any gaps or vulnerabilities in its posture. For example, potential vulnerabilities may include access points to the perimeter and/or critical asset(s) not currently covered by a method of detection."

ISCD noted that the best source of additional information on what should be included for the five questions at issue begins on page 7 (Adobe page 21) of the Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT) 2.0 Security Vulnerability Assessment/Site Security Plan Instructions issued on March 29, 2017, and which may be found here.

Under the 2006 law establishing the CFATS program, chemical facilities possessing more than a threshold amount of specific explosive, toxic, or other "chemicals of interest" have been required to complete a "top-screen," notifying DHS that they possess such chemicals on site. Once a facility submits its top-screen, DHS can direct the facility to submit an SVA, and based on that document, then assign the facility to one of four tiers based on the potential security threat on site, an action that triggers a requirement to submit an SSP (or an Alternative Security Plan, or ASP) to DHS for authorization and approval.

Per DHS, approximately 9,000 updated Top-Screens have been received from the 27,000 facilities that have reported holdings of chemicals of interest (COI) at the screening threshold quantity. ACA's members own and operate paint, coatings, resin, and chemical manufacturing facilities that are potentially subject to the CFATS provisions, and many ACA members have previously submitted Top-Screens identifying COI and have been assigned preliminary or final tiers by the department. As a result, a number of ACA member companies have become subject to the CFATS Risk-Based Performance Standards.

Source: http://www.paint.org/cfats-csats/