May 23, 2016

Expert EHS Webinar: New Rules Coming for Generators of Hazardous Waste in the US @jonathanbrun

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​Tue, May 24, 2016 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM CDT
Nimonik's regulatory analyst Sara Lipson will be giving an overview of the USEPA's proposed rule on hazardous waste generator improvements. These changes could affect as much as 550,000 entities that generate hazardous waste across the country, in all major industrial sectors.

This webinar will give you the information you need to understand
- How hazardous waste is regulated in the U.S.;
- What people who produce hazardous waste need to do with it; and
- What's going to happen to the hazardous waste generator rules.

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7602540537931169283
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One of world's largest solar plants to be used to produce ... oil

A rendering of the 36 glass modules containing the solar-powered steam flooding system being built in ...

In a real case of strange bedfellows, one of the largest solar plants in the world is being built in Oman to boil water for use in oil production rather than to generate electricity. The plant, dubbed Miraah and created by Glasspoint for Petroleum Development Oman, will eventually produce the equivalent of 1 GW of power and will replace a less energy efficient natural gas method currently in use.

.. Continue Reading / Gizmag Emerging Technology Magazine

May 19, 2016

40% Of Detroit Will Be Deprived Of Life Sustaining Water

UN Investigates Human Rights Violations

The United States has no moral authority to speak of "human rights" as an American "value" when it systematically deprives Detroit's Black poor population of water. "The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has begun shutting off water to 3,000 people a week, and could soon cut off access to drinkable water for 150,000 Detroit residents." Meanwhile, the city has decided not to disconnect businesses – or even a corporate-owned graveyard.

"These latest tactics are designed to induce forced relocations, a component of ethniccleansing that is sometimes politely and inaccurately called gentrification."

Usually crimes against humanity take place behind closed doors, in concentration camps, Abu Ghraib-like torture settings or Nazi Germany; not so in 83% Black Detroit, Michigan.  In the next few weeks, the international community will witness with eyes wide open the city of Detroit's blatant violations of human rights.  These crimes will be condoned and executed by Detroit officials with the full knowledge of the White House.

Access to water is considered a human right and access to safe and clean water is a core mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, 40% of the residents of Detroit will be deprived of the basic element of life: water.  Children will go to school without baths and senior citizens will be deprived of water to take medicine. Having lost confidence in a US national commitment to saving the lives of citizens, advocacy groups have begun to petition the United Nations for an emergency response.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), has begun shutting off water to 3,000 people a week, and could soon cut off access to drinkable water for 150,000 Detroit residents who have failed to pay recent water bills.

Detroit was one of the cities hardest hit by international trade agreements, such as NAFTA. Detroit is also a city targeted for ethnic cleaning of its African population to make space for white professionals. Once a thriving middle-class city, the union movement was crushed by the government and business executives determined to drive wages down. At the end of the day, these latest tactics are designed to induce forced relocations, a component of ethnic cleansing that is sometimes politely and inaccurately called gentrification.

"Advocacy groups have begun to petition the United Nations for an emergency response."

The forced relocation tactics have changed over the years, with contemporary methods eerily resembling Nazi-like strategies, such as deliberately poisoning urban and domestic water supplies, depriving children and households of life-maintaining and sustaining water and a decent education. Black communities – already traumatized by the removal and imprisonment of nearly one million African men and the murder by police of thousands of unarmed young men and women – have become soft targets for these unrelenting attacks.

The United Nations' Human Rights council criticized the United States for police violence and racial discrimination, the Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility and the continued use of the death penalty. Member countries criticized the US and recommended that it strengthen legislation and expand training to "eliminate racism and excessive use of force by law enforcement."

"I'm not surprised that the world's eyes are focused on police issues in the U.S.," said Alba Morales, who investigates the U.S. criminal justice system at Human Rights Watch. "There is an international spotlight that's been shone [on the issues], in large part due to the events in Ferguson and the disproportionate police response to even peaceful protesters," she said.

The recommendations from the Council seem tepid and dismissive of the scale of the violence towards African-Americans.  These same atrocities occurring in any other country outside the US, such as Bosnia or Syria would cause an international uproar and calls to prevent deaths from water deprivation and to provide international protections for the targeted group. But, the US is the major donor to the UN and plays a leadership role on the UN Security Council, making it virtually impossible for nations that would show solidarity to African-Americans to act through this institution. Nevertheless, UN member states do have a bully-pulpit to expose the human rights violations occurring in the US.

"Black communities have become soft targets for these unrelenting attacks."

However, when one considers the war-like tactics deployed against an unarmed civilian population, such as, deliberate state-sponsored poisonings, murders of unarmed civilians, forced relocations and imprisonment, one is left asking what part of genocide does the UN not understand?

And the beat of genocide escalates.

The Detroit People's Water Board, Food and Water Watch, Blue Planet Project, and Michigan Welfare Rights Organization submitted a comprehensive report to the U.N.'s special rapporteur that details the dire situation facing the predominately Black population of Detroit:

"Sick people have been left without running water and working toilets. People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe, and parents cannot cook…"  "(F)amilies concerned about children being taken away by authorities due to lack of water and sanitation services in the home have been sending their children to live with relatives and friends, which has an impact on school attendance and related activities."

Activists claim the city has been unfairly overcharging Detroit residents for water to compensate for its significant financial woes. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 38.1 percent of Detroit residents are living below the poverty line. Despite the tough times many people are facing, they've been paying an average of $64.99 a month, significantly higher than the national average of about $40, and rates are only going up. The Detroit City Council just approved a nearly 9 percent rate increase for water.

Three U.N. human rights experts issued a statement declaring that "disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights.

"Despite the tough times many people are facing, they've been paying an average of $64.99 a month, significantly higher than the national average of about $40, and rates are only going up."

"When I conducted an official country mission to the U.S. in 2011, I encouraged the U.S. government to adopt a federal minimum standard on affordability for water and sanitation and a standard to provide protection against disconnections for vulnerable groups and people living in poverty," said Catarina de Albuquerque, who is the U.N.'s special rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation. "I also urged the government to ensure due process guarantees in relation to water disconnection."

One of the experts, Leilani Farha, who focuses on the right to adequate housing, also pointed out the racial implications of shutting off water to the nearly 83 percent black population. "If these water disconnections disproportionately affect African Americans, they may be discriminatory, in violation of treaties the U.S. has ratified," said Farha."

These calls for justice are falling on deaf ears. While President Obama concedes that the poisoning in Flint "was a man-made disaster; this was avoidable, this was preventable," the President did not deploy with all due haste the full power of the federal government to solve this situation.  In fact, he primed the Flint community, in which over 8,000 children are suspected of being lead poisoned to expect that it may take additional two years before lead pipes are replaced. But, he left Flint on a positive note, asserting that "filtered water in the city was safe for anyone over the age of six."

"If these water disconnections disproportionately affect African Americans, they may be discriminatory, in violation of treaties the U.S. has ratified."

But not everyone is feeling the pain of water deprivation in Detroit. That kind of pain seems to be reserved for families and communities. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has decided not to pull the plug on businesses in the city.  Although the city claims that it started sending out notices about the disconnections in March, the report's authors write that they heard "directly from people impacted by the water cutoffs who say they were given no warning and had no time to fill buckets, sinks, and tubs before losing access to water."

"We really don't want to shut off anyone's water, but it's really our duty to go after those who don't pay, because if they don't pay, then our other customers pay for them," department spokesperson Curtrise Garner told Al Jazeera America. "That's not fair to our other customers."

Businesses owe hundreds of thousands of dollars but a decision was made not to disconnect the corporate community:

"According to a department list, the top 40 commercial and industrial accounts have past-due accounts totaling $9.5 million. That list includes apartment complexes, the Chrysler Group, real estate agencies, a laundromat and even a cemetery."

The only people who apparently are in denial regarding the blatant, surgical and genocidal attacks against them are unfortunately the targets of the attack. Perhaps, Black folks are hoping that US genocidal policy towards our community will be confined to Flint and Detroit. How else can you explain the silence and inaction of black communities across the country?


May 18, 2016

​Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica — Pre-release — Final Rule

Pre-release — Final Rule
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Occupational Safety and Health Administration
29 CFR Parts 1910, 1915, and 1926 [Docket No. OSHA-2010-0034] RIN 1218-AB70 Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica Correction In rule document 2016-04800 appearing on pages 16285-16890 in the issue of March 25, 2016, make the following corrections: § 1910.1000 [Corrected] (1) On pages 16861-16862, in §1910.100, Table Z-3-Mineral Dusts is corrected to read as set forth below: TABLE Z-3–MINERAL DUSTS

This is a pre-release version of this Final Rule. It will be formally published on May 18, 2016 in the Federal Register.

Visit the Federal Register for much more information.
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/05/18/C1-2016-04800/occupational-exposure-to-respirable-crystalline-silica

H.R. 1769, Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2016 veterans Protection Act

​H.R. 1769 would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish a national center to conduct research on health conditions affecting descendants of veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their service in the armed forces. The bill also would create an advisory board to oversee and provide support to the center. CBO estimates that implementing those provisions would cost $74 million over the 2017-2021 period, subject to appropriation of the necessary amounts. Another provision would require the Department of Defense (DoD) to review a potentially large number of records, with the goal of declassifying material related to the exposure of service members to toxic substances. CBO cannot provide an estimate of the cost of implementing that provision.


    


https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/costestimate/hr1769.pdf

May 13, 2016

EPA Tools for Enhancing Community Resilience to Disasters. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,

EPA Tools for Enhancing Community Resilience to Disasters. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_report.cfm?dirEntryId=311248

 

Purpose/Objective:

This inventory is intended to provide researchers and practitioners with information about available resiliency tools that they may distribute and use to help communities protect their resources and become more resilient to all-hazards. It also addresses further research needs and opportunities to continue advancing the science and practice of community resilience.


May 12, 2016

Decontamination Guidance for Chemical Incidents

A recently released HHS ASPR-sponsored study found that ninety-nine percent of chemical contamination can be removed by carefully removing clothes and wiping skin with a paper towel or dry wipe. The Primary Response Incident Scene Management (PRISM) guidance was written to provide authoritative, evidence-based guidance on mass casualty disrobe and decontamination during a chemical incident. It is comprised of three volumes: strategic guidance, tactical guidance, and operational guidance.

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ASPR's Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) has a number of additional resources specific to decontamination, including the Hospital Victim Decontamination and Pre-Hospital Victim Decontamination Topic Collections.

Wisconsin Attorney General Clarifies DNR's Authority over High-Capacity Wells

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad D. Schimel issued an opinion on May 10, 2016, that clarifies the role and authority of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR or Department) in the issuance of high-capacity well permits, bringing greater certainty to business owners that seek regulatory approvals from state agencies.

The Opinion concludes that WDNR cannot impose a condition on a high -capacity well approval (or any regulatory permit) other than those conditions explicitly allowed in statute and rule. As applied to high-capacity well approvals, the Department may not condition a high-capacity well permit on the installation of monitoring wells or upon conducting a cumulative impact analysis. While the opinion focuses on high-capacity well approvals, its major conclusion—that WDNR cannot impose conditions or draft rules for which it does not have explicit statutory or regulatory authority—may be applied to all regulatory approvals statewide; this is a significant development for regulated businesses in Wisconsin.

Read More

May 11, 2016

More than 2,000 New Plant Species Are Found Every Year

Yale Environment 360There are currently 391,000 plant species known to science—and another 2,000 are being discovered every year, according to a new report from the U.K.'s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 

Last year's new discoveries included a nearly five-foot tall carnivorous plant first identified on Facebook, a 105-ton tree in West Africa, and 90 new species of Begonia flowers. Brazil, Australia, and China were hotspots for species discovery. The State of the World's Plants report did find, however, that one-fifth of the world's plant species are at risk of extinction from habitat loss, disease, invasive species, and climate change. "Plants are absolutely fundamental to humankind," Kathy Willis, director of science at Kew, told The Guardian. "Plants provide us with everything — food, fuel, medicines, timber, and they are incredibly important for our climate regulation. We are facing some devastating realities if we do not take stock and re-examine our priorities and efforts." 

Fish dying by the millions

Nation of ChangeOver the past several months there has been an alarming number of dead fish and other sea creatures washing up all over the planet. In many places more than 30 tons of fish have washed up dead.

Chile, a place where there is a massive amount of coast with beautiful beaches, is awash with dead animals. The Smithsonian Magazine states:

As Giovanna Fleitas reports for the Agence France-Presse, the South American country's beaches are covered with piles of dead sea creatures—and scientists are trying to figure out why.

Tales of dead animals washing up on shore are relatively common; after all, the ocean has a weird way of depositing its dead on shore. But Chile's problem is getting slightly out of hand. As Fleitas writes, recent months have not been kind to the Chilean coast, which has played host to washed-up carcasses of over 300 whales, 8,000 tons of sardines, and nearly 12 percent of the country's annual salmon catch, to name a few.

In Vietnam the incidents of dead fish have become so bad that soldiers are being deployed to bury them:

In southern China, 35 tons of dead fish appeared in a lake in the Hainan province. Local authorities say that the fish died as a result of salinity change.

In Bolivia thousands of dead fish washed up on the shores of Lake Alalay. And in Brazil more than 200 tons of dead fish were removed from the Furnas Lake in Alfenas.

May 10, 2016

Swarm AI Correctly Predicts Kentucky Derby Superfecta, Turns $20 Into $11,000

New "Swarm Intelligence" platform UNU from Unanimous A.I. made a bet on the Kentucky Derby this weekend and won big. The bet is called the Superfectaand it paid 540 to 1 odds. "Swarm Intelligence" allows groups to amplify their collective IQ beyond the capacity of individuals, something that the human species hasn't been able to do because of evolutionary restraints. Silicon Valley startup Unanimous A.I. set out to answer one question: Can humans swarm, and if so can we amplify our intelligence beyond the ability of individuals? Spoiler: yes we can. According to Yahoo, "Unanimous spent the last two years building a swarm intelligence platform called UNU that enables groups to get together as online swarms -- combing their thoughts, opinions, and intuitions in real-time to answer questions, make predictions, reach decisions, and even play games as a unified collective intelligence." Already, UNU has predicted the Oscars better than experts, and predicted the NCAA college bowl games with 70% accuracy. As for the Kentucky Derby, Hope Reese, reporter for Tech Republic and the Atlantic, challenged Unanimous A.I. to use UNU to predict the winners. The group used UNU to answer questions as a unified Swarm Intelligence, narrowing the field of 20 horses down to four winners. Then it was asked to order the winners into Win, Place, Show, and Fourth. Swarm Intelligence convened again a week later after the Derby announced the post positions of the horses -- one of the four picks was replaced by an alternate.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

May 5, 2016

PHMSA has now released both the iOS and Android 2016 ERG Apps HT: @cfrbug

PHMSA (U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration)'s 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook provides first responders with a go-to resource to help deal with hazmat accidents during the critical first 30 minutes.

The ERG contains an indexed list of dangerous goods and the associated ID number, the general hazards they pose and recommended safety precautions. For example, if emergency responders arrive at the scene of an overturned tractor trailer displaying a DOT hazmat placard, they would use the guide to identify the material associated with the placard and get guidance on how to respond accordingly.

The 2016 version of the ERG includes general revisions, reorganized general information pages and the addition of protective distance mapping. Updated every four years, the ERG is available free to public safety agencies in all states and territories through designated state coordinators' offices. PHMSA has partnered with the National Library of Medicine to provide this free application as well as a version of the ERG in its Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER) application.
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Downloads
iOS (released May 4): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/erg-2012-for-iphone/id592158838?mt=8
Android (released April 26): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.nih.nlm.erg2012
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It’s Official: Japan Now has More Electric Car Charging Spots than Gas Stations* | Transport Evolved

In fact, look at the charging station maps for Japan, and you'll see a sea of CHAdeMO DC quick chargers blanketing every major route from north to south and east to west, thanks in part to pro- electric car incentives and a nationwide — rather than regional — approach to charging station deployment. As of earlier this month, there were more than 2,819 CHAdeMO DC rapid chargers installed across the country, far more than the 1,532 installed in the whole of Europe or 854 found in the U.S.

That massive number of accessible, reliable charging stations combined with lower-power level 2 charging provision — both private and public — now means there are more dedicated charging stations in Japan than there are gas stations.

Far more in fact: over 40,000 says Nissan, versus the 34,000 gas stations currently trading in Japan.

"An important element of the continued market growth is the development of the charging infrastructure," Joseph G. Peter, Nissan's chief financial officer, said on a recent conference call with analysts. With two all-electric models now on sale in Japan — the LEAF electric hatchback and e-NV200 electric minivan — the more public and private charging stations there are, the easier both plug-in models are to sell.

Unlike the majority of gas stations in Japan however, the 40,000 electric car charging points quoted by Nissan includes ones in private homes, causing some critics to cry foul. After all, if a charging station is hidden in a privately-owned garage, it isn't easily accessible to the public. | Transport Evolved
https://transportevolved.com/2015/02/17/official-japan-now-electric-car-charging-spots-gas-stations/

New generator can halve cost of hydrogen used to power buildings, cars

ComputerworldCalifornia start-up H2 Energy Renaissance today announced it has built a hydrogen generator that 's inexpensive to manufacture and produces on-demand affordable hydrogen.

"This technology shall reduce the costs of electricity and fuel transport at least by 50%," the company said in a statement.

The company claims its H2 Energy Renaissance hydrogen generator can produce the gas for 50 cents to $1 per kilogram.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please 

May 4, 2016

PHMSA Releases ERG2016 FREE via @USDOT

PHMSA's 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook provides first responders with a go-to manual to help quickly identify emergency response procedures to deal with hazmat transportation accidents during the critical first 30 minutes.

​Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) to help Quickly Identify Hazmat Emergency Procedures

DOT's goal is to place an ERG in every public emergency service vehicle nationwide. To date, nearly 14.5 million free copies have been distributed to the emergency response community through state emergency management coordinators. Members of the public may purchase a copy of the ERG through the GPO Bookstore and other commercial suppliers.


Food imported from Japan, In the wake of Fukushima nuclear power plant incident

​Hong Kong (HKSAR) - Following is a question by the Hon Wong Kwok-hing and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, in the Legislative Council today (May 4):
The Government has set up an Expert Committee on Food Safety (Expert Committee) under the CFS to advise the DFEH on the formulation of food safety strategies and measures.According to the Expert Committee, three radionuclides, namely Iodine-131 (I-131), Caesium-134 (Cs-134) and Caesium-137 (Cs-137), are the main radionuclides posing health risks and are most relevant in the acute phase of nuclear emergencies.The Expert Committee also considered the adoption of the Codex guideline levels by the CFS appropriate in addressing the public concern over food safety.Besides, the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap.132) also stipulates that all food for sale in Hong Kong (including the food imported from Japan) must be fit for human consumption.

(4) In the wake of Fukushima nuclear power plant incident, individual countries or regions have implemented measures deemed fit to their risk assessment results and local circumstances.As such, the places of origin, the number of prefectures and categories of food products covered under their import control measures imposed on Japanese food may differ from those implemented in Hong Kong.Generally speaking, compared with Australia, New Zealand and Canada (which have now lifted all the import control imposed after the incident) as well as Singapore (which has only imposed limited control over the import of food products from Fukushima and imposed conditions on the import of food products from certain prefectures), the import control of Japanese food products exercised by the Mainland, Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong is more stringent.

Regarding the control measures implemented by the United States (US), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposes import restriction on Japanese foods (Import Alert 99-33) by referring to the list of food products that are prohibited from export compiled by the Japanese Government based on the results of their on-going food surveillance.When the Japanese Government updates the list, which can be found on the website of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan, the FDA will make changes to the import alert accordingly.In other words, the Japanese food products and prefectures subject to import restrictions in the US mirror the export prohibition measures taken by Japan.

New cancer drugs could treat lethal resistant prostate cancers

Men with aggressive prostate cancer that has stopped responding to conventional treatment could potentially benefit from a new class of cancer drug designed to overcome drug resistance, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that the drugs, called Hsp90 inhibitors, specifically target and inactivate a mechanism commonly used by prostate cancer cells to evade the effects of standard treatment.

The findings provide vital information about the role of Hsp90 in drug-resistant prostate cancers, and open up potential new routes to cancer treatment based on blocking this or related proteins.

A team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, found that Hsp90 inhibitors countered the effect of malfunctions in the androgen receptor, which often occur in resistance to hormone treatments.

The research suggests that Hsp90 inhibitors could be effective in prostate cancers that have become resistant to treatment and started spreading round the body.


Read more »// Next Big Future

May 3, 2016

TH @mtreacy "Researchers create incredible, everlasting battery"

© Steve Zylius / UCI

If there is something that I've written about most in the world of clean tech, it may be batteries. They are, after all, a crucial part of a clean energy future. Not only do we need long-lasting, high-performance batteries to back up solar and wind power projects, but we also need better batteries for electric vehicles and for all of the various electronics and gadgets that are now so interwoven into our lives.

Scientists have long been experimenting with different materials to create batteries that can both store more energy and have longer lifetimes so that they don't have to be replaced as often, which makes them far more sustainable. Researchers at University of California, Irvine have made a major breakthrough with the latter by developing a battery that can be charged and discharged hundreds of thousands of times and, amazingly, it was totally by accident.

A typical lithium-ion battery starts to deteriorate after a few thousand charge cycles because lithium deposits build up on the electrodes and cause the battery to lose the ability to hold a charge. For this new battery, the researchers used nanowires, which are highly conductive and have a large surface area, making them great at holding charge as electrodes.

Nanowire are very fragile though and the abuse of charge/discharge cycles breaks them down quickly. To prevent that, the researchers coated a gold nanowire in a manganese dioxide shell and encased the assembly in a Plexiglas-like gel electrolyte.

The gel coating was just an experiment, an afterthought, but when they tested it they found that the device was able to go through 200,000 cycles without any loss of capacity or any damage to the nanowire.

"That was crazy," said Reginald Penner, chair of UCI's chemistry department and researcher on the project, "because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most."


Read on at

http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/researchers-create-incredible-everlasting-battery.html

FREE Webinar Introduction to Green Chemistry (Ever wonder what my job includes ;-)

Introduction to Green Chemistry

July 21, 2016, Time: noon-1 pm CDT
Webinar
Type: Event

Description:
Design for Environment (DfE) is the recognition that the environmental impacts of a product over its entire life cycle is largely determined at the design phase. DfE should form the foundation for a strong sustainability program, specifically for product stewardship. Green Chemistry, defined as a set of principles to minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances during the manufacture of product, is essentially the application of DfE at the molecular level. A central tenet of Green Chemistry is that hazard (i.e. negative impacts on human health and the environment) should be viewed as a design flaw.

Green Chemistry is a transformational approach to pollution prevention that can make your business more sustainable and, when integrated into the material innovation & exploration stage of new product development, can further lead to business opportunities through innovative design of products and processes. This webinar will provide a basic primer of the principles of Green Chemistry and a discussion of how Green Chemistry can be incorporated into your sustainability strategy.

Audience: This webinar is geared to professionals tasked in developing business sustainability programs as well as Research & Development staff or Project Managers creating new products or processes.


Contact Information:
Contact: Michigan DEQ Sustainability Series
URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5836687481544554753

Hazard Communication: The Final Step via @jjkeller


Wednesday, May 11th 2016 1:00 PM Central Time

(2:00 ET, 12:00 MT, 11:00 PT) – Register Now!
OSHA's final compliance date for the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is June 1st, 2016. This is the date by which OSHA says employers must be in complete compliance - update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.

So what does it really mean to you, the employer?

How do you identify new hazards that you haven't had to label or train on previously? What about in-plant labeling? What changes are required? You do HazCom training, but what additional training might be required based upon new information you discover? And what is expected for training temporary employees, new hires, and transfers.

Do you know what you are expected to do if a supplier hasn't sent you an updated SDS or ships you containers without an updated label? Or, what are your responsibilities if you have older containers and SDSs in your facility for product that you haven't order in a while? Must you re-label containers? Ask suppliers for updated SDSs? Your written HazCom plan must be current as well. What impact does this all have on your written plan?

Join us for the webcast, "Hazard Communication – The Final Step," where we will address these and any other questions that you may have about HazCom and the final implementation date.

Register here:
https://events-na11.adobeconnect.com/content/connect/c1/1090750165/en/events/event/shared/default_template_simple/event_registration.html

 
Featured Speakers:
   Bob Ernst
   Workplace Safety
   J. J. Keller & Associates
 
Judie Smithers
 Workplace Safety
 J. J. Keller & Associates
 

$25 Million For Military Technology Manufacturing In New Mexico

​Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, announced $25 million in federal funding for an Albuquerque company, Aquila, to boost military technology manufacturing in New Mexico. The funding, which was made available by the U.S. Army, will allow Aquila to produce 2,860 radiation kit readers and 282,000 dosimeters for the Army National Guard. These dosimeters are wrist-worn devices servicemembers use to measure ionizing radiation in order to detect exposure. Senator Heinrich led the effort to secure this federal investment, which will protect the health and safety of our uniformed military and help support and maintain local jobs in New Mexico.

The Army has a shortfall of radiation reader kits, and the dosimeter technology that American servicemembers currently rely on use outdated 1960s Cold War era technology. These new dosimeters made by Aquila will relay information quickly and precisely in our military's modern network centric battlefield in order to keep them safe.  Aquila will work with its New Mexico small business partners Delta Group Electronics, RMB Distributors, Toltec, and Phoenix West to produce the dosimeters. Aquila will begin its delivery of radiation kits this year with full delivery to be completed in 2017.

"I'm proud to advocate on behalf of this homegrown New Mexico company and help it make major contributions to protect American soldiers," said Sen. Heinrich. "This investment in modern radiation detection devices will ensure members of our military are using the best available technology when they risk their lives on the battlefield and will also help preserve high paying advanced manufacturing jobs here in New Mexico. I will continue to work on the Senate Armed Services Committee to ensure our men and women in uniform have the necessary and up-to-date equipment to keep them safe as they work at home and abroad to keep all of us safe."

"We'd like to thank Senator Heinrich and his staff for their efforts in facilitating the delivery of our state-of-the-art RadWatch dosimetry system to the U.S. Army National Guard service members," said Aquila President Judy Beckes Talcott. "At the same time, we are encouraged that this order strengthens the industrial base of Aquila and our partners in New Mexico."

Worst states for solar power

Ecowatch Some of the sunniest states in the country are actively blocking rooftop-solar development through overtly lacking and destructive policy landscapes, according to a Center for Biological Diversity report. The 10 states highlighted in Throwing Shade: 10 Sunny States Blocking Distributed Solar Development—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin—account for more than 35 percent of the total rooftop-solar technical potential in the contiguous U.S., but only 6 percent of total installed capacity. 

Testing proves the worth of Tesla's Bioweapon Defense Mode

Gizmag Emerging Technology Magazine

Tesla put Bioweapon Defense Mode to the test in a controlled pollution bubble

When Elon Musk announced the Tesla Model X would be fitted with a Bioweapon Defense Mode, many wondered what he knew that they didn't. Turns out the head of Tesla, SpaceX and PayPal wasn't worried about global chemical warfare – rather, the HEPA filters in the Model X and Model S are designed to protect us against the scourge of air pollution.

.. Continue Reading Testing proves the worth of Tesla's Bioweapon Defense Mode 

Radiation and immunotherapy combination can destroy both primary and secondary tumors

Radiation therapy not only kills cancer cells, but also helps to activate the immune system against their future proliferation. However, this immune response is often not strong enough to be able to cure tumors, and even when it is, its effect is limited to the area that has been irradiated. Now, however, research to be presented to the ESTRO 35 conference today (Sunday) has shown that the addition of an immune system-strengthening compound can extend the radiation therapy-induced immune response against the tumor sites and that this response even has an effect on tumours outside the radiation field.

A combination of radiation therapy and L19-IL2, an immunotherapy agent, can increase significantly the immune response when given to mice with primary colorectal tumors. L19-IL2 is a combination of an antibody that targets the tumor blood vessels and a cytokine, a small protein important in cell signaling in the immune system.

The researchers found not only that the mice were tumor-free following treatment, but also that when re-injected with cancer cells 150 days after cure, they did not form new tumors. There was also an increase in the number of cells with an immunological memory.



Read more »// Next Big Future

Apr 28, 2016

US: U.S. DoT Announces Release of the 2016 ERG

​DOT Releases New Emergency Response Guidebook
More Than 1.5 Million Free Copies to First Responders Nationwide

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today released the 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG2016), providing first responders with an updated go-to manual to help respond to hazardous materials transportation accidents during the critical first minutes.

PHMSA will distribute more than 1.5 million free copies of the guidebook to firefighters, emergency medical technicians and law enforcement officers across the nation.  Emergency first responders will use the ERG2016 to identify specific risks associated with compromised hazardous materials, and the recommended safety measures and procedures they should take to protect themselves and contain the incident as quickly as possible.

Full Press Release: http://goo.gl/rXVZAv

ERG "Landing Page" with all the links: http://goo.gl/8xSH9T

English pdf of the ERG (about 5 MB): http://goo.gl/EeSn10

German Nuclear Plant Infected with Computer Viruses, Operator Says

ReutersA nuclear power plant in Germany has been found to be infected with computer viruses, but they appear not to have posed a threat to the facility's operations because it is isolated from the Internet, the station's operator said on Tuesday.

The Gundremmingen plant, located about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Munich, is run by the German utility RWE (RWEG.DE).

The viruses, which include "W32.Ramnit" and "Conficker", were discovered at Gundremmingen's B unit in a computer system retrofitted in 2008 with data visualization software associated with equipment for moving nuclear fuel rods, RWE said.

Malware was also found on 18 removable data drives, mainly USB sticks, in office computers maintained separately from the plant's operating systems. RWE said it had increased cyber-security measures as a result.

W32.Ramnit is designed to steal files from infected computers and targets Microsoft Windows software, according to the security firm Symantec. First discovered in 2010, it is distributed through data sticks, among other methods, and is intended to give an attacker remote control over a system when it is connected to the Internet.

Conficker has infected millions of Windows computers worldwide since it first came to light in 2008. It is able to spread through networks and by copying itself onto removable data drives, Symantec said.

RWE has informed Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), which is working with IT specialists at the group to look into the incident.

Apr 25, 2016

WEBINAR on public revenues & coal, oil, gas, renewables, May 3 (via @BetsyTaylor)

Join us for a webinar on the first annual report of the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) https://useiti.doi.gov/ a multistakeholder initiative, coordinated out of the U.S. Dept of the Interior by a steering committee with representatives from Civil Society, Government, and Industry

What:   WEBINAR for the 2015 USEITI REPORT 
When: TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2016 2:00 - 4:00 PM, EDT 
Online Webinar Access:
Dial In: 1-210-839-8953
Toll Free: 888-455-2910
Participant Passcode: 7741096

Live Conference Meeting Number: PW7731332
Participant Passcode: 7741096
Live Meeting Net Conference Access:

Physical location:  U.S. Department of Interior, Rachel Carson Room 1849 C St. NW Washington, DC 20240 (come early for security clearance) 
For further information contact: USEITI Secretariat Phone: 202.208.0272 or email: useiti@ios.doi.gov


What is in the USEITI Data Portal & Report?
  • interactive & downloadable datasets of monies that the federal government receives from extraction on public lands and waters 
    • In 2013, $12.64 billion in fees, bonuses, rents, royalties, and penalties
    • In 2013, $11.8 billion in corporate income tax receipts
    • of oil, gas, coal mining (learn more re/ lack of government revenues from other mining)
    • by company and by state
    • of the 44 companies asked to report:
      • 31 companies reported and reconciled $8.5 billion in DOI revenue
      • 12 out of a maximum of 41 applicable companies reported $190 million in corporate income taxes
  • laws, permitting, regulation, and government agencies which oversee extraction -- at federal and state levels
  • jobs data 
  • case studies of impacts on local communities:  
    • Production trends over 10 years & sustainability of government revenues from extraction 
    • Dependency on extractives (measured by % of jobs and % of GDP in extractive sector compared to total county numbers over 10 years) and sustainability of public revenues from extraction 
    • Positive and negative impacts of extractives on public revenues over 10 years—including employment, government revenues, and public costs related to water, reclamation, transportation, and emergency and other public services
12 COMMUNITIES IN CASE STUDIES: OIL--Kern County CA, North Slope Borough AK; NATURAL GAS—DeSoto Parish LA, Tarrant & Johnson Counties TX; IRON—Marquette Co MI, St. Louis Co MN; GOLD—Elko & Eureka / Humboldt & Lander Co's NV; COPPER—Greenlee & Pima Co's AZ; COAL—Boone / Logan / Mingo Co's WV, Campbell Co WY

USA--Transportation Rail Incident Preparedness and Response (TRIPR) --Resources

The Transportation Rail Incident Preparedness and Response, Flammable Liquid Unit Trains resource materials were developed to provide critical information on best practices related to rail incidents involving hazard class 3 flammable liquids, such as crude oil and ethanol. A key component of this initiative is to learn from past experiences and to leverage the expertise of public safety agencies, rail carriers, and industry subject matter experts in order to prepare first responders to safely manage incidents involving flammable liquid unit trains.

These training resources offer a flexible approach to training the first responders and emergency services personnel in pre-incident planning and response. Each module contains a PowerPoint presentation, Student Workbook, and Instructor Lesson Plan. In addition to these materials, there are three interactive scenarios with animation and introduction videos to help instructors lead tabletop discussions. Click on the link below to download the TRIPR materials.

This Battery-Free Computer Sucks Power Out Of Thin Air

Researchers at University of Washington's Sensor Lab have created the WISP, or Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform: a combination sensor and computing chip that doesn't need a battery or a wired power source to operate. Instead, it sucks in radio waves emitted from a standard, off-the-shelf RFID reader -- the same technology that retail shops use to deter shoplifters -- and converts them into electricity. The WISP isn't designed to compete with the chips in your smartphone or your laptop. It has about the same clock speed as the processor in a Fitbit and similar functionality, including embedded accelerometers and temperature sensors. [...] It has about the same bandwidth as Bluetooth Low Energy mode, the wireless power-sipping technology which drives most Bluetooth speakers and wireless headphones.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Prescription Meds Get Trapped in Disturbing Pee-to-Food-to-Pee Loop

Via: Ars Technica:

If you love something, set it free… so the old adage goes. Well, if the things you love are pharmaceuticals, then you're in luck. Through vegetables and fruits, the drugs that we flush down the drain are returning to us—though we'll ultimately pee them out again. (Love is complicated, after all)

In a randomized, single-blind pilot study, researchers found that anticonvulsive epilepsy drug carbamazepine, which is released in urine, can accumulate in crops irrigated with recycled water—treated sewage—and end up in the urine of produce-eaters not on the drugs. The study, published Tuesday in Environmental Science & Technology, is the first to validate the long-held suspicion that pharmaceuticals may get trapped in infinite pee-to-food-to-pee loops, exposing consumers to drug doses with unknown health effects.

While the amounts of the drug in produce-eater's pee were four orders of magnitude lower than what is seen in the pee of patients purposefully taking the drugs, researchers speculate that the trace amounts could still have health effects in some people, such as those with a genetic sensitivity to the drugs, pregnant women, children, and those who eat a lot of produce, such as vegetarians. And with the growing practice of reclaiming wastewater for crop irrigation—particularly in places that face water shortages such as California, Israel, and Spain—the produce contamination could become more common and more potent, the authors argue.

"The potential for unwitting exposure of consumers to contaminants via this route is real," the authors wrote, adding that their study provides real world data that proves exposure occurs.

Research Credit: alvinroast


Apr 23, 2016

46 Environmental Victories Since the First Earth Day by @socialpyramid

​Never forget...
Every is Earth Day.​

The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, was a milestone event for the planet. An estimated 20 million people took to the streets across the U.S. to raise awareness about the impacts of human activities on the environment.  

Since then, the annual tradition has grown to involve billions of people around the world. This year, Earth Day turns 46. To mark this anniversary and to show how much has changed since 1970, we assembled 46 of the most significant accomplishments of the environmental movement since the first Earth Day. (See stunning pictures of trees.)

Please share your own favorite environmental victories in the comments, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160422-earth-day-46-facts-environment/

US Suicide Rate Surges To Highest Level In Almost Three Decades, Says Report

The suicide rate in the U.S. has surged to its highest level in almost three decades, according to a new report from the CDC. There was no explanation for the rise but some experts have pointed to increased abuse of prescription opiates and the financial downturn that began in 2008 as likely factors. The report did not break down the suicides by education level or income, but previous studies found rising suicide rates among white people without university degrees. CDC reported on Friday that suicides have increased in the US to a rate of 13 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1986. The overall suicide rate rose by 24% from 1999 to 2014, according to the CDC. However, the rate increased 43% among white men ages 45 to 64 and 63% for women in the same age-range. In 2014, more than 14,000 middle-aged white people killed themselves. That figure is double the combined suicides total for all blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Alaska Natives. The suicide rate only declined for only two groups: black men and all people over 75.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apr 20, 2016

Five "citizen scientists" and Milwaukee County Parks Natural Area program honored for work to benefit wildlife, waters

WDNR​ - A Vilas County woman who launched efforts to measure lake levels, a Kickapoo Valley man who completes dozens of bat surveys a year and recruits others to do the same, and an Oconto County youth who has monitored bluebird and other bird populations in her area are among Wisconsin citizens recognized for their outstanding work to collect information important to managing and conserving Wisconsin's waters and wildlife.

Wisconsin's Citizen-based Monitoring Network presented the awards earlier this month during the 7th Citizen-based Monitoring Conference in Stevens Point. The Department of Natural Resources and more than 150 organizations with monitoring programs formed the network in 2004 to improve their effectiveness by providing communications, resources and recognition.

"These are people who are contributing hands-on, on-the-ground, every day to the land and water around them," says Eva Lewandowski, who coordinates the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Program for DNR. "They are not only providing important information for managing Wisconsin's resources, but are helping get more people involved as well."

A listing of award winners, their hometown, and a brief description of their work follows.

Milwaukee County Parks Natural Areas Program, Citizen-based Monitoring Program of the Year

This county program is using citizen-based monitoring as a way to engage the public in wildlife research and gain more scientific data to guide restoration decisions on the county's 10,000 acres of natural areas. In 2014, staff engaged citizen monitors to inventory and document 430 seasonal or "ephemeral" ponds and followed up in 2015 with aquatic studies. Program staff developed in-class training opportunities as well as hands-on field days for citizens to hone their monitoring skills. Volunteers confirmed populations of tiger and blue-spotted salamanders, discovered the first spotted salamander documented in their county since 1935, a new population of wood frogs (previously only 1 population was known), and 3 new populations of Wisconsin's rarest native crayfish, the Digger's crayfish.

Ben Johnston of Wilton, Outstanding Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring

Johnston is recognized for his work to conduct wildlife surveys in the 8,600-acre Kickapoo Valley Reserve and build the ranks of citizen scientists in southwestern Wisconsin. He has conducted an average of more than 30 walking surveys a year to detect bats, and has recruiting other volunteers to get involved in the survey as well. Johnston has also recruited volunteers to submit turtle road crossing reports aimed at reducing the number of turtles killed by cars, and has recruited volunteers to participate in frog and toad surveys.

Nancy Carlson of Racine, Outstanding Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring

Carlson created a program that helps more than 3,000 Racine 4th and 7th graders understand through hands-on outdoors activities and investigations how their daily activities impact water quality, fish and other aquatic life in the Root River and Lake Michigan watershed. Carlson also visits classrooms to help reinforce what students have learned in the field, and has helped establish partnerships with area nature centers and governmental institutions.

Anne Kretschmann of Manitowish Waters, Outstanding Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring

Kretschmann was honored for her role in starting the first citizen-based lake level monitoring program in Wisconsin in 2008. To address local concerns about dramatic lake level declines, she recruited a retired surveyor, established permanent water level benchmarks on a subset of local lakes, installed staff gauges and recruited local citizens to make weekly water level readings. Now she volunteers to monitor more than 40 lakes across Vilas County and she has coordinated a companion program with the Lac du Flambeau tribe.

Amber H. Van Den Heuvel of Oconto, Outstanding Achievement in Youth Monitoring

Van Den Heuvel participated in projects to monitor everything from amphibians to botulism levels on Great Lakes shorelines to bluebirds and bats. She served as her county coordinator for the Annual Midwest Crane Count and helped establish half of the nine bluebird trails within the city. She also helps monitor wood duck and purple martin houses for Bird City Oconto.

Kris Stepenuck of Burlington, VT, 2016 David N. Redell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring

Stepenuck, who coordinated the Water Action Volunteers stream monitoring program from 2001-2015, was honored for her work to build citizen-based monitoring in Wisconsin and the country. Stepenuck built the WAV program into a hugely successful, nationally renowned program, co-authored "Exploring Streams," a stream monitoring curriculum for middle and high school students, helped found the national Citizen Science Association and serves on its board, and was a member of the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network. Stepenuck is now an assistant professor at the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

DNR supports water quality improvement efforts through surface water grants

WDNR:  Forty-one projects to restore wetland and waterfront habitat, control aquatic invasive species and implement lake and river management plans are receiving nearly $2.4 in fiscal 2016 surface water grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Surface water management grants are submitted to DNR each year in February and this year the department received 50 grant applications totaling approximately $3 million. The competitive grant funds originate from a tax on fuel used by boats in Wisconsin.

Shelly Thomsen, DNR lakes and rivers team leader with the DNR Bureau of Water Quality, said this year's grants to lake and river groups, nonprofit organizations and governments in 30 counties leveraged an additional $1.5 million in matching funds.

"These grants provide critical funding for projects that make a real difference in water quality in our state," Thomsen said. "We're excited to see the progress that is being made by public and private groups working in partnership to tackle these challenges."

FY16 Surface Water Grants # Grants Awarded Award
Lake Management Plan Implementation 5 $797,575.12
Healthy Lakes 16 $132,542.86
Wetland/Shoreland Habitat Restoration 1 $100,000
Lake Land/Easement Acquisition 2 $249,487.50
River Management 5 $159,824.50
AIS Control 12 $938,985.59
Total 41 $2,378,415.57

 

Highlights of the 2016 grants include projects for:

  • Lakes Tainter and Menomin: These lakes in the Red Cedar River Watershed are prone to algae blooms due to excess phosphorous from surface water runoff. The West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission received a $200,000 lake protection grant to implement recommendations from the recently approved Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation plan. The project includes updating water quality and land use data, assessing social networks, behaviors and attitudes of stakeholders in the watershed and determining the economic cost of poor water quality. The project will leverage an additional $450,000 from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, UW-Stout, Barron County Soil and Water Conservation Department, Dunn County Land and Conservation Division and Tainter-Menomin Lake Improvement Association to help reduce phosphorus inputs into the lake.
  • The Ridges Sanctuary: The Door County land trust will use an aquatic invasive species control grant to control 3,700 acres of invasive phragmites along 15 miles of Lake Michigan and Clark Lake shoreline. The spread of phragmites has severe consequences to native ecosystems, reduces access to the lakes for recreational opportunities and has economic impacts including reduced property values.
  • Hunting River: The town of Elcho in Langlade County received a river protection grant to restore fish passage by replacing culverts along Hunting River, a high quality, brook and brown trout stream with natural reproduction.
  • Statewide Healthy Lakes efforts: A total of 16 grants were awarded for the second year of the Healthy Lakes program. The program provides grants for homeowners to plant rain gardens and native plants, install diversion or rock infiltration features and deploy fish sticks to create feeding, breeding and nesting areas for all sorts of critters.

    To learn more, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "Surface Water Grants."

Up To 35,000 Gallons of Nuclear Waste Leak At Washington State Storage Site

Over the weekend, thousands of gallons of radioactive waste have leaked at a nuclear storage tank in Washington State. One worker called the leak "catastrophic." RT writes, "The Hanford Nuclear Reservation was originally constructed in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project." It produced plutonium for weapons, including the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. The U.S. Department of Energy started removing what was left in the tank in March when workers discovered leaked waste had reached a depth of 8.4 inches. The Department of Energy calls the leak "anticipated," posing no threat to the public. Mike Geffre, the worker who discovered the leak, told King5 News, "This is catastrophic. This is probably the biggest event to ever happen in tank farm history. The double shell tanks were supposed to be the saviors of all saviors (to hold waste safely from people and the environment)." The double-wall storage tank AY-102 has been slowly leaking since 2011. It wasn't until March of this year that the U.S. Department of Energy began pumping the waste leftover in the tank.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.