Feb 8, 2016
Pope Francis, Environmental Anthropologist...our responsibilities to each other and the natural world that we share.
The BPA-free trend started after studies found a link between bisphenol A (BPA) and health issues such as early puberty and prostate cancers. After that, products with bisphenol S (BPS) started cropping up as a safer alternative. But now a UCLA-led study suggests that BPS can be just as harmful as BPA, causing faster embryonic development and disruption of the reproductive system in animals.Gizmag.. Continue Reading Research says BPA replacement in plastics not safer
Feb 6, 2016
Michael Best & Friedrich LLP | Newsroom |
On February 2, 2016, the United States and European Union Commission announced the EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement. The Agreement will govern regulation of data flows between the United States and the European Union (EU) and, as one of the EU Commissioners stated, the agreement addresses concerns by EU members regarding use of European citizens' data and personal information by U.S. companies and the U.S. government.
The full text of the Agreement will not be released for a number of weeks, but the dual announcements highlight the Agreement's major points:
- The Agreement will impose strong requirements on U.S. companies with respect to the collection and use of personal data.
- The limitations and oversight requirements will also be imposed on collection and use of Europeans' personal information and data by the United States government.
- Aggrieved Europeans will have a number of affordable and accessible dispute resolution options.
While awaiting the specifics of the Agreement, a consensus has emerged that companies might still be able to rely on the EU Model Clauses and Binding Corporate Rules for data transfers, but whether those protocols survive after the terms of the Agreement are released remains to be seen. Companies relying on the U.S. Safe Harbor provisions may face enforcement action since that scheme was invalidated by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Schrems decision late last year.
Feb 4, 2016
Scientists in Germany flipped the switch Wednesday on an experiment they hope will advance the quest for nuclear fusion, considered a clean and safe form of nuclear power.
Following nine years of construction and testing, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald injected a tiny amount of hydrogen into a doughnut-shaped device — then zapped it with the equivalent of 6,000 microwave ovens.
The resulting super-hot gas, known as plasma, lasted just a fraction of a second before cooling down again, long enough for scientists to confidently declare the start of their experiment a success.
"Everything went well today," said Robert Wolf, a senior scientist involved with the project. "With a system as complex as this you have to make sure everything works perfectly and there's always a risk."
Among the difficulties is how to cool the complex arrangement of magnets required to keep the plasma floating inside the device, Wolf said. Scientists looked closely at the hiccups experienced during the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland more than five years ago to avoid similar mistakes, he said.
The experiment in Greifswald is part of a world-wide effort to harness nuclear fusion, a process in which atoms join at extremely high temperatures and release large amounts of energy that's similar to what occurs inside the sun.
Advocates acknowledge that the technology is probably many decades away, but argue that — once achieved — it could replace fossil fuels and conventional nuclear fission reactors.
Construction has already begun in southern France on ITER, a huge international research reactor that uses a strong electric current to trap plasma inside a doughnut-shaped device long enough for fusion to take place. The device, known as a tokamak, was conceived by Soviet physicists in the 1950s and is considered fairly easy to build, but extremely difficult to operate.
The team in Greifswald, a port city on Germany's Baltic coast, is focused on a rival technology invented by the American physicist Lyman Spitzer in 1950. Called a stellarator, the device has the same doughnut shape as a tokamak but uses a complicated system of magnetic coils instead of a current to achieve the same result.
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Feb 2, 2016
Skyrocking rates of antibiotic prescriptions now suggest that as many as four out of five Americans may be getting antibiotics annually, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It's is concerning officials, especially because overuse is one reason antibiotics are losing their punch and making infections harder to treat.
The report released Wednesday gives the first detailed look at usage of these medicines in every state and finds it highest in the South and Appalachia. West Virginia had the highest rates at 1.237 prescriptions per person, followed by Kentucky at 1.232 and Tennessee at 1.199. The lowest rates were found in California (0.6 per person), Oregon (0.595) and Alaska (0.529).
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) that could fit into standard light sockets only hit the market in the 1980s, but the signs are their days may be numbered. GE has announced it will cease production of CFLs this year and instead switch its focus to producing LEDs... Continue Reading GE turns out the lights on CFLs
Jan 29, 2016
During the early 1960s, concern that smallpox could be imported into the United States, and a broader interest in solving health challenges facing humanity, catalyzed the U.S. government's commitment for global smallpox eradication, which culminated on November 23, 1965, with a White House press release announcing plans for smallpox and measles vaccination campaigns for West Africa. Shortly afterward, in January 1966, the CDC Smallpox Eradication Program was established in the Office of the CDC Director, demonstrating strong agency-wide commitment to smallpox eradication and enabling deployment of resources across the agency. Ultimately, approximately 300 CDC staff members participated in the eradication initiative, and smallpox was declared eradicated by the World Health Organization in 1980.
January 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of CDC's Smallpox Eradication Program and the beginning of CDC's leadership in global immunization. This year CDC will begin implementing a new Strategic Framework for Global Immunization, 2016–2020, that articulates CDC's vision of a world with healthy persons protected from vaccine preventable disease (VPD), disability, and death.
A major focus during the next 5 years will be to provide scientific leadership and evidence-based guidance to achieve a world free of polio. CDC will also build on and leverage achievement of polio eradication to increase focus on preventing VPD importation into the United States; preventing, detecting, and responding to VPD outbreaks globally as part of the Global Health Security Agenda (https://ghsagenda.org); achieving a world free of measles and rubella; ending VPD deaths among children aged <5 years; and reducing chronic disease and cancer deaths from VPDs.
It’s not just Flint: Poor communities across the country live with ‘extreme’ polluters - The Washington Post
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Michigan Officials Quietly Gave Bottled Water To State Employees Months Before Flint Residents | @ThinkProgress
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Jan 28, 2016
First Annual State of EH&S Report from Triumvirate Environmental Details Trends, Opportunities and Possible Threats
"The findings in this report should be a call to action because with stagnant budgets, EH&S employees are unable to focus on new initiatives that move the needle in regards to sustainability, innovation and growth."Tweet this
Triumvirate Environmental today released its first annual "State of EH&S" report analyzing the direction of the environmental health and safety industry. Triumvirate Environmental surveyed close to 200 EH&S professionals across multiple verticals to gain insight on the direction of the industry for 2016 and beyond.
Four Trends from the Survey
1. Safety Is Number One
Safety was the most important trend and biggest challenge of 2016 across industries and experience levels.
One respondent elaborated that the most important concern is, "maintaining EH&S visibility and the critical importance of safety and environmental compliance to the Senior/Executive Leadership. EH&S and its functions are taking a backseat to many other programs, and is becoming dispersed and diluted."
2. Understaffing is Rampant
Over 72% of EH&S professionals feel their department is currently understaffed and 79% of EH&S departments won't be growing in 2016. Of all industries, educational institutions had the highest percentage of respondents who felt their EH&S department was understaffed at 82%.
3. Regulatory Updates Are A Focus
Regulatory compliance was a close second to safety for most industries when asked about trends and challenges (aside from life sciences that put sustainability in the second spot). The majority of respondents cited constantly changing regulations and increasing fines as the reason.
4. Sustainability Isn't Quite There Yet
Sustainability ranked least important out of seven possible initiatives for 2016 (including safety, regulatory compliance, training, waste management & disposal, cost savings and plan improvement).
"The 2016 State of EH&S report shows that organizations are hard-pressed to expand their environmental health and safety staff with possible negative outlook for many of the topics we care about," said Warren Sukernek, director of marketing at Triumvirate Environmental. "Our analysis shows that a lack of staffing and resources can limit the ability to adopt programs like sustainability and affect operational efficiency. If organizations were allocating more funding, I think we'd see a greater focus on sustainability and using technology to streamline existing processes. Simply focusing on regulatory requirements to avoid fines and preserve job security is not enough to drive future success and innovation in our industry."
"Building a safe and compliant workspace is the central function of most EH&S departments. However, perspectives around environmental wellness are not being taken into account when EH&S departments are developing goals and priorities for their organizations," said Sasha Laferte, research lead for "State of EH&S" at Triumvirate. "The findings in this report should be a call to action because with stagnant budgets, EH&S employees are unable to focus on new initiatives that move the needle in regards to sustainability, innovation and growth."
Access the full report: bit.ly/EHSreport
Triumvirate will detail findings and implications of the 2016 State of EH&S Survey in a webinar on January 28, 2 p.m. ET. Registration is open at: bit.ly/EHSwebinar
Triumvirate's report is the first report of this depth and breadth in the EH&S industry. During December 2015, Triumvirate surveyed close to 200 EH&S professionals. Experience level of respondents ranged from associate to C-level and their locations spanned from Florida to Maine and out to Illinois.
Please read full from link source at: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160127005808/en/Major-Environmental-Health-Safety-Survey-Finds-Staffing
Jan 24, 2016
The number of fish in our oceans will be outweighed by plastic waste over the next 35 years, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF). The announcement comes after a pretty bleak week for news, during which scientists told us all the aliens are probably dead, and South Africa moved closer to lifting its ban on domestic rhino horn trade.
The report revealed that almost a third of all the plastic we produce "leaks" into the environment, mostly ending up in our oceans, where it'll probably be eaten by wildlife or will eventually make its way into a great floating garbage patch.Please continue reading from:
Jan 22, 2016
NY S 164A Requires that all persons working on contracts valued at $250,000 or more receive at least 10 hours of OSHA training prior to their performance of work
Requires that all persons working on contracts valued at $250,000 or more receive at least ten hours of OSHA training prior to their performance of work
Full Text Read the official bill text.
Jan 21, 2016
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the 16 collegiate teams selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 competition. The teams, from colleges and universities across the United States and around the world, will now begin the nearly two-year process of building solar-powered houses that are affordable, innovative and highly energy-efficient.
"President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy aims to create a safer and more sustainable planet, while ensuring American students and workers have the skills they need for the challenging jobs of today and tomorrow," said DOE's Solar Decathlon Director, Richard King. "The Solar Decathlon competition supports the department's commitment to improving the nation's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education efforts, and to building a more knowledge-intensive workforce."
Over the coming months, the 16 Solar Decathlon teams will design, construct, and test their houses before reassembling them at the Solar Decathlon 2017 competition site, which will be announced soon. As part of the Solar Decathlon, teams compete in 10 different contests—ranging from architecture and engineering to home appliance performance—while gaining valuable hands-on experience in clean energy design. The winner of the competition will be the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. For the first time in the competition's history, the Solar Decathlon 2017 teams will be competing for $2 million in prize money.
In mid-2017, the student teams will showcase their solar-powered houses at the competition site to the public, providing free tours of renewable energy systems and energy-efficient technologies, products, and appliances that today are helping homeowners nationwide save money by saving energy. The solar-powered houses will represent a diverse range of design approaches; building technologies; target markets; and geographic locations, climates and regions, including urban, suburban and rural settings.
The following teams have been selected to compete in Solar Decathlon 2017:
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland)
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Daytona State College (Daytona Beach, Florida)
Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia)
HU University of Applied Science Utrecht (Utrecht, Netherlands)
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, Missouri)
Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)
Rice University (Houston, Texas)
Syracuse University (Syracuse, New York)
University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, Alabama)
University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, California)
University of California, Davis (Davis, California)
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Washington State University (Pullman, Washington)
Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri)
West Virginia University (Morgantown, West Virginia).
The 16 teams include eight returning teams and eight new teams.
Learn more about the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017
There is a lot of plastic in the world's oceans.
It coagulates into great floating "garbage patches" that cover large swaths of the Pacific. It washes up by the truckfull on urban beaches and remote islands, tossed about in the waves and transported across incredible distances before arriving,...
Please read full and follow at: // B'More Green - Baltimore Sun
"While the near-zero price is due to the lack of pipeline capacity for a particular variety of ultra low quality crude, it underscores how dire things are in the U.S. oil patch," Murtaugh and Blas write. "U.S. benchmark oil prices have collapsed more than 70 percent in the past 18 months and fell below $30 a barrel for the first time in 12 years last week. West Texas Intermediate traded as low as $28.36 in New York. Brent, the international benchmark, settled at $28.55 in London."
"Different grades of oil are priced based on their quality and transport costs to refineries," reports Bloomberg. "High-sulfur crudes are generally priced lower because they can only be processed at plants that have specific equipment to remove sulfur. Producers and refiners often mix grades to achieve specific blends, and prices for each component can rise or fall to reflect current economics." While negative prices are rare, they aren't unheard of. "Oil refineries sometimes pay people to take away low-demand products such as sulfur or petroleum coke to free up space."
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Elon Musk says Apple's electric car is an 'open secret' in wide-ranging BBC interview
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Jan 20, 2016
Increasing its previous commitment to lithium-ion battery technology for electric vehicles and homes, Panasonic Corp. said it will spend up to $1.6 billion on Tesla Motor's Gigafactory.
The investment in the factory, which is being build outside Reno, Nev. and is expected to cost $5 billion, is an attempt by Panasonic to cement its future in automotive electronics, Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga told reporters at CES this month.
Jan 19, 2016
"That means we can use 50 times less of the drug and still get the same results," said Elena Batrakova, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. "That matters because we may eventually be able to treat patients with smaller and more accurate doses of powerful chemotherapy drugs resulting in more effective treatment with fewer and milder side effects."
The work, led by Batrakova and her colleagues at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy's Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery, is based on exosomes, which are tiny spheres harvested from the white blood cells that protect the body against infection. The exosomes are made of the same material as cell membranes, and the patient's body doesn't recognize them as foreign, which has been one of the toughest issues to overcome in the past decade with using plastics-based nanoparticles as drug-delivery systems.
"Exosomes are engineered by nature to be the perfect delivery vehicles," said Batrakova, who has also used this technique as a potential therapy for Parkinson's disease. "By using exosomes from white blood cells, we wrap the medicine in an invisibility cloak that hides it from the immune system. We don't know exactly how they do it, but the exosomes swarm the cancer cells, completely bypassing any drug resistance they may have and delivering their payload."
Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine journal - Development of exosome-encapsulated paclitaxel to overcome MDR in cancer cells
Read more »// Next Big Future
Jan 18, 2016
The latest Environment and Society featured article is now available! This month's article, "Untangling Introduced and Invasive Animals," comes from Volume 4 (2013). Crystal Fortwangler explores introduced and invasive species, untangling the ways disciplinary frameworks across the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities examine introduced and invasive species and their relations with human societies.
Visit the featured article page to download your copy of the article today before it's gone! A new article is featured every month.
Jan 17, 2016
MIT researchers can recycle the light of incandescent light and become 4 times as efficient as LED lights
They refer to the technique as 'recycling light' because the energy which would usually escape into the air is redirected back to the filament where it can create new light.
"It recycles the energy that would otherwise be wasted," said Professor Marin Soljacic.
Usually traditional light bulbs are only about five per cent efficient, with 95 per cent of the energy being lost to the atmosphere. In comparison LED or florescent bulbs manage around 14 per cent efficiency. But the scientists believe that the new bulb could reach efficiency levels of 40 per cent.
And it shows colors far more naturally than modern energy-efficient bulbs. Traditional incandescent bulbs have a 'colour rendering index' rating of 100, because they match the hue of objects seen in natural daylight. However even 'warm' finish LED or florescent bulbs can only manage an index rating of 80 and most are far less.
Nature Nanotechnology - Tailoring high-temperature radiation and the resurrection of the incandescent source
Read more »// Next Big Future
Jan 15, 2016
Jan 14, 2016
ESnet links 40 DOE sites across the country and scientists at universities and other research institutions via a 100 gigabits-per second backbone network. One of these sites, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) has made the move to the Berkeley campus from its previous 15-year home in Oakland, California. ESnet has built a 400 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) super-channel between the Berkeley and Oakland sites to support this transition over the next year. This is the first-ever 400G production link to be deployed by a national research and education network, and will also be part of a research testbed for assessing new tools and technologies that are necessary to support massive data growth as supercomputers approach the exascale era.
ESnet carries around 20 petabytes of data monthly. The level of traffic over the ESnet network has increased an average of 10 times every 4 years, propelled by the rising tide of data produced by more powerful supercomputers, global collaborations that can involve thousands of researchers, and specialized facilities like the Large Hadron Collider and digital sky surveys. It's expected that ESnet will need to carry over 100 petabytes of data per month by 2016.
ESnet purchased almost 13,000 miles of dark fiber from a commercial carrier for DOE use. By creating a research testbed and lighting the dark fiber with optical gear, ESnet will enable network researchers to safely experiment with disruptive techologies that will make up the next generation Internet in a production-like environment at 100 Gbps speeds.
Read more »// Next Big Future
Jan 13, 2016
CNN: Wall Street's disastrous start to 2016 has caused roughly $1 trillion to vanish from the stock market.
The eye-popping losses highlight the deep fears that has gripped financial markets over China's economic slowdown and crashing oil prices.
That one-two punch caused the Dow and S&P 500 to suffer their worst start to a trading year on record last week.
The S&P 500's market valuation has plunged by $1.04 trillion since the end of 2015, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Jan 12, 2016
Webinar: Implementation of the Green Chemistry Change and Sustaining Success
Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 2:00-3:00 PM EST
Register Online: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2425667052908588290
Join the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) and the Western Sustainability & Pollution Prevention Network (WSPPN) on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 2:00 PM EST for another Green Chemistry Guide Listen and Learn webinar. The Green Chemistry manual provides state agencies and technical assistance providers (engineers) with tools and resources to better serve their clients who are looking for information and to support greening their operations, processes, products and supply chains. Business owners can also use the publication to develop and implement green chemistry solutions and improve profitability.
This series of webinars covers the content of the manual chapter-by-chapter. Lissa McCracken, Executive Director, Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center, will present on Chapter 8, which addresses the implementation of sustainability practices into business models and integrating pollution prevention and green chemistry strategies and models
We need your help to recruit these students to apply for the Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP). This is the 13th year of our very successful summer program that is designed as a field-based learning experience in occupational safety and health. Teams of two students are placed with labor unions or community-based organizations to work on projects that investigate job-related health and safety issues among workers, often of new immigrant groups, employed in an under-served or a high hazard job.
Students can apply to work in any of the following cities, regardless of where they now reside: San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, New York City, Oklahoma and Lincoln (NE). Supervision and mentorship are provided by senior occupational health researchers from UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Illinois at Chicago, Tufts University, Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals, and the California Department of Public Health.
The deadline to apply is February 19, 2016.
The program is open both to undergraduates (3rd and 4th year) and graduate students with an interest in occupational health or related fields. A stipend is provided for the 9-week experience ($4,000 for undergraduates, $5,200 for graduates). Housing allowance is not provided but we can assist those relocating for the summer to find temporary housing.
More information about the program, and how to apply, can be obtained at the OHIP website at
Jan 11, 2016
The Japan Times: A high-precision sensor that can detect the possibility of someone having cancer, diabetes and other ailments just from their breath has been developed in a joint project involving the government, the private sector and a university.
The product is expected to be put into practical use as early as 2022, it has been learned.
In the future, it may become possible for an individual to easily check their health by connecting a sensor to a smartphone or other device. There are also hopes that the nation's growing medical expenditures could be curbed by the early detection of disease.
The National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, played the leading role in developing the small sensor, which is capable of detecting substances in a person's exhalations with high accuracy by analyzing the odor of the breath.
To put this technology into practical use, the institute has been working with Kyocera Corp., NEC Corp., Sumitomo Seika Chemicals Co., Osaka University and a precision equipment maker in Switzerland.
Jan 8, 2016
Title: Reducing E-Waste Through Purchasing Decisions
Purchasing decisions made by companies for electronic office equipment, such as computers, printers, and fax machines, are often not made with the equipment end-of-life disposition in mind. Purchasing agents develop technical specifications for office equipment and make final purchasing decisions based on the needs of their users. The end result is that final disposition of this electronic waste, or e-waste, may sometimes be through the trash or through unchecked third party disposal companies which increases the potential for contaminants to enter the environment. The Delta Institute, in consultation with the Green Electronics Council (GEC) -- the program manager for the EPEAT program -- and the University of Illinois Survey Research Laboratory (SRL), worked on the project, Reducing E-waste through Purchasing Decisions, to identify opportunities and barriers for purchasing agents to include end-of-life decisions in the purchasing process and for asset managers to practice responsible recycling. Delta used a survey process, company interviews, and live and videotaped presentations with private companies to identify barriers and test strategies that can be used by private company purchasing agents and asset managers to facilitate recycling of electronic equipment. Delta concluded that by far the two most prevalent and widespread barriers to using best management practices for purchasing and recycling of electronics were (1) a lack of awareness around electronics purchasing and recycling certifications and registries, and (2) persistent negative perceptions around electronic certifications and registries. Delta beta-tested on company representatives the effectiveness of two delivery methods designed to raise awareness and remove negative perceptions: a live educational presentation and a videotaped webinar. Results from the taped webinar were inconclusive. However, responses from the live presentation suggested that the presentation was successful at raising awareness and dispelling negative perceptions about electronics registrations and certifications to encourage their use. While it is hoped and anticipated that removal of these barriers led to increased recycling of electronics in participating companies, verification was beyond the scope of this study.
20th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference
June 14, 2016 - June 16, 2016
Jan 7, 2016
Cost of Injuries and Violence in the United States
The total lifetime medical and work loss costs of injuries and violence in the United States was $671 billion in 2013. The costs associated with fatal injuries was $214 billion while nonfatal injuries accounted for over $457 billion.
Injuries, including all causes of unintentional and violence-related injuries combined, account for 59% of all deaths among people ages 1-44 years of age in the U.S.—that is more deaths than non-communicable diseases and infectious diseases combined. Injuries killed more than 192,000 in 2013—one person every three minutes.
Each year, millions of people are injured and survive. In fact, more than 3 million people are hospitalized, 27 million people are treated in emergency departments and released each year. These people are often faced with life-long mental, physical, and financial problems.
Nearly $130 billion of the fatal injury costs were attributable to unintentional injuries, followed by suicide ($50.8 billion) and homicide ($26.4 billion).
Drug poisonings, including prescription drug overdoses, accounted for 27% of fatal injury costs.
Falls (37%) and transportation-related injuries (21%) accounted for the majority of costs treated in emergency departments.
Males account for the majority (78%) of fatal injury costs ($166.7 billion) and nonfatal injury costs (63%; $287.5 billion).