Mar 30, 2013

SB 762 - Texas E-Waste Bill Introduced to make it criminal offense to landfill electronic waste

SB 762mTexas — Relating to a prohibition on the disposal of certain used equipment at a municipal solid waste facility; creating an offense....relating to a prohibition on the disposal of certain used equipment
  at a municipal solid waste facility; creating an offense.
         SECTION 1.  Section 361.954(a), Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The collection, recycling, and reuse provisions of this
  subchapter apply to computer equipment used and returned to the
  manufacturer by a consumer in this state and, except as provided by
  Section 361.967, do not impose any obligation on an owner or
  operator of a solid waste facility.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter Y, Chapter 361, Health and Safety
  Code, is amended by adding Section 361.967 to read as follows:
  (a) In this section, "used equipment" means equipment that is
  eligible for collection under a manufacturer's recovery plan
  adopted under Section 361.955.
         (b)  The commission by rule shall prohibit a person from
  intentionally or knowingly disposing of used equipment in a
  municipal solid waste landfill or incinerator.
         (c)  An owner or operator of a municipal solid waste landfill
  or incinerator is not in violation of this section or a rule adopted
  under this section if the owner or operator has:
               (1)  posted in a conspicuous location a sign stating
  that used equipment is not accepted at the landfill or incinerator;
               (2)  notified in writing any solid waste collector
  registered to dispose of waste at the landfill or incinerator that
  used equipment is not accepted.
         (d)  A person that violates this section or a rule adopted
  under this section is liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $200
  for each item of used equipment disposed of or accepted for disposal

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Soaring Bee Deaths in 2012 Sound Alarm wiping out up to 50% of the hives — A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation's fruits and vegetables.

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TransPacific Partnership Will Undermine Democracy, Environment, Healthcare and Destroy Food Agriculture

...Prevent Buy America Manufacturing Preferences: The TPP's procurement chapter ends 'Buy America' preferences by requiring that all firms operating in any signatory country are provided equal access to US government procurement contracts over a certain dollar threshold, the same access that domestic firms have. To implement this, the United States would agree to waive "Buy America" procurement policies.

Undermine Environmental Laws and Regulations: Similarly, governments who are seeking to encourage localization and green manufacturing through procurement preferences will be stopped. A recent example involved Ontario, Canada, which has employed a renewable energy program that requires energy generators to source solar cells and wind turbines from local businesses so as to cultivate a robust supply of green goods, services and jobs.  The program has earned acclaim for its early success in generating 4,600 megawatts of renewable energy and 20,000 green jobs. But, the WTO ruled that this violated WTO rules. In another case, a US company Lone Pine Resources is suing the Canadian government under NAFTA for more than $250 million due to lost profits from Quebec's moratorium on fracking, which prevents Lone Pine from fracking under the St. Lawrence River. This is not an isolated incident:

. . . corporations such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill have launched 450 investor-state cases against 89 governments, including the United States. Over $700 million has been paid to corporations under US free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties, about 70 percent of which are from challenges to natural resource and environment policies. Corporations have launched attacks on a range of public interest and environmental regulations, including bans or phase-outs of toxic chemicals, timber regulations, permitting rules for mines, green jobs and renewable energy programs, and more.

Destroy Food and Agriculture: Agriculture trade rules have both undermined US producers' ability to earn a fair price for their crops at home and in the global marketplace. Multinational grain-trading and food-processing firms have made enormous profits, while farmers on both ends have been hurt. The results are that hunger is projected to increase, along with illicit drug cultivation, and undocumented migration. Dairy farmers fear the TPP could decimate the US dairy industry and have urged Congress to refuse to Fast Track it. Failure to establish new agriculture terms would intensify the race to the bottom in commodity prices, pitting farmer against farmer and nation against nation to see who can produce food the cheapest, regardless of labor, environment or food-safety standards. Regarding food safety, current trade agreements contain language requiring the United States to accept imported food that does not meet our domestic safety standards and limiting inspection of imported foods and products. The TPP is expected to continue these practices.

Prevent Health, Safety, Environment, Consumer and Labor Laws:According to leaked documents, the TPP contains provisions with special rights for corporations. The provisions protect investors by providing them with compensation for loss of "expected future profits" from health, labor, environmental and other laws. The negative effect is that nations will not pass laws that threaten corporate profits in order to avoid lawsuits and heavy fines. Court cases in which corporations are suing governments over laws and regulations that cause loss of expected profit will be tried before a trade tribunal of three judges. These judges can include corporate lawyers on temporary leave from their corporate job while they serve as judges. Global Trade Watch reports that under previous trade agreements "Over $3 billion has been paid to foreign investors under US trade and investment pacts, while over $14 billion in claims are pending under such deals, primarily targeting environmental, energy, and public health policies." The right to sue governments will create a hurdle for governments considering actions to protect workers, consumers, health and the environment.

Privatize Health Care and Make it Unaffordable: Leaked documents showthat the US Trade Representative is pressuring TPP member countries to expand pharmaceutical monopoly protections, which essentially trade away access to medicines. In a recent letter, Doctors Without Borders wrote that the TPP will be "the most harmful trade deal ever for access to medicines in developing countries." The TPP does this damage by inflating pharmaceutical prices through lengthy patent protections, as Doctors Without Borders writes:

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Doubling CO2 May Cause 20-50% Less Warming. #globalwarming

Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth's surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO₂ put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, "the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade."

The term scientists use to describe the way the climate reacts to changes in carbon-dioxide levels is "climate sensitivity". This is usually defined as how much hotter the Earth will get for each doubling of CO₂ concentrations. So-called equilibrium sensitivity, the commonest measure, refers to the temperature rise after allowing all feedback mechanisms to work (but without accounting for changes in vegetation and ice sheets).

An unpublished report by the Research Council of Norway, a government-funded body, which was compiled by a team led by Terje Berntsen of the University of Oslo, uses a different method from the IPCC's. It concludes there is a 90% probability that doubling CO₂ emissions will increase temperatures by only 1.2-2.9°C, with the most likely figure being 1.9°C. The top of the study's range is well below the IPCC's upper estimates of likely sensitivity.

Read more by Next Big Future

IMF suggests tripling U.S. Gas Tax to $1.40 a gallon in higher gas taxes. #energy

...In a new study on global energy and climate change Wednesday, the IMF suggested the U.S. consider $1.40 a gallon in higher gas taxes. If adopted, the increase would triple gas taxes in the U.S. – local, state and federal combined -- and send the price of gas higher than $5 a gallon.

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Mar 29, 2013

Mar. 28 EU: New ECHA committee starts working for safe biocidal products

This article is brought to you by the ECHA.

A new scientific committee in ECHA has been established to contribute to the availability of safe biocidal products in the European markets. The Biocidal Products Committee will have an important role in the approval of active substances and the authorisation of biocidal products under the Biocidal Products Regulation, which enters into operation on 1 September 2013.

The first meeting of the Biocidal Products Committee from 26 to 27 March 2013 was one of the big milestones in preparation for the new regulation. The committee has started work on the working methods, procedures and priorities for future work.

The Biocidal Products Committee gives an opinion on all active substances that will be used in biocidal products. The Committee is expecting to have the first discussions on active substances early next year, when ECHA takes over the review programme of existing active substances from the European Commission. ECHA will forward these opinions to the Commission for its decisions making.  After that, companies can choose, for their biocidal products, whether they prefer to apply for an authorisation for all European markets through ECHA or to do it on a national level and subsequent mutual recognition to other countries. Discussions on product authorisations will therefore start later, as the active substances need to be approved before the product authorisation can start.

For more information and the full press release please refer to the link above.


Mar 28, 2013

EPA Proposed Rule for Compliance Certification Requirements for State & Federal Operating Permits Programs

Mar 28, 2013 — Pre-release — Proposed Rule — Environmental Protection Agency
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Parts 70 and 71  [EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0162; FRL-9790-5] RIN 2060-AQ71 Amendments to Compliance Certification Content Requirements for State and Federal Operating Permits Programs AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. SUMMARY: The EPA proposes to amend the compliance certification requirements for state and federal operating permits programs that were published in the Federal Registeron June 27, 2003. In that action, one sentence was removed from the rules in error. This action proposes to restore the sentence to its original location in the rules. DATES: Comments. Comments must be received on or before ...

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Forbes Finds 12 Worldwide Wind Power deaths while 1,384 died in coal mines & 400,000 premature deaths in China annually from energy related pollution

In 2012 there were 12 wind industry deaths worldwide -- eight of which were in China where workplace safety standards are lax. In the U.S., the American Wind Energy Association has allied with Fed-OSHA to train workers on fall, electrical, and crane hazards. By comparison, 1,384 people died in coal mine accidents in China last year, and sulfur pollution alone contributes to about 400,000 premature deaths in China annually.
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EPA has proposed agreement to settle lawsuit filed by Environmental Action Network & Sierra Club #Cleanair

Mar 28, 2013 — Notice — Environmental Protection Agency
In accordance with section 113(g) of the Clean Air Act, as amended (``CAA'' or the ``Act''), 42 U.S.C. 7413(g), notice is hereby given of a proposed settlement agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by Louisiana Environmental Action Network and Sierra Club in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia: Louisiana Environmental Action Network and Sierra Club v. Jackson, Case No. 12- 1096 (D.D.C.) (``LEAN v. Jackson''). Plaintiffs filed this suit to compel the Administrator to respond to two administrative petitions (the ``June 2010 petition'' and the ``May 2011 petition'') requesting, among other things, that EPA object to CAA Title V operating permits issued by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to Consolidated Environmental Management, Inc.-- Nucor Steel Louisiana for a pig iron manufacturing process and for a direct reduced iron manufacturing process in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Under the terms of the proposed settlement agreement, EPA would agree to sign an order granting or denying one objection (``Specific Objection I'') in the May 2011 petition under 42 U.S.C. 7661d(b)(2) by April 29, 2013, and to sign an order or orders granting or denying the June 2010 petition and May 2011 petition (except for Specific Objection I) under 42 U.S.C. 7661d(b)(2) by October 17, 2013.

Original Text (PDF)

CDC: 110,197,000 Venereal Infections in U.S.; Nation Creating New STIs Faster Than New Jobs or College Grads

( - According to new data released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 19.7 million new venereal infections in the United States in 2008, bringing the total number of existing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S. at that time to 110,197,000.

The 19.7 million new STIs in 2008 vastly outpaced the new jobs and college graduates created in the United States that year or any other year on record, according to government data. The competition was not close.

The STI study referenced by the CDC estimated that 50 percent of the new infections in 2008 occurred among people in the 15-to-24 age bracket. In fact, of the 19,738,800 total new STIs in the United States in 2008, 9,782,650 were among Americans in the 15-to-24 age bracket.

By contrast, there were 1,524,092 bachelor's degrees awarded in the United States in the 2007-2008 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That means the total number of new STIs in 2008 outpaced the total number of new bachelor's degrees by nearly 13 to 1, and the number of new STIs among Americans in the 15-to-24 age bracket outnumbered new bachelor's degrees by more than 6 to 1.

While the CDC estimates that there were 19.7 million new STIs in the United States in 2008, data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the total number of people employed in the country actually declined by 2.9 million during that year.

The CDC said the new venereal infections contracted each year cost the nation about $16 billion.

"CDC's new estimates show that there are about 20 million new infections in the United States each year, costing the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone," said a CDC fact sheet.

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To Prevent Deforestation, Brazilian Supermarkets Ban Amazon Meat

Slashdot:"BBC reports that the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets, representing 2,800 members, says it will no longer sell meat from cattle raised in the rainforest, a step they hope will cut down on the illegal use of rainforest where huge swathes have been turned into land for pasture and soy plantations. Public Prosecutor Daniel Cesar Azeredo Avelino says consumers will benefit from the deal. 'The agreement foresees a series of specific actions to inform the consumer about the origin of the meat both through the internet and at the supermarkets,' says Azeredo.'We hope that the big chains will quickly take action.' The supermarkets' pledge comes as part of an initiative by the Public Prosecutor's Office to deprive the meat producers of outlets and an internet campaign aimed at informing Brazilian consumers of the ethics of boycotting meat from Amazonian sources is also planned. Brazil's Greenpeace advocacy group says the growth of the cattle industry in the Amazon is the single biggest cause of deforestation. For decades now, Brazilian authorities have battled illegal logging and other activities that continue to reduce the rainforest and in January the Brazilian government announced it plans to prepare an inventory of the trees in the Amazon rainforest. The Forestry Ministry said the census would take four years to complete and would provide detailed data on tree species, soils and biodiversity in the world's largest rainforest. The last such exhaustive survey was conducted more than three decades ago but didn't help stop deforestation."

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Mar. 27 Africa: Lead paint still on sale in Africa Paint with lead concentrations at up to 50%

Chemistry World: Most of this household paint contained lead at levels that could cause birth defects, high blood pressure and brain damage. Young children and pregnant women are at most risk. Other African countries, such as Nigeria and Kenya, also have lead paint on sale, says study author Perry Gottesfeld, director of the US charity Occupational Knowledge International.

Two-thirds of the paint sampled – made by more than 10 companies – had hazardous levels of lead above 90ppm. Paint with lead concentrations at up to 50% by weight were sold by Cameroon's largest paint company, Seigneurie, a subsidiary of the US paint company PPG, the second largest paint manufacturer in the world.

None of the lead paint had any warnings, and just 8% of the paints had labels identifying ingredients. Sampling by the researchers found that much of the paint applied to schools, daycare facilities and houses in Cameroon contained significant amounts of lead.

Lead exposure is linked to attention deficit disorder, impulsive behaviour like aggression, learning problems and poor reading and writing scores. 'The company should take responsibility for their inappropriate behaviour and buy up all that paint and replace it for free,' Taylor says.

Please continue reading at: Chemistry World

Gut microbes could offer weight loss benefits of GBP surgery – without the surgery #Health

Gastric bypass (GBP) surgery has become a popular procedure for the treatment of morbid obesity. While many assume it is the reduction of the functional volume of the stomach that helps people feel fuller while eating less that is the solely responsible for the patient's weight loss, it has been known for several years that there are other contributing factors at work. New research provides further evidence of this and could allow patients to see some of the weight loss benefits of GBP surgery without undergoing the surgery itself... Continue Reading Gut microbes could offer weight loss benefits of GBP surgery – without the surgery

Mar 27, 2013

Honeywell offers free on-line training seminars on first aid & treatments for HF acid exposures - @HoneywellNow

As part of our product stewardship activities relating to the production and shipment of HF acid, Honeywell International, offers free on-line training seminars on first aid and medical treatments for HF acid exposures.

The next training session is:
Thursday, April 18, 2013
10:00 am to 11:30 am Eastern Daylight Time

To register for the seminar, go to the website From the menu running across the top of the page, choose "Technical Services and Training", and then "On-Line HF Training Seminars".

 Then select "HF First Aid and Medical Treatment Seminar". Select "register online". You will receive an e-mail confirmation of your registration with a computer link to view the presentation, and a call in number to hear the audio portion. (You can accomplish the same registration by selecting "On-Line HF Training Seminars" from the Homepage.)
This is an interactive seminar you will have the opportunity to ask questions online during the seminar as well as via phone line at the end of the seminar.

If your facility may provide treatment for individuals exposed to HF acid, I also encourage you to download Honeywell's monograph on First Aid and Medical Treatment. It is available from the same website. From the homepage of on the right hand side of the page under "Download Technical Docs" select "HF Medical Book". The monograph is in the PDF format.

Also see other 2013 Training Dates

Is it Time to Stop Exempting Farms from Safety Rules? #OHS via @ALLGOV

...48% of all grain entrapments took place at commercial facilities and 52% on farms. But most farms aren't subject to oversight by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which regulates working conditions in most businesses.

 "At some point we're going to have to decide whether these incidents are just accidental … [or] somebody's really making horrendous decisions that approach a criminal level," William Field, a professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University who has studied entrapments since 1978, told The Center for Public Integrity. "It's intentional risk-taking on the part of the managers or someone in a supervisory capacity that ends up in some horrific incidents. The bottom line is if you ask them why they did it, it was because it was more profitable to do it that way." -David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff

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NRDC pesticide report on nanosilver & neonics flawed registration via @JBSass

NRDC reveals failed safeguards for pesticides - bad-actor pesticides, including nanosilver and the 'neonics', approved through 'conditional registration' loophole

Jennifer Sass, Ph.D.(NRDC): The public may think pesticides are only allowed onto store shelves and for use in agriculture if they have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a transparent and scientifically rigorous process.
Our investigations, however, reveal a deeply flawed system that has allowed the majority of pesticides onto the market without a public and transparent process, and in some cases without a full set of toxicity tests, using a loophole called a conditional registration. As many as 65% of more than 16,000 pesticides were first market-approved using this loophole, including nanosilver and the neonicotinoid pesticides that are linked to bee deaths.

Washington's Exploding Manholes Explained. Nation's capital has natural gas leaks everywhere

"Researchers who mapped methane concentrations on the streets of the nation's capital found natural gas leaks everywhere, at concentrations of up to 50 times the normal background levels. The leaking gas wastes resources, enhances ozone production, and exacerbates global warming—not to mention powering the city's infamous exploding manholes. Most of the natural gas we burn for heat and on stovetops in the United States is methane, a simple carbon atom surrounded by four hydrogens. Carbon dioxide gets more press, but methane is the more powerful agent of global warming, 21 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And methane levels are rising fast. Methane levels in the atmosphere were just 650 parts per billion a century ago, versus 1800 ppb today."
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War is hell: Why Soldiers Keep Losing to Suicide | nearly 50% of suicides never saw combat

FRONTLINE | PBS: Most soldiers who take their own lives today have no history of deployment. They've never seen combat, never been to war.

Nobody really knows why.

And although the military's suicide problem flared during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, so far it doesn't seem to be ending with them.

About 53 percent of those who died by suicide in the military in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, had no history of deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan,according (pdf) to the Defense Department. And nearly 85 percent of military members who took their lives had no direct combat history, meaning they may have been deployed but not seen action.

"So we're dealing with broader societal issues," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a June speech. "Substance abuse, financial distress and relationship problems — the risk factors for suicide — also reflect problems … that will endure beyond war."

While suicide has increased across all branches of the military over the last decade, the Army has seen the most significant spikes.

According to figures released last week, there were 303 suicides in the Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve so far this year.  Of these, 93 deaths are still under investigation.  Last year, the Army had 283 suicides.

Causes of suicide are complex and unique to each individual, so there's no simple reason why service members are taking their lives in greater numbers now.

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Middle class or the 90% earning only $59 more than in 1966

Salon - David Cay Johnston has highlighted yet more statistics that illuminate the spike in income inequality in the U.S. in recent decades..."The vast majority averaged a mere $59 more in 2011 than in 1966. For the top 10 percent, by the same measures, average income rose by $116,071 to $254,864, an increase of 84 percent over 1966."
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More than half of nation's rivers and streams are polluted #Safe #Water

Stateline - More than half of the nation's thousands of miles of rivers and streams are plagued by poor water quality, including harmful nutrient pollution and mercury, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

That was the key finding of the agency's first comprehensive examination of the health of U.S. waters.

Fifty-five percent of these waters were considered to be in "poor" condition for aquatic life, while just 21 percent of the waters were considered "good."  The results were based on samples collected randomly from nearly 2,000 rivers during the summers of 2008 and 2009, the agency said.
Among the findings:
  • More than a quarter of rivers and streams registered high nitrogen levels and 40 percent had too much phosphorous. Such nutrient pollution, which typically runs off of farmland, sparks algae growth, eroding food supplies and depriving aquatic species of oxygen.
  • More than a quarter of rivers and streams are particularly prone to flooding, pollution and erosion because of a dearth of vegetation cover.
  • Nine percent of waters tested positive for high bacteria levels, making them not fit for swimming.
  • Fish in more than 13,000 of miles of water carried high levels of mercury, a toxic element particularly harmful to children and fetuses.
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Mar. 26 US: Safe Cosmetics & Personal Care Products Act of 2013 Kicks-off to Ensure Safety of Cosmetics

Article by SpecialChem.

While natural body-care products represent the fastest growing segment of the cosmetics market, your local pharmacy shelves are still full of products laden with toxic chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive harm. To address this problem, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduced the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013, which would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to ensure that all personal care products are free of harmful ingredients. Existing law, which has not been significantly updated since 1938, has loopholes that allow chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities and other illnesses in products we use on our bodies every day.

"The cosmetics industry has an ugly problem: make-up, shampoos, and lotions are contaminated with toxic chemicals that harm health," said Janet Nudelman of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. "Products used every day by men, women, and children contain unsafe chemicals, whether it's baby shampoos contaminated with cancer-causing formaldehyde, lead in lipsticks or mercury in skin creams. The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013 will give the beauty industry a much-needed make-over," said Nudelman.

The legislation will:

  • Phase out ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects and developmental harm
  • Create a health-based safety standard that includes protections for children, the elderly, workers and other vulnerable populations
  • Close labeling loopholes by requiring full ingredient disclosure, including salon products and the constituent ingredients of fragrance, on product labels and company websites
  • Give workers access to information about unsafe chemicals in personal care products
  • Require data sharing to avoid duplicative testing and encourage the development of alternatives to animal testing
  • Provide adequate funding for the FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors so it has the resources it needs for effective oversight of the cosmetics industry
  • Level the playing field so small businesses can compete fairly

Advocates for consumers and workers support the new legislation. Jamie McConnell, Director of Programs and Policy at Women's Voices for the Earth said, "This bill provides commonsense protections for not only consumers but those working in the salon industry who are exposed to toxic chemicals on a daily basis. For example formaldehyde is a chemical that has been banned for use in professional hair straighteners in other countries, but because of our lax laws, is still permitted in the U.S. Passage of this bill is long overdue."

For more information and the full article please refer to the link above.

Mar 26, 2013

Still Room for Greening the EDU - 2013 Sustainable Schools Symposium - #CSR #Sustainable #Education

The 2013 Sustainable Schools Symposium will be held next week on Tuesday, April 2 from 10 AM – 4 PM at Loyola University Chicago, Lake Shore Campus. 

There is still room for about 50 more attendees.
The agenda is available at
Please click here to register for the event as seats are limited. There is no cost to register.

Tar-sands & Oil Shale Proposed Land Management Rule - #Energy #News

Mar 26, 2013 — Oil Shale Management - General — Proposed Rule — Land Management Bureau
Agency (EPA) under laws that govern hazardous or toxic substances. Such risk assessments characterize the probability of adverse effects from exposure to environmental stressors and differ from the proposed UER standard in that they are quantitative characterizations derived from scientific processes that use statistical and biological models to calculate numerical estimates of ecological and health risks. See Office of Emergency and Remedial Response, U.S. EPA, Risk Assessment Guidance for Super... Read full at:

OSHA Proposed Rule on Respirator Certification Fees #OHS #Mining #News

Mar 26, 2013 — Pre-release — Proposed Rule — Health and Human Services Department
Administration (OSHA) require U.S. employers to supply NIOSH-approved respirators to their employees whenever the employer requires the use of respirators. NIOSH currently charges fees for conducting the examination, inspection and testing of such respirators which is necessary to grant the required approval. This proposed rule is designed to assure that all approval activities are covered by appropriate fees, to update the fees charged, and to create a mechanism for routinely updating fees in th...

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EPA Final Rule on Pesticide Tolerances: Emamectin Benzoate & Abamectin #Regulatory #News

 Mar 26, 2013 — Emamectin Benzoate Final Rule — Environmental Protection Agency
III.A., EPA has concluded that emamectin benzoate does not pose a cancer risk to humans. Therefore, a dietary exposure assessment for the purpose of assessing cancer risk is unnecessary. iv. Anticipated residue and PCT information. Section 408(b)(2)(E) of FFDCA authorizes EPA to use available data and information on the anticipated residue levels of pesticide residues in food and the actual levels of pesticide residues that have been measured in food. If EPA relies on such information...

Final Rule is available at

Mar 26, 2013 — Pre-release — Abamectin Final Rule  — Environmental Protection Agency
EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0418, is available at  or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal 13P-0170 2 holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephon...

Final Rule is available at

14 million now get $124 billion disability check from the government. Alabama, 1 in 4 working-age adults is on disability.

The first is from Planet Money from NPR.

It is an article on how SSDI and disability insurance is being utilized.
Excerpt: In Hale County, Alabama, 1 in 4 working-age adults is on disability. On the day government checks come in every month, banks stay open late, Main Street fills up with cars, and anybody looking to unload an old TV or armchair has a yard sale.

Sonny Ryan, a retired judge in town, didn't hear disability cases in his courtroom. But the subject came up often. He described one exchange he had with a man who was on disability but looked healthy.

"Just out of curiosity, what is your disability?" the judge asked from the bench.
"I have high blood pressure," the man said.
"So do I," the judge said. "What else?"
"I have diabetes."
"So do I."

The second is a companion piece from the Atlantic which pretty much an extension of the above:
Disability Insurance: America's $124 Billion Secret Welfare Program

Excerpt: That rapid, under-the-political-radar expansion has turned the program into a massive budget item. As of 2010, its monthly cash payments accounted for nearly one out of every five Social Security dollars spent, or about $124 billion. In 1988, by comparison, it accounted for just one out of eight Social Security dollars. Because disabled workers qualify for Medicare, they also added $59 billion to the government's healthcare tab.
Some take home points:
1)       Disability numbers are not reflected in unemployment numbers
2)       The notion of the Disability-Industrial complex is starting to take place
3)       Education among physicians on disability needs to broaden
4)       Disability reform needs to happen not only at a government level, but at a personal level as well.


Code "BLUE" Windows 8 & Server update will keep constant connection to mothership EVEN when in sleep mode #Tech #News

Blue [is] the codename for the first of a number of annual...updates to Windows 8 that is expected to hit late this summer. Supposedly Blue will [also] span...Windows Phone, Windows Server, Windows RT...SkyDrive and
Blue is optimized for power efficiency. ...when sleeping an ultrabook would remain connected to Internet-based apps such as email and social networks, so it remains constantly up to date. 

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H.R. 678, Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development & Rural Jobs Act #Jobs #Renewable #Energy

H.R. 678 would clarify that the jurisdiction over small hydropower development by private entities on all bureau irrigation canals and conduits lies solely with the bureau. Under current law, the bureau or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has jurisdiction over hydropower development at such facilities. CBO expects that this change would result in a small increase in receipts from hydropower development because the federal government collects no funds from project developers if a project is authorized by FERC.
read complete document  (pdf, 20 kb)

March 26 is Diabetes Alert Day: Info on Prevention from CDC #Health

Announcements: Diabetes Alert Day — March 26, 2013
March 26 is Diabetes Alert Day, which is dedicated to raising awareness about type 2 diabetes, its risk factors, and its prevention. Type 2 diabetes, which can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes such as losing weight and increasing physical activity, accounts for 90%–95% of all diabetes cases in the United States (1).

Information about type 2 diabetes and ways to prevent it is available from numerous sources.The Prediabetes Risk Test ( is a helpful resource that uses answers to a few simple questions about weight, age, family history, and other risk factors to indicate a person's risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program ( is working with partners in communities across the United States to establish effective lifestyle change programs for persons at high risk for type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle change programs are listed by state at The Just One Step tool ( Web Site Icon), created by the National Diabetes Education Program, a joint program of the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, provides helpful tips for making lifestyle changes.

CDC's Diabetes Interactive Atlases ( provide data on trends in diagnosed diabetes (both prevalence and incidence), obesity, and leisure-time physical inactivity in the United States. Additional information about diabetes control and prevention is available at

   1. CDC. 2011 national diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2011. Available at Adobe PDF file.

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Awareness of Prediabetes — United States, 2005–2010
March 22, 2013 / 62(11);209-212

In 2010, approximately one in three U.S. adults aged =20 years (an estimated 79 million persons) had prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose or hemoglobin A1c (A1c) levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes (1). Persons with prediabetes are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90%–95% of all cases of diabetes. Each year, 11% of persons with prediabetes who do not lose weight and do not engage in moderate physical activity will progress to type 2 diabetes during the average 3 years of follow-up (2). Evidence-based lifestyle programs that encourage dietary changes, moderate-intensity physical activity, and modest weight loss can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes in persons with prediabetes (2). Identifying persons with prediabetes and informing them about their increased risk for type 2 diabetes are first steps in encouraging persons with prediabetes to make healthy lifestyle changes. However, during 2005–2006, only approximately 7% of persons with prediabetes were aware that they had prediabetes (3). To examine recent changes in awareness of prediabetes and factors associated with awareness among adults aged =20 years, CDC analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that, during 2009–2010, approximately 11% of those with prediabetes were aware of their condition. Furthermore, during 2005–2010, estimated awareness of prediabetes was <14% across all population subgroups, different levels of health-care access or use, and other factors. In the United States, persons with prediabetes, including those with regular access to health care, might benefit from efforts aimed at making them aware that they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and that they can reduce that risk by making modest lifestyle changes. Efforts are needed to increase awareness.

Japan has found rare earth reserves in the Pacific Seabed that are 1000 times all land based deposit

Japanese scientists have found vast reserves of rare earth metals on the Pacific seabed that can be mined cheaply, a discovery that may break the Chinese monopoly on a crucial raw material needed in hi-tech industries and advanced weapons systems.

"We have found deposits that are just two to four metres from the seabed surface at higher concentrations than anybody ever thought existed, and it won't cost much at all to extract," said professor Yasuhiro Kato from Tokyo University, the leader of the team.

While America, Australia, and other countries have begun to crank up production of the seventeen rare earth elements, they have yet to find viable amounts of the heavier metals such as dysprosium, terbium, europium, and ytterbium that are most important.

Beijing shocked the world when it suddenly began to restrict exports in 2009, prompting furious protests and legal complaints by both the US and the EU at the World Trade Organisation. China claimed that it was clamping down on smuggling and environmental abuse.

Read more from Next Big Future

Uranium from Seawater is over 200 times the energy of Methane Hydrate in the Ocean

Japan has extracted gas from offshore deposits of methane hydrate — sometimes called "flammable ice" — a breakthrough that officials and experts said could be a step toward tapping a promising but still little-understood energy source. Japan hopes to make methane hydrate commercially viable in 5 years.

With specialized equipment, the team drilled into and then lowered the pressure in the undersea methane hydrate reserve, causing the methane and ice to separate. It then piped the natural gas to the surface. The surrounding area in the Nankai submarine trough holds at least 1.1 trillion cubic meters, or 39 trillion cubic feet, of methane hydrate, enough to meet 11 years' worth of gas imports to Japan.

A separate rough estimate by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has put the total amount of methane hydrate in the waters surrounding Japan at more than 7 trillion cubic meters, or what researchers have long said is closer to 100 years' worth of Japan's natural gas needs.

The EIA estimates the naturally occurring gas hydrate resource vary from 10,000 trillion cubic feet to more than 100,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The 100,000 trillion cf would be an energy resource of 105,000 EJ. Tapping such resources would require significant additional research and technological improvements

There is about 4.4 billion tons of uranium in seawater. Deep burn nuclear fission (where reactors that can burn all of the uranium for energy) would enable 217 million EJ of energy to be produced.

There has been progress towards making extracting uranium from seawater affordable.

Read more by Next Big Future

Crowded Hong Kong Is Planning To Build Datacenters Deep Inside Caves

Data Caves Arup via The Register
Cool land could help meet bandwidth needs, just look below you

Companies have made data centers--those big warehouses full of servers--into creative, even beautiful, spaces before. But, short on available land, Hong Kong is looking into where to put new data centers, and they're thinking caves might be the ticket.

It might not be as tough as you'd assume. In fact, as The Register points out, data centers in Norway and Kansas City have already made it happen. The land--er, the area underneath the land--could be purchased from whoever owns the above-ground area. The natural coolness of a cave could even help keep the data centers from overheating. The government has already selected five areas, with 20 hectares of land each, that might work for the data centers.

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Mar 25, 2013

World's Most Powerful Private Supercomputer Will Hunt Oil and Gas #Energy

Slashdot: "French oil conglomerate Total has inaugurated the world's ninth-most-powerful supercomputer, Panega. Its purpose: seek out new reservoirs of oil and gas. The supercomputer's total output is 2.3 petaflops, which should place it about ninth on today's TOP500 list, last updated in November. The announcement came as Dell and others prepare to inaugurate a new supercomputer, Stampede, in Texas on March 27. What's noteworthy about Pangea, however, is that it will be the most powerful supercomputer owned and used by private industry; the vast majority of such systems are in use by government agencies and academic institutions. Right now, the most powerful private supercomputer for commercial use is the Hermit supercomputer in Stuttgart; ranked 27th in the world, the 831.4 Tflop machine is a public-private partnership between the University of Stuttgart and hww GmbH. Panega, which will cost 60 million Euro ($77.8 million) over four years, will assist decision-making in the exploration of complex geological areas and to increase the efficiency of hydrocarbon production in compliance with the safety standards and with respect for the environment, Total said. Pangea will be will be stored at Total's research center in the southwestern French city of Pau."
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Donations to Wisconsin's endangered resources program hit 10-year low

The state Department of Natural Resource's Endangered Resources Bureau, which monitors threatened species and gets 25 percent of its funding from those donations, is looking for answers to the trend. The wolf license plate is the bureau's biggest benefactor, even though the bureau no longer manages wolves now that they're not endangered.

...DNR officials said they haven't been able to pinpoint the reason for the decline, but they are preparing a public education plan to better explain the importance of their work, said Erin Crain, the bureau's director.

"I don't know that we always do such a great job in telling our story," she said. "We have a compelling message that doesn't always get translated that well."

Wisconsin State's renewables mandate will cost the Badger State $788 million in higher electricity costs.

JSonline: Fifteen years ago, legislators, convinced that Wisconsin needed to embrace renewable energy at any cost, adopted the state's first so-called Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Rewritten since then, the standard now requires that utilities generate 10% of electricity from sources such as wind and solar by the end of 2015.

Now that the state is within shooting distance of attaining that goal, there is movement in the Legislature to increase the requirement to 25% by 2025. The Badger state's future, proponents of such mandates believe, lies in seizing green opportunities that will create scads of jobs for its residents and add billions of dollars to its economy.

Unfortunately, what looks good on the surface - both in terms of economics and the environment - is often not the case when drilling down to the details.

A deeper analysis reveals that the standard is far from the job creator and economic engine proponents claim. In simple terms (and in the laws of basic economics), when you mandate the purchase of a more expensive product (such as wind or solar power) to replace a less costly one (such as coal- or natural gas-generated power), the additional expense is passed to the buyer. The higher costs filter throughout the economy and leave less buying power for consumers and businesses.

In the case of Wisconsin, a specific analysis, "The Economic Impact of Wisconsin's Renewable Portfolio Standard," has been done. According to the study by the Beacon Hill Institute, an economics think tank at Suffolk University in Boston, the standard will raise electricity costs by 2.4% in 2016 alone. Over the four-year period between 2013 and 2016, the standard will cost the Badger State $788 million in higher electricity costs.

Wisconsin citizens can expect to see those impacts filter into the goods and services they purchase once the standard is in full effect. Based on Beacon Hill's analysis, commercial businesses will pay $1,195 more in electricity costs over the same four-year period, and the typical industrial user will pay $91,620 more. Those additional costs to business and industry then will be recovered at the checkout line and when you pay your bills.

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Final Rule filed: California State Implementation Plan: SCAQMD for VOC emissions from architectural coatings. #Regulatory

Final Rule filed for public inspection on Mar 25, 2013

40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2012-0827; FRL-9785-6]
Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, South Coast Air Quality Management District
AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: EPA is finalizing approval of revisions to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP).  This action was proposed in the Federal Register on November 7, 2012 and concerns volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from architectural coatings. We are approving a local rule that regulates these emission sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act).

DATES: This rule is effective on [Insert date 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register].
ADDRESSES:  EPA has established docket number EPA-R09-OAR-2012-0827

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Mar 24, 2013

Where are our priorities? More people have access to cellphones than toilets #Humanity #Compassion #Peace

A new United Nations study has found that more people around the world have access to a cellphone than to a working toilet.

The study's numbers claim that of the world's estimated 7 billion people, 6 billion have access to mobile phones. However, only 4.5 billion have access to a toilet.

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Instead of cutting excessive GOV spending, Chicago announces mass closing of elementary schools

By not investing in our kids, we giving up on our future. 

Reuters - Chicago will close 54 schools and 61 school buildings by the beginning of the next academic year in the country's third-largest public school district, a move that education experts called the largest mass closing in the nation. 

The district will shutter 53 elementary schools and one high school, primarily in Hispanic and African-American neighborhoods. The district, which has a $1 billion annual deficit, has said it needs to close underutilized schools to save money. 

Enrollment in Chicago Public Schools has fallen 20 percent in the last decade, mainly because of population declines in poor neighborhoods. The district said it can accommodate 511,000 students, but only about 403,000 are enrolled. It said that nearly 140 of its schools are more than half empty. 

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