Mar 1, 2024

A simple way to get microplastics out of your water

New research found that boiling drinking water can remove up to nearly 90 percent of microplastics.
"This study is aimed to stimulate more studies," the scientists wrote in their new paper. But they also noted that boiling water is relatively easy to do and has other health benefits — like killing potentially harmful microbes, parasites and viruses.

If you want to try it, the researchers cautioned you should wait 5 to 10 minutes to let the solids settle — and let the water cool. 
Then you can filter out the solids.

​World’s largest review finds direct associations with higher risks of cancer, heart disease and early death linked to Ultra-processed food

Ultra-processed food (UPF), "often chemically manipulated cheap ingredients" and "made palatable and attractive by using combinations of flavours, colours, emulsifiers, thickeners and other additives", directly linked to 32 health parameters spanning mortality, cancer, and mental, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and metabolic health outcomes."

From the Guardian:
Ultra-processed food (UPF) is directly linked to 32 harmful effects to health, including a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, adverse mental health and early death, according to the world's largest review of its kind.

The findings from the first comprehensive umbrella review of evidence come amid rapidly rising global consumption of UPF such as cereals, protein bars, fizzy drinks, ready meals and fast food.

In the UK and US, more than half the average diet now consists of ultra-processed food. For some, especially people who are younger, poorer or from disadvantaged areas, a diet comprising as much as 80% UPF is typical.
Convincing evidence showed that higher UPF intake was associated with about a 50% increased risk of cardiovascular disease-related death, a 48 to 53% higher risk of anxiety and common mental disorders, and a 12% greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

Highly suggestive evidence also indicated that higher PF intake was associated with a 21% greater risk of death from any cause, a 40 to 66% increased risk of heart disease related death, obesity, type 2 diabetes and sleep problems, and a 22% increased risk of depression.

The findings published in the BMJ suggest diets high in UPF may be harmful to many elements of health. The results of the review involving almost 10 million people underscored a need for measures to target and reduce exposure to UPF, the researchers said.

The review involved experts from a number of leading institutions, including Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US, the University of Sydney and Sorbonne University in France.

Please read full from Andrew Gregory Health editor of The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2024/feb/28/ultra-processed-food-32-harmful-effects-health-review

Science Source:
https://www.bmj.com/content/384/bmj-2023-077310

Feb 27, 2024

​Very cool: plants trees stalling effects of global warming in eastern US.

(The Guardian) Trees provide innumerable benefits to the world, from food to shelter to oxygen, but researchers have now found their dramatic rebound in the eastern US has delivered a further, stunning feat – the curtailing of the soaring temperatures caused by the climate crisis.

While the US, like the rest of the world, has heated up since industrial times due to the burning of fossil fuels, scientists have long been puzzled by a so-called "warming hole" over parts of the US south-east where temperatures have flatlined, or even cooled, despite the unmistakable broader warming trend.

A major reason for this anomaly, the new study finds, is the vast reforestation of much of the eastern US following the initial loss of large numbers of trees in the wake of European settlement in America. Such large expanses have been reforested in the past century – with enough trees sprouting back to cover an area larger than England – that it has helped stall the affect of global heating.

"The reforestation has been remarkable and we have shown this has translated into the surrounding air temperature,"
said Mallory Barnes, an environmental scientist at Indiana University who led the research. "The 'warming hole' has been a real mystery and while this doesn't explain all of it, this research shows there is a really important link to the trees coming back."

There was a surge in deforestation from the start of the US's early colonial history, as woodland was razed for agriculture and housing, but this began to reverse from around the 1920s as more people began to move into cities, leaving marginal land to become populated again with trees. The US government, meanwhile, embarked upon an aggressive tree-planting program, with these factors leading to about 15m hectares of reforested area in the past century in the eastern US.

Read more from Oliver Milman
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/feb/17/us-east-trees-warming-hole-study-climate-crisis

Research source:
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2023EF003663

Feb 20, 2024

EPA Issues Regulation Strengthening Air Quality Standards for PM 2.5

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule to strengthen the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The current standard, which has been in place for more than a decade, limits the average annual amount of fine particle pollution to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The EPA will now require a 25% reduction in the allowable PM 2.5 to 9.0 micrograms per cubic meter but will retain the previous standards for all other PM standards.

The tougher standard on particulate matter, often referred to as the "soot rule," will be fully implemented by 2032. The EPA maintains that the reduced PM 2.5 standard will result in $46 billion in public health benefits.  The EPA's new rule will trigger the following actions to implement the revised PM2.5 NAAQS:

For more information on particle pollution and to read the final rule, visit epa.gov/pm-pollution

Jan 23, 2024

EPA Proposes New Waste Combustion Emissions Limits Under the Clean Air Act

Proposed rules would increase the stringency of Clean Air Act standards applicable to facilities that burn 250 tons or more of municipal solid waste per day.

Among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ("EPA") latest environmental initiatives is its proposal to amend the 1995 Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources: Large Municipal Waste Combustors ("LMWCs"). On January 11, 2024, EPA announced proposed rules that would increase the stringency of Clean Air Act standards applicable to facilities that burn 250 tons or more of municipal solid waste per day.

For new sources, the proposed rules would limit emissions of nine pollutants, including particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, lead, cadmium, mercury, and dioxins/furans. For existing sources, the proposed rules would revise emissions limits for all nine of the above pollutants except for carbon monoxide limits for two subcategories of combustors. Clients should consider the impact of the proposed rules on waste-to-energy systems and other operations that depend on large waste combustion facilities.

EPA is also proposing to:

  • Remove exemptions and exclusions for startup, shutdown, and malfunction;
  • Add provisions for electronic reporting of certain notifications and reports;
  • Revise recordkeeping requirements; and
  • Clarify Title V permitting requirements for certain air curtain incinerators.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to evaluate these standards every five years in order to take into account developments in pollution control technologies and techniques. EPA states that the proposed standards are based on emission levels achieved by the "best controlled and lower-emitting" sources, particularly "cost-effective advances in NOx emissions controls."

As of January 11, 2024, EPA estimates that the proposed rules would apply to 57 facilities with 152 units that have the capacity to combust more than 250 tons per day of municipal solid waste. EPA states that these facilities nearly are disproportionately located in low-income communities and communities of color, and that the proposed amendments would result in an estimated 14,000 tons per year reduction in regulated pollutants.

EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Please read full from source:
https://www.jonesday.com/en/insights/2024/01/epa-proposes-new-waste-combustion-emissions-limits-under-the-clean-air-act

Jan 10, 2024

​Benzene Public Health Report

Excellent report on the struggle to get industries to control benzene, whose substitution with safer solvents was urged by Dr. Alice Hamilton and others over 100 years ago.  Journalist Jim Morris began reporting on the toxic corporate crimes of these industries as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle in the 1970s.

From the article:
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, concluded that the legal limit at the time — 10 parts per million, or 10 ppm, over an eight-hour workday — was far too lenient. Led by Eula Bingham, a plain-spoken Kentuckian appointed by Jimmy Carter, the agency issued an emergency temporary standard that limited exposure to 1 ppm.

What happened next marked the beginning of a battle over benzene regulation that continues to this day. The more the chemical is studied, the worse it looks, with recent science tying even miniscule amounts to childhood leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers.


Dec 23, 2023

Wisconsin DNR Halts Efforts to Set PFAS Groundwater Standards, Concedes Legislative Action Will Be Required for Adoption of Proposed Standards

Michael Best - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and Gov. Tony Evers halted rulemaking to establish Chapter NR 140 groundwater standards for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) after determining state law requires legislative action to adopt the standards as proposed.

In 2017, the Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker adopted the Wisconsin Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny Act, more commonly known by its acronym (the REINS Act). Among other things, the REINS Act requires agencies to stop work on any rule if an economic impact analysis (EIA) indicates that compliance and implementation costs of a rule are reasonably expected to be $10 million or more in any two-year period. Rulemaking may not proceed until legislation authorizing the agency to promulgate the rule is enacted or the agency modifies the rule to reduce compliance costs of the rule below the $10 million threshold.

In its final EIA for the proposed PFAS groundwater standards rule, WDNR concludes that implementation and compliance costs "reasonably expected to be incurred by or passed along to businesses, local governmental units, and individuals" as a result of the standards will exceed $33 million in the first two years after the rule takes effect. As a result, WDNR has determined that it must stop rulemaking.

"As required by state statutes, the DNR has stopped work on this proposed rule and has notified the state legislature," WDNR said in a news release. "The state legislature will need to grant the DNR authority to continue the rulemaking process for setting PFAS standards..."

WDNR has also canceled a virtual public hearing on the draft rule scheduled for January 3, 2024.

Chapter NR 140 groundwater standards are Wisconsin's ambient groundwater quality standards. After adoption, NR 140 enforcement standards and preventive action limits are utilized in a number of regulatory programs, including the Remediation and Redevelopment Program (as related to environmental remediation of sites impacted by hazardous substance releases) and the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit program (as related to discharges to groundwater regulated under state law).

Based on recommendations from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, WDNR had proposed the following NR 140 groundwater standards:

  • For PFOA and PFOS (individually or combined), an Enforcement Standard (ES) of 20 parts per trillion (ng/L) and a Preventive Action Limit (PAL) of 2 parts per trillion.
  • For PFBS, an ES of 450 parts per billion (µg/L) and a PAL of 90 parts per billion.
  • For HFPO-DA ("GenX"), an ES of 300 parts per trillion and a PAL of 30 parts per trillion.

In a letter released by the Governor's Office, Gov. Evers asked two legislative Republicans to introduce legislation enabling the PFAS groundwater standards to move forward.

"As required under law, the DNR will pause rulemaking efforts on this proposed permanent rule until the Wisconsin State Legislature passes legislation explicitly allowing the DNR to continue this rulemaking," Gov. Evers wrote. "To expedite resuming this important rulemaking process, and consistent with the commitment you made to me to pursue legislation to that effect, my office has drafted legislation in partnership with the DNR for the Wisconsin State Legislature to take up expeditiously. I urge you to do so without delay."

Read full at: Michael Best

Dec 3, 2023

​Boeing 787 flys from London to New York powered solely by animal waste; approach could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation industry by 70% (More)


Sustainable aviation fuel, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about 70%, is the best near-term way for the international aviation industry to achieve its net zero target by 2050, the U.S. Energy Department said, though it called the goal aspirational.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office said that while domestic production of the fuel had jumped from about 2 million gallons in 2016 to 15.8 million gallons in 2022, it accounted for less than 0.1% of the jet fuel used by major U.S. airlines. It was also a drop in the bucket compared to the goal of producing 1 billion gallons a year set in 2018 by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Please read full from:

To protect kids, EPA wants total removal of lead pipes for the first time

(The Washington Post) The proposed rule, aimed at reducing exposure to a potent neurotoxin, would require water systems nationwide to replace lead pipes that carry tap water to homes, schools and offices

The EPA has said it could cost $45 billion.
But the costs of lead exposure are also high. Lead can cause irreversible cognitive damage and other health problems, even at low levels, and particularly in small children. Despite the significant health threat, cities have struggled to get rid of the estimated 9 million lead pipes that remain. And the federal government has never required their total replacement.

"This is a public health concern that has unfortunately spanned generations and an issue that has disproportionately affected low-income communities," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said during a call with reporters Wednesday. "Our proposed improvements are a major advancement."


Please read full at:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2023/11/30/lead-pipe-poisoning-biden-epa/

Bacteria that consumes greenhouse gases

(The Guardian) Typically, this group of bacteria thrive in environments with high levels of methane (between 5,000 and 10,000 parts per million (ppm)). The normal concentrations in our atmosphere have much lower levels of only about 1.9 ppm of methane. But certain areas such as landfills, rice fields and oilwells emit higher concentrations of about 500 ppm.

"Bacteria that rapidly eat methane at the higher concentrations found around cattle herds, etc could make a huge contribution to cutting methane emissions, especially from tropical agriculture," said Euan Nisbet, professor of Earth sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London, commenting on the findings of the study.

The strain's high methane consumption rate is probably due to a low energy requirement and greater attraction for methane – more than five times more than that of other bacteria, according to the study.

"The bacteria oxidise the methane to CO2 (a much less powerful greenhouse gas) and so you can even use the exhaust to pump into greenhouses and grow tomatoes," said Nisbet.


Read full at:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/aug/22/bacteria-that-eats-methane-could-slow-global-heating-study-finds

Music can reduce pain.

According to a 2023 study by scientists at McGill University in Montreal, listening to your favorite music reduces pain by one point on a 10-point scale. Scientists asked a series of questions after participants experienced pain while listening to either their favorite songs, relaxing songs picked for them, scrambled music, or silence. Once each seven-minute round was over, subjects rated the music's pleasantness and how many "chills" — that goosebump feeling you get when listening to moving music — they experienced. Listening to preferred music, especially moving music, far outranked other scenarios, and participants ranked the pain as less intense and less unpleasant. 

Nov 30, 2023

Forest “friendly bacteria” schools boost children’s immune systems

First developed in Denmark in the early 1950s, forest schools have been steadily gaining momentum across the globe over the past two decades. The practice, which sees children spending their days learning outdoors among the trees, offers young ones a host of physical and emotional benefits.  Kids who are educated outside come in contact with a variety of "friendly bacteria," which can boost their immune systems by increasing the microbial diversity on their skin and in their guts. And forest schools, which can now be found on at least four continents, have also been shown to improve mental health and instill a sense of responsibility for the natural world.

Forest boost children's immune systems
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.aba2578

Denmark forest schools:
https://www.theforestschoolfoundation.org/background-information-history

Nov 27, 2023

​Finland will be self-sufficient in electricity within a year or two, says minister

In Eurajoki, Finland a new facility has come online that can produce clean energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Expected to meet 14% of Finland's electricity demand (which is around 756,000 people ), this facility has made electricity prices in Finland drop below zero. And believe it or not, America has 93 of these same facilities hidden throughout the country.

It will help Finland to achieve its carbon neutrality targets and increase energy security at a time when European countries have cut oil, gas and other power supplies from Russia, Finland's neighbor.

The Olkiluoto 3 reactor, which has 1,600-megawatt capacity, was connected into the Finnish national power grid in March 2022 and kicked off regular production on Sunday. Operator Teollisuuden Voima, or TVO, tweeted that "Olkiluoto 3 is now ready" after a delay of 14 years from the original plan.


Read full at:
https://yle.fi/a/3-12618297

Sep 9, 2023

U.S. Department of Energy Invests $61 Million to Fund 31 Applied Research, Development and Demonstration Projects to Advance Clean Manufacturing

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) selected 31 projects led by national laboratories, industry, and academia to accelerate research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) in domestic manufacturing. With over $61 million in federal funding, the selectees will drive innovation to advance the next-generation materials and manufacturing and related energy technologies required to strengthen America's economic competitiveness and move the U.S. towards a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. 

Projects were selected within the following topic areas: 

Next Generation Materials and Manufacturing — 20 projects were selected in this topic area (supported in part by EERE's Wind Energy and Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Technologies Offices), which focuses on RD&D for cost-effective manufacturing processes and novel materials with improved properties. Specific subtopics include increased conductivity metal-based material systems ($6.8 million), harsh environment materials ($15.8 million), and AI/machine learning for aerostructures ($5 million).  

Secure and Sustainable Materials — Four projects were selected in this topic area ($10.8 million). The selected projects specifically address regional pilot-scale demonstrations of circular supply chains that include advancements in technologies such as innovative material recovery, end-of-life processing, and recycling. 

Energy Technology Manufacturing — Seven projects were selected in this topic area, which is co-funded by the Buildings Technologies Office and focuses on clean energy technology manufacturing innovation to improve performance and address technical barriers. Specific subtopics are the development, scale-up, and demonstration of processing technologies to manufacture state-of-the-art cathode active materials (CAM) for domestic electric vehicle battery manufacturing ($17.6 million) and building dehumidification scale-up ($5 million).  

In addition to the federal government's funding of $61.07 million, there is a cost share of $17.53 million, for a total of $78.6 million available to the selectees.

Learn more about the selected projects.

The Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) is leading this FOA in collaboration with the Buildings Technologies Office (BTO) and Office of Electricity (OE). The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Office (HFTO) and the Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) are each co-funding one project in the next generation materials and manufacturing topic.



Sep 5, 2023

Chinese people are living two years longer thanks to ‘war on pollution,’ report says

Hong Kong CNN  — Ten years ago, China's capital was often covered in dense yellow and gray smog, so thick it shrouded nearly everything from view.

People locked their windows, donned face masks and cranked air purifiers on high to escape what became known as Beijing's "air-pocalypse."

The air quality was so bad, and became so globally infamous, that Chinese leaders launched a multibillion-dollar "war against pollution."

A decade on, those efforts are paying dividends. China's pollution levels in 2021 had fallen 42% from 2013, according to a new report released Tuesday, making it a rare success story in the region, where pollution is getting worse in some parts, including South Asia.


Source:

https://edition.cnn.com/2023/08/30/asia/air-pollution-report-china-south-asia-intl-hnk-scn

77% of young Americans too fat, mentally ill, on drugs and more to join military, Pentagon study finds

A Pentagon study revealed that 77 percent of young Americans do not qualify for military service without a waiver due to being overweight, drug use, or mental or physical problems.

"There are many factors that we are navigating through, such as the fact that youth are more disconnected and disinterested compared to previous generations," Dietz said, according to Military.com. "The declining veteran population and shrinking military footprint has contributed to a market that is unfamiliar with military service resulting in an overreliance of military stereotypes."

In September, Pentagon leaders sounded the alarm on its recruiting challenges.

"The Department anticipates we will collectively miss our recruiting mission despite accessing more than 170,000 remarkable young men and women" in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, Stephanie Miller, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy, told the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee. "This constitutes an unprecedented mission gap and is reason for concern."


Microplastics infiltrate all systems of body, cause behavioral changes, potential for serious health consequences, including Alzheimer’s

Neuroscience, Pharmacy Professor Jaime Ross' study finds 'widespread' infiltration, potential for serious health consequences, including Alzheimer's

To understand the physiological systems that may be contributing to these changes in behavior, Ross' team investigated how widespread the microplastic exposure was in the body, dissecting several major tissues including the brain, liver, kidney, gastrointestinal tract, heart, spleen and lungs. The researchers found that the particles had begun to bioaccumulate in every organ, including the brain, as well as in bodily waste.

"Given that in this study the microplastics were delivered orally via drinking water, detection in tissues such as the gastrointestinal tract, which is a major part of the digestive system, or in the liver and kidneys was always probable," Ross said. "The detection of microplastics in tissues such as the heart and lungs, however, suggests that the microplastics are going beyond the digestive system and likely undergoing systemic circulation. The brain blood barrier is supposed to be very difficult to permeate. It is a protective mechanism against viruses and bacteria, yet these particles were able to get in there. It was actually deep in the brain tissue."

That brain infiltration also may cause a decrease in glial fibrillary acidic protein (called "GFAP"), a protein that supports many cell processes in the brain, results have shown. "A decrease in GFAP has been associated with early stages of some neurodegenerative diseases, including mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, as well as depression," Ross said. "We were very surprised to see that the microplastics could induce altered GFAP signaling."

She intends to investigate this finding further in future work. "We want to understand how plastics may change the ability for the brain to maintain its homeostasis or how exposure may lead to neurological disorders and diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease," she said.

The study was published in the International Journal of Molecular Science. It was supported by the Rhode Island Medical Research Foundation, Roddy Foundation, Plastics Initiative, URI College of Pharmacy, George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, and the Rhode Island Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.


Source:

https://www.uri.edu/news/2023/08/microplastics-infiltrate-all-systems-of-body-cause-behavioral-changes/

Aug 14, 2023

Air pollution linked to rise in antibiotic resistance that imperils human health

(The Guardian) Air pollution is helping to drive a rise in antibiotic resistance that poses a significant threat to human health worldwide, a global study suggests.

The analysis, using data from more than 100 countries spanning nearly two decades, indicates that increased air pollution is linked with rising antibiotic resistance across every country and continent.

It also suggests the link between the two has strengthened over time, with increases in air pollution levels coinciding with larger rises in antibiotic resistance.

"Our analysis presents strong evidence that increasing levels of air pollution are associated with increased risk of antibiotic resistance," researchers from China and the UK wrote. "This analysis is the first to show how air pollution affects antibiotic resistance globally." Their findings are published in the Lancet Planetary Health journal.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the fastest-growing threats to global health. It can affect people of any age in any country and is already killing 1.3 million people a year, according to estimates.

The main drivers are still the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, which are used to treat infections. But the study suggests the problem is being worsened by rising levels of air pollution.

The study did not look at the science of why the two might be linked. Evidence suggests that particulate matter PM2.5 can contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria and resistance genes, which may be transferred between environments and inhaled directly by humans, the authors said.

Air pollution is already the single largest environmental risk to public health. Long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with chronic conditions such as heart disease, asthma and lung cancer, reducing life expectancy.

Short-term exposure to high pollution levels can cause coughing, wheezing and asthma attacks, and is leading to increased hospital and GP attendances worldwide.

Curbing air pollution could help reduce antibiotic resistance, according to the study, the first in-depth global analysis of possible links between the two. It also said that controlling air pollution could greatly reduce deaths and economic costs stemming from antibiotic-resistant infections.

Please read full at:

Jul 31, 2023

​EPA Awards $1.3M in Research Funding to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to Develop Nanosensors to Detect Pesticides and Mitigate Their Harmful Impacts

WASHINGTON (July 31, 2023) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced over $1.3 million in funding to a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in Madison, Wisconsin, to develop nanosensor technology that can detect, monitor, and degrade commonly used pesticides found in water that can harm human health.

"Nanotechnology advances are creating a new future for environmental monitoring," said Chris Frey, Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Research and Development. "The cutting-edge nanosensor technology that is being developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will help detect pesticides in water at extremely low levels and mitigate the harmful impacts of these pesticides."

Environmental pollutants such as pesticides can adversely affect human health. Simple and reliable sensors to detect pesticides in water sources can help reduce human exposure. The unique properties of nanomaterials have enabled advances in sensor design, such as portability and rapid signal response times, and provided more cost-effective, efficient, and selective detection and monitoring methods.

Using funding from this grant, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison will develop an integrated, portable, sensor-controlled water treatment technology that itself generates the chemicals needed for treatment. The researchers will distribute and deploy the treatment technology across rural communities in Alabama that rely on private and/or community wells for drinking water that have been impacted by neonicotinoids, a commonly used type of pesticide.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison's Integrated Portable Raman and Electrochemical NanoSystem, or I-PRENS, will be used for rapid onsite detection and degradation of neonicotinoid pesticides in drinking water supplies. The team will develop a small-scale I-PRENS prototype for deployment in Alabama's Black Belt region for long-term monitoring and remediation of neonicotinoid-impacted drinking water supplies. The Black Belt of Central Alabama, known for the region's rich, dark topsoil, faces many factors that make traditional wastewater treatment challenging, including its rural landscape and heavy clay soils. Results from the research are expected to help low income, underrepresented, rural communities in Alabama.

Jun 7, 2023

​Recycling study finds that one facility may emit 3 million pounds of microplastics a year.

(WIRED) The plastics industry has long hyped recycling, even though it is well aware that it's been a failure. Worldwide, only 9 percent of plastic waste actually gets recycled. In the United States, the rate is now 5 percent. Most used plastic is landfilled, incinerated, or winds up drifting around the environment.

Now, an alarming new study has found that even when plastic makes it to a recycling center, it can still end up splintering into smaller bits that contaminate the air and water. This pilot study focused on a single new facility where plastics are sorted, shredded, and melted down into pellets. Along the way, the plastic is washed several times, sloughing off microplastic particles—fragments smaller than 5 millimeters—into the plant's wastewater.

Because there were multiple washes, the researchers could sample the water at four separate points along the production line. (They are not disclosing the identity of the facility's operator, who cooperated with their project.) This plant was actually in the process of installing filters that could snag particles larger than 50 microns (a micron is a millionth of a meter), so the team was able to calculate the microplastic concentrations in raw versus filtered discharge water—basically a before-and-after snapshot of how effective filtration is.

Their microplastics tally was astronomical. Even with filtering, they calculate that the total discharge from the different washes could produce up to 75 billion particles per cubic meter of wastewater. Depending on the recycling facility, that liquid would ultimately get flushed into city water systems or the environment. In other words, recyclers trying to solve the plastics crisis may in fact be accidentally exacerbating the microplastics crisis, which is coating every corner of the environment with synthetic particles.

"It seems a bit backward, almost, that we do plastic recycling in order to protect the environment, and then end up increasing a different and potentially more harmful problem," says plastics scientist Erina Brown, who led the research while at the University of Strathclyde.

"It raises some very serious concerns," agrees Judith Enck, president of Beyond Plastics and a former US Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator, who wasn't involved in the paper. "And I also think this points to the fact that plastics are fundamentally not sustainable."

Please read more from WIRED
https://www.wired.com/story/yet-another-problem-with-recycling-it-spews-microplastics/

Jun 5, 2023

US Department of Labor announces more than $12M in grant funding available for worker safety, health training grants

OSHA.GOV – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of more than $12.7 million in funding to make more good jobs available to the U.S. workforce by supporting training initiatives designed to promote safe and healthy in the nation's workplaces.

Administered by the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program includes funding opportunities for Targeted Topic Training, Training and Educational Materials Development, and new Capacity Building training grants for nonprofit organizations. Grants will support recipients' efforts to provide instructor-led remote and in-person hands-on training for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates; and vulnerable workers, who are underserved, have limited English proficiency, or are temporary workers.

Specifically, the Harwood grants will fund training and education on how to recognize, avoid and control hazards, and inform workers of their rights and employers of their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Funding will be available in the following categories:

  • Targeted Topic Training: Supporting educational programs that identify and prevent workplace hazards. Applicants must conduct training on OSHA-designated workplace safety and health hazards.
  • Training and Educational Materials Development: Supporting the development of quality classroom-ready training and educational materials that identify and prevent workplace hazards.
  • Capacity Building: Supporting organizations in developing new training programs to assess needs and plan for full-scale safety and health education programs, expanding their capacity to provide workplace safety and health training, education and related assistance to workers and employers.

Applicants must register with grants.gov and SAM.gov to apply for a grant opportunity. Submit applications at www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. EDT on July 7, 2023.

OSHA will host a webinar, "How to Prepare a Competitive Susan Harwood Training Grant Application," to assist organizations in preparing grant applications on May 25, 2023, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT. Register for the webinar.

OSHA awards grants to nonprofit organizations, including community, faith-based, grassroot organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, Indian tribes, and public/state colleges and universities to provide free workplace safety and health training.

Jun 3, 2023

Benzene Found in 80% of Sunscreens tested

Benzene, which has been linked to blood cancers, was reported in 2021 in a large number of sunscreens and after-sun products that were independently tested. The products included sprays, gels, lotions, and creams. Benzene was found in 43 out of 224 sunscreens and in 8 of 48 after-sun products. The highest average concentrations of benzene (2 ppm to 6 ppm) were found in four sprays. The next highest average concentrations of benzene (0.1 to 1 ppm) were in twelve products that were primarily sprays but included four lotions. After-sun products with the highest concentrations of benzene consisted of four gels and one spray.

In the months after benzene was reported in sunscreens, recalls were undertaken by Coppertone and by Johnson & Johnson (of certain Neutrogena sunscreens and one Aveeno sunscreen). In January 2023, Banana Boat also expanded its recall of products found to contain benzene.

In addition, tests published in 2023 of 50 sunscreen products (purchased in 2021) found that 80% contained benzene, with three containing relatively higher amounts.

FDA guidance suggests that no level of benzene is safe, and it is not permitted in these or other products. A study by Health Canada's Bureau of Chemical Hazards has shown that the application of sunscreen specifically increases the absorption rate of benzene through the skin. Benzene is known to cause cancer in humans according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization, and other regulatory agencies. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines benzene as a carcinogen and lists "inhalation, skin absorption, ingestion, skin and/or eye contact" as exposure routes.


Please read full at: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/cancer-causing-compounds-benzene-benzophenone-in-sunscreen/carcinogens-sunscreen/

May 30, 2023

Every raindrop has PFAS in it, and ALL The Stuff in Your Home That Contain PFAS 'Forever Chemicals'

TIME: According to tests commissioned by the consumer watchdog site Mamavation and the green group Environmental Health News, a random sampling of 18 popular brands of soft lenses sent to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-certified lab all tested positive for PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Also known as "forever chemicals"—because that's pretty much how long they linger in the environment—these persistent manufacturing chemicals exist in more than 12,000 forms, and have been linked by the EPA to a long list of health effects, including decreased fertility, high blood pressure in pregnant people, increased risk of certain cancers, developmental delays and low birthweight in children, hormonal disruption, high cholesterol, reduced effectiveness of the immune system, and more.

Not any level of PFAS exposure will lead to these health consequences, of course. And even heavy exposure does not necessarily mean that you're going to get sick; putting in your contact lenses every morning is not a sure road to cancer or high cholesterol. But enough of these ills have turned up in enough people exposed to PFAS that the EPA and the larger community of scientists are justifiably worried about them—especially because of their persistence in the environment.

"This entire class of chemicals is probably the most persistent class of manmade chemicals that have ever been made," says Scott Belcher, an associate professor of biological sciences at North Carolina State University, who was a scientific advisor for the contact lens study. "Once they're there, they're not going away."

PFAS are included in uncounted products from clothing to furniture to pizza boxes to food wrappers to cooking utensils to electronics to fire-fighting foam to shoes and much, much more. The chemicals are used to make pots and pans non-stick; textiles more durable and stain resistant; food packaging resistant to grease; shoes and clothing water-resistant; and paper and cardboard stronger, among multiple other uses. So widespread is the planet's PFAS load that, according to one 2022 study in Environmental Science and Technology, the chemicals actually fall from the sky in rain, with the clouds having picked up PFAS in water evaporating from contaminated oceans.

"Every raindrop has PFAS in it," says Belcher. "It is really earth-shaking for me and eye-opening for folks."

For most people, however, everyday life inside their homes is where they're most likely to encounter PFAS on a regular basis. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some personal possessions and parts of your household that are exposing you to forever chemicals:

Body care products including shampoo, dental floss, toilet paper, tampons, and pads

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists many brands in these product categories as harboring PFAS, which are added to the products because the chemicals make them more durable, water resistant, or smoother spreading. But those qualities come at a price: some of the products, like dental floss and shampoo, are used in the mouth or near the eyes—mucus membranes that readily absorb contaminants. Multiple brands of both floss and shampoo now advertise themselves as PFAS-free, and the number of such products is growing.

In February, Mamavation and Environmental Health News conducted a study of PFAS in menstrual care products, including tampons, pads, sanitary napkins and period underwear, and found most of them contaminated to one degree or another with the forever chemicals. (Mamavation is not a scientific organization but a self-established wellness site, and Leah Segedie, its founder and editor, is not a scientist, but an author and consumer activist. Still, she conducts her PFAS studies only in conjunction with certified labs.)

In March, a study published in Environmental Science and Technology Letters found PFAS in most brands of toilet paper sold around the world, a huge problem in the U.S. where over 19 billion lbs. of wastepaper are flushed away annually, posing a massive disposal and wastewater contamination problem. (A bidet eliminates the problem of toilet paper almost entirely, though most U.S. households are not equipped with them.)

Read full at time:

May 23, 2023

EU restricts PFAS in consumer products

Several regulatory actions are being taken to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in consumer products in the EU. These toxic substances are also known as "forever chemicals" due to their high persistence. Without the ability to degrade, their concentration in the environment will continue to increase. Exposure to these substances can have negative effects on both humans and the environment.

PFASs are a group of about 10,000 mainly man-made substances used in numerous applications in the EU. These applications include textiles, food packaging, lubricants, refrigerants, electronics, construction and many more.

In the EU, some PFAS are already regulated under REACH and POP legislation (see Table 1) and the SVHC list, while other groups are being proposed for restrictions (see Table 2).

he current larger proposals for restriction (see Table 3) will cover a greater number of substances with specific exemptions and different dates of entry into force for specific uses.

PFAS are defined as any substance that contains at least one fully fluorinated methyl (CF3-) or methylene (-CF2-) carbon atom without any H/Cl/Br/I attached to it.

A substance that only contains the following structural elements is excluded from the scope of the proposed restriction: -CF3-X or X-CF2-X', where X = -OR or -NRR' and X' = methyl (-CH3), methylene (-CH2-), an aromatic group, a carbonyl group (-C(O)-), -OR'', -SR'' or –NR''R''', and where R/R'/R''/R''' is a hydrogen (-H), methyl (-CH3), methylene (-CH2-), an aromatic group or a carbonyl group (-C(O)-).



Please read full by Roberta Canciello, senior technical specialist, Retail Consumer Products team, UL Solutions

https://www.ul.com/news/eu-sets-pfas-restrictions-consumer-products



References

Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on persistent organic pollutants (recast) (Text with EEA relevance)Text with EEA relevance

COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2021/1297 of 4 August 2021 amending Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards perfluorocarboxylic acids containing 9 to 14 carbon atoms in the chain (C9-C14 PFCAs), their salts and C9-C14 PFCA-related substances

Persistent organic pollutants – perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS)

Registry of restriction intentions until outcome

Fatal fall rate more than doubled in about two decades

Based on death certificate data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the research found that fatal falls in this age group had increased from 10,097 in 1999, and at a rate that more than doubled in about two decades — from 29 deaths per 100,000 people to 69 deaths per 100,000 people, according to research published in the journal JAMA.

The research notes that falls have become the leading cause of injury for the age group. More than 1 in 4 people 65 or older fall each year, according to the CDC (although the agency says less than half tell their doctor). About 1 in 5 falls results in a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury, and 3 million older adults are treated in emergency rooms each year because of falls.

May 17, 2023

U.S. States Regulate PFAS in Consumer Products

UL - In the United States, due to the lack of federal regulations banning the use of PFAS in consumer products, many state legislatures are acting to mitigate the use of these chemicals in various consumer products. Several states have already adopted policies that prohibit the intentional addition of PFAS in various consumer products, including but not limited to cosmetics, juvenile products, food packaging, cookware, rugs and carpets, fabric treatments, indoor and outdoor upholstered furniture, apparel, textiles and more. The state of Maine Chapter 477 Public Law will prohibit the use of intentionally added PFAS in any product be sold, offered for sale, or distributed for sale in the state effective Jan. 1, 2030.

Product manufacturers are responsible for ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. But as the focus on PFAS in the U.S. intensifies, and states adopt policies that may not be consistent with one another, manufacturers may find it challenging to determine compliance. Therefore, relevant enterprises should understand these requirements as early as possible and investigate the presence of PFAS in their products. Manufacturers must know what chemicals are being added to their products.


Please read full from UL

https://www.ul.com/news/us-states-regulate-pfas-consumer-products

May 15, 2023

U.S. EPA Proposes Greenhouse Gas Emissions Limitations for New and Existing Electric Generating Units

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") yesterday announced a proposed rule to limit greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions from electric generating units ("EGUs"). The proposal seeks to drastically reduce emissions of GHG and conventional emissions while promoting the use of carbon capture and sequestration ("CCS") and hydrogen co-firing technologies. This proposed rule is part of the Biden Administration's larger regulatory effort to transition the American economy toward "low carbon" technology.

The proposed rule treats new EGUs differently based on level of output and targets certain existing fossil-fuel-fired combustion turbines (both simple cycle and combined cycle).

The proposed rule contains three primary parts: (1) strengthening CO2 standards for new gas-fired combustion turbines, based on three new categories; (2) providing emissions guidelines for existing gas plants that have a capacity of 300 MW and operate at a more than 50 percent capacity factor; and (3) covering existing steam generation units—mostly coal—by requiring those EGUs to choose between new control technologies or retirement.

Consistent with Clean Air Act Section 111, the proposed New Source Performance Standards and emissions guidelines "reflect the application of the best system of emissions reduction [("BSER")] that, taking into account costs, energy requirements, and other statutory factors, is adequately demonstrated." To this end, the EPA's newly proposed rule also seeks to repeal the Affordable Clean Energy ("ACE") Rule, stating, among other rationales, that the BSER therein are no longer appropriate for existing coal-fired EGUs.

The proposed rule would create different standards based on three categories of new gas EGUs and enhance standards for certain existing gas EGUs.

New and Reconstructed Fossil-Fuel-Fired Stationary Combustion Turbines:  EPA proposes three subcategories for new gas plants, based on how heavily a plant is used. For new low-load "peaker" units—defined as operating at below 20 percent capacity factor—EPA proposes as BSER the use of a "lower-emitting fuel," such as natural gas or distillate oil.

For new intermediate load units—defined as operating at between a 20 and 50 percent capacity factor—EPA proposes a phased standard. The first phase establishes as BSER the performance of a highly efficient combustion turbine. The second phase establishes BSER as co-firing 30 percent (by volume) of "low-GHG" hydrogen by 2032 and 90 percent by 2035. The second phase requires continued use of highly efficient generation. The EPA is soliciting comments as to whether intermediate-load units should be subject to a more stringent third phase that would require higher levels of hydrogen co-firing by 2038.

For new baseload combustion turbines—defined as operating at above a 50 percent capacity factor—EPA proposes as BSER one of two pathways, either co-firing with "low-GHG" hydrogen starting at 30 percent in 2032 and ramping up to 96 percent by 2038, or by achieving a 90 percent CCS rate by 2035.

Existing Fossil-Fuel-Fired Stationary Combustion Turbines:  EPA's proposed standards for existing gas plants would only apply to existing EGUs with a 300 MW capacity and at least a 50 percent capacity factor. BSER for these units is based on either the use of CCS by 2035 or co-firing 30 percent (by volume) low-GHG hydrogen by 2032 and co-firing 96 percent low-GHG hydrogen by 2038. The proposed rule does not purport to set new standards for smaller or less frequently used existing gas plants.

The proposed rule requires existing coal-fired EGUs to choose between new control technology or retirement.

EPA relies heavily on CCS and the co-firing of "lower-emitting" fuels to address existing coal-fired generation. The proposed rule would allow operators of existing coal-fired EGUs to forego installation of CCS or certain other emissions control technologies if they commit to near-term retirement of their facilities. The proposed rule would not require any reductions for coal plants closing before 2032, or for plants that commit to retire before 2035 and have a less than 20 percent capacity factor. Existing coal plants that remain online longer than the applicable 2032 or 2035 deadline, but still intend to retire before 2040, may co-fire with natural gas to avoid CCS or other control equipment requirements. Those coal plants intending to remain online through 2040 and beyond must be modified to curb their emissions by 88.4 percent, a level based on achieving 90 percent carbon capture and storage by 2030. This regulatory scheme reflects EPA's view that it is most efficient to deploy CCS technology with EGUs that will operate over a longer period.

Please read full at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP:

https://www.michaelbest.com/Newsroom/313703/US-EPA-Proposes-Greenhouse-Gas-Emissions-Limitations-for-New-and-Existing-Electric-Generating-Units

May 7, 2023

High Levels Of Toxic Metals Found In Widely Consumed Drinks: Study

A new study has found that some commonly consumed beverages such as fruit juice and artificial soda contain levels of toxic metals including arsenic, cadmium, and lead that exceed federal drinking water standards.

Researchers from Tulane University, Louisiana, measured 25 different toxic metals and trace elements in 60 soft beverages, including single fruit juice, mixed fruit juice, plant-based milk, artificial soda, and tea.

The drinks were purchased in New Orleans and are commercially available in supermarkets across the United States.

Researchers found that five of the 60 beverages tested contained levels of a toxic metal above federal drinking water standards.

Two mixed juices had levels of arsenic above the 10 microgram/liter standard. Meanwhile, a cranberry juice, a mixed carrot and fruit juice, and an oat milk each had levels of cadmium exceeding the three parts per billion standard.


Fruit Juices, Plant-Based Milks Contain Higher Levels

In total, 7 of the 25 elements measured by researchers in their study exceeded drinking water standards in some of the drinks, including nickel, manganese, boron, cadmium, strontium, arsenic, and selenium, while lead was detected in more than 93 percent of the 60 samples, although the majority contained levels below one part per billion.

The highest level (6.3 micrograms/kg) was found in a lime sports drink, though that is still below standards for drinking water set by the EPA and the World Health Organization.

Overall, mixed fruit juices and plant-based milks, including oat and almond milk, contained higher levels of toxic metals than other drinks analyzed in the study, researchers said.

Researchers did not identify the specific brands they studied but noted that they can be purchased at local supermarkets and retail stores.

The findings of the study, titled, "Toxic metals and essential elements contents in commercially available fruit juices and other non-alcoholic beverages from the United States," were published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis.

Read more here...

May 5, 2023

New PFAS Fish Consumption Advisory For Green Bay And Associated Tributaries

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) today announced a new PFAS-based consumption advisory for the Bay of Green Bay and its tributaries.

Elevated levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a type of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), were detected in rainbow smelt sampled from Green Bay. As a result, the DNR and DHS recommend consuming only one meal per week of rainbow smelt from the Bay of Green Bay and its associated tributaries up to the first dam, including portions of the Peshtigo, Oconto and Menominee rivers.

"Eating locally caught fish is a cost-effective way to feed your family a lean, healthy protein. This advisory, like our long-standing mercury and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) advisories, is another way to ensure our anglers who eat their catch are provided with the right information to consume fish safely," said Lori Tate, Fisheries Management Section Supervisor.

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals that have been used for decades in various products, such as non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting foams that have made their way into the environment.

Health risks may increase when fish with high levels of PFAS are consumed more frequently than recommended. These can include increased cholesterol levels, decreased immune response, decreased fertility in women, and cancers, among other health effects. More information is available on the DHS website.

Following fish consumption advisories will help protect you from consuming excess PFOS, PCBs and mercury. A complete list of up-to-date consumption advisories can be found in the DNR's Choose Wisely booklet.

Additional fish consumption advice and information on the effects of PFAS can be found on the DNR's website.

Apr 22, 2023

Google is actively deleting science

I have noticed I can not find articles I and other scientists have published. Now I am getting notices from Google that published, pier reviewed articles now "go against community guidelines".

These three articles I posted were in 100's if not 1000's of websites, journals or other publications.

There were all 100% accurate and just facts.

How many of you are also seeing science deleted.

What effect will this have on education and our future?

Apr 6, 2023

The AASTM ASTM 1527-21 for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments is evaluated every 8 years.

ASTM 1527-21 is now in effect.  The ASTM Standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments is evaluated every eight years.  The most recent update, ASTM E1527 – 21, approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on December 15, 2022, is now in effect.

On December 15, 2022, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its final rule, 87 Fed. Reg. 76578, which formally updates the standard to satisfy "all appropriate inquiries" under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  The result is the effective adoption of ASTM E1527-21 as the new Phase I Environmental Site Assessment standard.  ASTM E1527-21, went into effect on February 13, 2023, and significantly revises a number of the prior provisions under ASTM E1527-13, and also clarifies a number of key terms and requirements.

Significant changes include:

  • A requirement for enhanced research into the history of the subject property and adjoining properties, as well as enhanced site reconnaissance requirements;
  • Clarification as to the meaning of the terms "Property Use Limitation" and "Significant Data Gap"; and
  • Clarification that the 180-day shelf life of the Phase I does not commence as of the date of the report, but rather when the various components of the Phase I report are completed, including (i) interviews with owners, operators and occupants, (ii) searches for lines, (iii) searches for government records, (iv) visual inspections by the consultant, and (v) consultant's certifications; and
  • Guidance regarding how to address emerging contaminants, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), as a non-scope consideration.  This addition may ultimately provide an important driver for parties seeking to determine whether to evaluate PFAS.
Read full at:

Mar 27, 2023

EPA Proposes First National PFAS Drinking Water Standards

On March 14, 2023, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR), which would establish legally enforceable levels, called Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), for six PFAS in drinking water.  These PFAS chemicals are:

EPA described the proposed MCL of 4 ppt for PFOA and PFOS to be the "lowest feasible level" for which PFOA and PFOS can reliability be measured and removed from drinking water. EPA has also proposed using a "Hazard Index" score as an MCL for a combination of four PFAS compounds - PFHxS, GenX chemicals, PFNA and PFBS. This is the first time that a hazard index approach is being proposed as a federal drinking water MCL standard. In short, a Hazard Index considers how toxic each of the four PFAS are and then uses a site-specific determination based on the specific drinking water concentrations (i.e., the calculation gets complicated).

Please continue reading at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP:

https://www.michaelbest.com/Newsroom/310007/EPA-Proposes-First-National-PFAS-Drinking-Water-Standards


Lack of Safe Drinking Water for City Dwellers to Double by 2050: UN Report

At the start of the first UN Water Conference since 1977, a global water crisis is imminent, according to a new UN report.

New research has found that the number of people living in cities without access to safe drinking water worldwide will double by 2050, with an 80 percent increase in demand for water predicted for urban areas by that time, The Guardian reported.

"Water is our common future and we need to act together to share it equitably and manage it sustainably. As the world convenes for the first major United Nations conference on water in the last half century, we have a responsibility to plot a collective course ensuring water and sanitation for all," said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay on the UN World Water Development Report website.

Mar 22, 2023

In Support of World Water Day, the Department of Energy Announces Water-Related Selections, Resources, Partnership, and Competition Development

DOE - Today, we celebrate World Water Day 2021 , where nations across the globe are joining in conversations about the value of water. At the Department of Energy (DOE), we are discovering the endless possibilities water possesses. Water provides immense value to livelihoods, cultures, and economies across the globe. It is critical to human health and the health of our natural environment, and it is critical to energy. Energy and water systems are interdependent. Energy is required to extract, treat, and deliver water, and water is used in multiple phases of energy production and electricity generation.

"Water is a fundamental building block of our world and while it presents vast opportunities for economic growth, it is our responsibility to protect it," said Kelly Speakes-Backman, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "We must understand the environmental and social impacts as well as benefits of water power technologies—such as hydropower or systems that convert the natural energy from waves, tides, or currents—and we must invest in the infrastructure and humans who will continue to drive technological progress at the nexus of energy and water."

On this day, DOE is proud to announce several ways we are supporting the continued sustainable use of our water-energy resources while identifying new ways to benefit of Americans.

, WPTO offered opportunities to four graduate students to conduct marine energy research outside of the classroom. The selected fellows
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced it will begin accepting applications for the 2022 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition
  • (MECC) competition on April 5. Managed by NREL on behalf of WPTO, the competition encourages undergraduate and graduate students to unlock the power of the ocean, rivers, and tides to develop, design, and test the technologies that build resilient coastal communities and provide power at sea.

WPTO enables research, development, and testing of emerging technologies to advance marine energy as well as next generation hydropower and pumped storage systems for a flexible, reliable grid. Learn more about WPTO successes by reading the office's 2019–2020 Accomplishments Report.

  • for the program's 2021 cycle will work with DOE national labs, wave energy developer CalWave, and the Makah Indian Tribe.
     
  • NREL Announces the Application Opening for the 2022 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition
  • Free Machine Guarding Courses via National Safety Education Center

    Training for High-Hazard Industry Workers and Employers

    Susan Harwood Training Grant Program

    This training is brought to you through the Susan Harwood Training Grant, which provides under-served, low-literacy, high-hazard workers and employers with free training on workplace safety and health hazards, responsibilities, and rights. NIU is proud to receive this grant and provide you with these classes.

    As part of the grant program, NIU offers two or four hours of machinery and machine guarding training for free.

    The online courses are fully interactive and the use of a device with internet access, webcam and audio is required.

    All courses will cover the same material focusing on lockout/tagout and guarding machines to prevent amputations and fatalities. The length of the class represents the depth of material it will cover, however topics are the same for 2-hour and 4-hour classes.

    Training topics include the following:

    • Operating stationary equipment
    • Guarding point of operation
    • Amputation prevention
    • Control circuit systems
    • Other general industry machine hazards