Feb 25, 2021

Dynamics of radiocesium in forests after the Fukushima disaster: Concerns and some hope

(PHY.ORG)
....Considering the massive threat posed by 137Cs to the health of both humans and ecosystems, it is essential to understand how it has distributed and how much of it still lingers. This is why the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recently published a technical document on this specific issue. The fifth chapter of this "Technical Document (TECDOC)," titled "Forest ecosystems," contains an extensive review and analysis of existing data on 137Cs levels in Fukushima prefecture's forests following the FDNPP disaster.

The chapter is based on an led by Assoc. Prof. Shoji Hashimoto from the Forestry and Forestry Products Research Institute, Japan, alongside Dr. Hiroaki Kato from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, Kazuya Nishina from the National Institute of Environmental Studies, Japan, Keiko Tagami from the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology, Japan, George Shaw from the University of Nottingham, UK, and Yves Thiry from the National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (ANDRA), France, and several other experts in Japan and Europe.

The main objective of the researchers was to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of 137Cs flow in forests. The process is far from straightforward, as there are multiple elements and variables to consider. First, a portion of 137Cs-containing rainfall is intercepted by trees, some of which is absorbed, and the rest eventually washes down onto the forest floor. There, a fraction of the radiocesium absorbs into forest litter and the remainder flows into the various soil and mineral layers below. Finally, trees, other plants, and mushrooms incorporate 137Cs through their roots and mycelia, respectively, ultimately making it both into edible products harvested from Fukushima and wild animals.

Considering the complexity of 137Cs flux dynamics, a huge number of field surveys and gatherings of varied data had to be conducted, as well as subsequent theoretical and statistical analyses. Fortunately, the response from the government and academia was considerably faster and more thorough after the FDNPP disaster than in the Chernobyl disaster, as Hashimoto explains: "After the Chernobyl accidents, studies were very limited due to the scarce information provided by the Soviet Union. In contrast, the timely studies in Fukushima have allowed us to capture the early phases of 137Cs flow dynamics; this allowed us to provide the first wholistic understanding of this process in forests in Fukushima."

Read on from source:

Feb 10, 2021

New TSCA Restrictions for 5 PBT Chemicals

LION - TSCA, as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA), requires EPA to evaluate the risks of chemicals on the TSCA inventory.

The law also directs EPA to take expedited action to address the risks of some specific substances that had been identified in a previous TSCA Work Plan. These include persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals that EPA believes pose a high or moderate risk to human health of the environment.

EPA recently completed risk evaluations and established new regulatory management programs for five PBT chemical substances. For many of these chemicals, EPA will prohibit all manufacture, import, processing, and distribution in commerce.

All five Final Rules take effect on February 5, 2021.

The five PBT chemicals for which EPA issued new rules are:
  • Pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP)
  • Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD)
  • Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE)
  • Phenol, Isopropylated Phosphate 3:1 (PIP 3:1)
  • 2, 4, 6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2, 4, 6-TTBP)
The five new rulemakings illustrate EPA's broad authority under TSCA to restrict how chemicals are made and used in order to protect human health and the environment. Read on for details about new restrictions EPA has put in place for these chemicals.

Please read on at:

EPA Clarifies New PFAS Restrictions

LION - To inform businesses using materials containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), EPA released the Final Guidance document, clarifying the application of its July 2020 PFAS rule.

The new guide, Compliance Guide for Imported Articles Containing Surface Coatings Subject to the Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate Chemical Substances Significant New Use Rule, was published on January 19, 2021 to address compliance issues that may arise among US businesses.

Specifically, the guide defines "surface coating," identifies which articles and businesses are subject to the regulation, describes the actions that are required and those that are prohibited, and summarizes the notification requirements of the Significant New Use Rule.

Read the complete PFAS guide now.

By publishing the guide, EPA seeks full compliance with the Significant New Use Rule among chemical and electronics manufacturers, carpet and rug mills, home furnishing wholesalers, and other retailers that may be affected.

Please read full at:

Firefighters Battle an Unseen Hazard: Their Gear Could Be Toxic

NY Times - Every day at work for 15 years, Sean Mitchell, a captain in the Nantucket Fire Department, has put on the bulky suit that protects him from the heat and flames he faces on the job. But last year, he and his team came across unsettling research: Toxic chemicals on the very equipment meant to protect their lives could instead be making them gravely ill.

This week, Captain Mitchell and other members of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the nation's largest firefighters' union, are demanding that union officials take action. They want independent tests of PFAS, the chemicals in their gear, and for the union to rid itself of sponsorships from equipment makers and the chemical industry. In the next few days, delegates representing the union's more than 300,000 members are expected to vote on the measure — a first.

"We're exposed to these chemicals every day," Captain Mitchell said. "And the more I looked into it, the more it felt like the only people who were saying these chemicals were safe were the people who make it."

The demands come as the safety of firefighters has become an urgent concern amid the worsening effects of climate change, which bring rising temperatures that prime the nation for increasingly devastating fires. In October, two dozen firefighters in California — where a record 4.2 million acres burned across the state last year — filed suit against 3M, Chemours, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and other manufacturers, claiming that the companies for decades knowingly made and sold firefighting equipment loaded with toxic chemicals without warning of the chemicals' risks.

"Firefighting is a dangerous occupation, and we don't want our firefighters to burn up. They need that protection," said Linda Birnbaum, the former director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. "But we now know that PFAS is in their gear, and it doesn't stay in their gear."


Please read full at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/26/climate/pfas-firefighter-safety.html

Feb 1, 2021

Job opening Safety Specialist (Milwaukee, WI)

Job Summary:
Responsible for designing policies and procedures that help prevent harm to workers and property. Inspects machines and air quality, designs safe work spaces, and creates policies for workers to follow that minimize job-related hazards. Must have union experience in a manufacturing setting.

Primary Responsibilities:
- Create ways to keep workers and the general public safe from harm.
- Design safe workspaces.
- Inspect machines and test for faults.
- Remove defective equipment.
- Test air quality.
- Investigate complaints.
- Reduce absenteeism and equipment downtime.
- Lower insurance premiums and workers' compensation payments.
- Prevent government fines.
- Conduct safety inspections.
- Impose fines.
- Design programs to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury.
- Search for and identify biological, chemical, and radiological hazards.
- Advise workers on proper lifting techniques.
- Inform an organization's management of areas not in compliance with State and Federal laws or employer policies.
- Advise management on the cost and effectiveness of safety and health programs.
- Devise and implement health programs.
- Provide training on new regulations.
- Demonstrate how to recognize hazards.
- Develop methods to predict hazards.
- Evaluate current equipment, products, facilities, or processes and those planned for future use.
- Uncover patterns in injury data.
- Evaluate the probability and severity of accidents.
- Write accident reports.
 
To apply or inquire about job please contact
Donovan Harris
donharris(at)aerotek.com
414-214-6036 Phone 

US Department of Labor issues stronger workplace guidance on coronavirus

OSHA – The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers implement a coronavirus prevention program and better identify risks which could lead to exposure and contraction. Last week, President Biden directed OSHA to release clear guidance for employers to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure.

"Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace" provides updated guidance and recommendations, and outlines existing safety and health standards. OSHA is providing the recommendations to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

"More than 400,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions of people are out of work as a result of this crisis. Employers and workers can help our nation fight and overcome this deadly pandemic by committing themselves to making their workplaces as safe as possible," said Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor M. Patricia Smith. "The recommendations in OSHA's updated guidance will help us defeat the virus, strengthen our economy and bring an end to the staggering human and economic toll that the coronavirus has taken on our nation."

Implementing a coronavirus prevention program is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the virus. The guidance announced today recommends several essential elements in a prevention program:

  • Conduct a hazard assessment.
  • Identify control measures to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Adopt policies for employee absences that don't punish workers as a way to encourage potentially infected workers to remain home.
  • Ensure that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English and non-English speaking workers.
  • Implement protections from retaliation for workers who raise coronavirus-related concerns.

"OSHA is updating its guidance to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus and improve worker protections so businesses can operate safely and employees can stay safe and working," said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick.

Jan 21, 2021

DNR Releases Latest Sampling Results Revealing Broader PFAS Presence In Madison Area Lakes And Yahara River Chain

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the presence of elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in surface water samples taken from Madison-area lakes and along the Yahara River.

The DNR found elevated levels of PFAS in Lake Monona and Starkweather Creek in 2019, which resulted in a new PFAS fish consumption advisory for those two water bodies. The DNR collected surface water and fish samples in 2019 due to PFAS-containing stormwater leaving the Dane County airport into Starkweather Creek and Lake Monona.

Due to public safety concerns, the DNR collected additional surface water samples in 2020 on lakes Mendota, Monona, Upper Mud, Waubesa and Kegonsa, as well as along sections of the Yahara River between the lakes.

The DNR also collected samples from Lake Wingra and Nine Springs Creek. PFAS compounds were discovered throughout the areas sampled, many of those samples were at levels above what the DNR may consider acceptable.

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products, including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers and stain-resistant sprays. These legacy contaminants have made their way into the environment in a variety of ways, including spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.

PFAS do not break down in the environment and have been discovered at concentrations of concern in groundwater, surface water and drinking water. PFAS are known to bioaccumulate in the tissues of fish and wildlife. They also accumulate in the human body and pose several risks to human health.

Surface Water Sampling
More information on how the DNR is addressing PFAS contamination in Wisconsin is available here.

Jan 20, 2021

Amazon Bans Toxic Chemicals From Its Food Packaging

Lana Bandoim (Forbes) - Amazon has banned the use of certain chemicals in its Amazon Kitchen brand products and food packaging. The company's decision to exclude chemicals of concern only affects its private brands for now. The chemicals have been linked to various health problems and other effects, such as environmental issues.


What Are the Chemicals of Concern?

Amazon's definition of chemicals of concern includes substances that are a "carcinogen, mutagen, reproductive or other systemic toxicant," and products that are "persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic." Although Amazon has mentioned it is encouraging manufacturers to avoid these potentially toxic chemicals, the company is focusing on its own private brands because it has complete control over them.

The restricted substances on Amazon's list include antiseptics (antimicrobial substances), nonylphenols and nonylphenol ethoxylates (detergent-like substances), formaldehyde donor preservatives (substances that slowly release formaldehyde over time), parabens (preservatives) and phthalates (chemicals to make plastics more flexible). The list has more than 50 items ranging from triclosan (antimicrobial chemical) to propylparaben (preservative).

Free WebCast on Respiratory Protection

Protection around workplace breathing hazards
This webcast is designed to familiarize you with respiratory hazards, including oxygen-deficient atmospheres. You'll learn how to protect yourself around workplace breathing hazards. After completing this webcast, you will be able to:
  • Identity workplace and engineering controls,
  • Define personal protective equipment (PPE),
  • Recognize respiratory safety hazards,
  • Explain why a medical evaluation is necessary,
  • Select appropriate PPE for respiratory protection,
  • Evaluate a respirator seal for fit, and
  • Follow proper maintenance procedures.
This session includes a live Q&A session with our experts.
FEATURED SPEAKERS
Ray Chishti
EHS Editor
J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

Mark Stromme
EHS Editor
J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

When?
Thursday, January 28th
1:00 PM Central Time
(2 ET, 12 MT, 11 PT)

Jan 8, 2021

EPA requests applications for $5 million in funding for Great Lakes trash-free water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is seeking a second round of applications under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant program focused on keeping trash out of the Great Lakes. Approximately $5 million is available through the Trash-Free Waters Great Lakes program to fund approximately 10 large-scale projects to remove trash from Great Lakes harbors, rivermouths, and waterfronts. The deadline for applications is March 5, 2021.

In October 2019, EPA Administrator Wheeler announced the GLRI Action Plan III, an aggressive plan to guide Great Lakes restoration and protection activities by EPA and its many partners over the next four years.  The trash-free water projects EPA selects will support the larger GLRI effort to restore and protect the Great Lakes.

"This grant program will continue to harness the power of collaboration and strong partnerships we've established to fuel progress and so many successes under the GLRI," said EPA Region 5 Administrator/Great Lakes National Program Manager Kurt Thiede. "This funding will help communities across the Great Lakes basin ensure that their harbors, rivermouths and waterfronts are trash-free— something Administrator Wheeler and this Administration has placed as a high priority for this agency."

Mismanaged or misplaced trash, including litter or garbage, can degrade aquatic habitats, threaten aquatic wildlife, and interfere with human uses of lake, coastal, and riparian environments. These grants will support large-scale projects that use mechanical devices, vessels and other technology to remove trash from Great Lakes harbors, rivermouths and waterfronts. With these grants, EPA intends to increase the number of Great Lakes communities with operational large-scale aquatic trash collection devices that will continue to be used after project funding has ended. The minimum award is $300,000 and the maximum award is $1,000,000.

State agencies, federally recognized tribes and tribal consortia, any agency or instrumentality of local governments, nonprofit organizations, interstate agencies, and colleges and universities are eligible to apply for the grants.

EPA will host a webinar on January 26, 2021, at 2 p.m. CST to provide additional information and answer questions. To register for the webinar or learn more about the request for applications, visit https://www.epa.gov/great-lakes-funding/glri-trash-free-waters-fy2021-request-applications-rfa

In July 2020, Administrator Wheeler announced seven Great Lakes Trash-Free Waters grants totaling approximately $2 million to support efforts to clean up beaches and water bodies.

Background:
The GLRI was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes. Federal agencies have funded more than 5,400 projects totaling over $2.7 billion to address the most important Great Lakes priorities such as addressing agricultural nutrients and stormwater runoff, cleaning up highly contaminated "Areas of Concern," combating invasive species and restoring habitat. Making GLRI funding available through a competitive application process is just one way that the GLRI achieves results.

For more information on the GLRI, visit https://www.glri.us/

Nov 19, 2020

Free Seminar - Introduction to Forensic Geology - Petrography

Forensic Geology/Petrography is not a new tool in the construction industry; however, it is generally not a well-known discipline. Observations detailed in this presentation are not typically covered during University geological studies. Most of these skills are learned on the job and do require a minimum of 5 years of experience directly under a Petrographer to earn a Petrographer title. This presentation will provide the standards followed, typical observations, and a few fun projects. Petrography has proven a beneficial tool in the assessment of concrete and construction stone to aide in engineering and construction applications.


About the instructor
Chris Braaten, PG, CPG, is a Senior Petrographer/Geologist at American Engineering Testing, Inc. He graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with degrees in Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies. He has spent 15 years with American Engineering, holding positions in the Construction Materials Department as a Field Technician, Bridge Inspector, and Aggregate Laboratory Coordinator. For the last 9 years he has held a Petrographer position in the Petrography/Chemistry Department. He has performed petrography on construction aggregate from 46 US States and 17 different

Attendees will receive CEUs at no cost
For more information, see the CEU Credits section below.

https://www.americangeosciences.org/webinars/introduction-forensic-geology-petrography

Nov 5, 2020

Recent list of OSHA Alerts for Covid

Recent list of OSHA Alerts on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning professionals can help employers optimize building ventilation to reduce the risk of workers being exposed to the coronavirus. 

Prevent Worker Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19): OSHA Alert here:


See OSHA's entire Alert  Coronavirus lists here

Oct 30, 2020

A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air

The risk of contagion is highest in indoor spaces but can be reduced by applying all available measures to combat infection via aerosols. Here is an overview of the likelihood of infection in three everyday scenarios, based on the safety measures used and the length of exposure


Excerpt
In the spring, health authorities failed to focus on aerosol transmission, but recent scientific publications have forced the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC to acknowledge it. An article in the prestigious Science magazine found that there is "overwhelming evidence" that airborne transmission is a "major transmission route" for the coronavirus, and the CDC now notes that, "under certain conditions, they seem to have infected others who were more than six feet [two meters] away. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example, while singing or exercising."

Oct 28, 2020

COVID's cognitive costs? Some patients' brains may age 10 years

(REUTERS) A non-peer-reviewed study of more than 84,000 people, led by Adam Hampshire, a doctor at Imperial College London, found that in some severe cases, coronavirus infection is linked to substantial cognitive deficits for months.

"Our analyses ... align with the view that there are chronic cognitive consequences of having COVID-19," the researchers wrote in a report of their findings. "People who had recovered, including those no longer reporting symptoms, exhibited significant cognitive deficits."

Cognitive tests measure how well the brain performs tasks - such as remembering words or joining dots on a puzzle. Such tests are widely used to assess brain performance in diseases like Alzheimer's, and can also help doctors assess temporary brain impairments.

Hampshire's team analysed results from 84,285 people who completed a study called the Great British Intelligence Test. The findings, which have yet to be reviewed by other experts, were published online on the MedRxiv website.

The cognitive deficits were "of substantial effect size", particularly among people who had been hospitalised with COVID-19, the researchers said, with the worst cases showing impacts "equivalent to the average 10-year decline in global performance between the ages of 20 to 70".

Scientists not directly involved with the study, however, said its results should be viewed with some caution.

Please read full from source:

Oct 26, 2020

The forklift truck drivers who never leave their desks

(BBC) During the pandemic, many of us have relied on having goods delivered to our homes more frequently than before.

But as Covid-19 spreads easily, the warehouses dotted along the world's supply chains have become potential hubs of disease transmission, says Elliot Katz, co-founder of Phantom Auto.

The solution, he suggests, is to reduce the number of people working in those environments. Take forklift operators, for instance - with remote-control technology they can now work off-site, controlling their machines from afar.

"We have customers today where we are fully remotely operating those forklifts from remote locations," says Mr Katz, whose firm has equipped a string of new clients with these systems in recent months.

Phantom Auto's technology is now installed in around a dozen warehouses in the US and Europe, he adds.

Read full from source:

Oct 20, 2020

EPA crews use color system to remove hazardous waste for Carmel Fire

Keeping track of what's safe and what's not during fire waste removal is getting clearer. The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, has a color system to mark dangerous items left behind at destroyed properties.

In phase one of waste removal, EPA crews are looking to remove all the hazards from sites, which includes cleaning supplies, paints, etc. The first step, Phase I, is needed before bulldozing of the damage.
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If the first phase is not completed before bulldozing over a burned out property, "that could be hazardous for the workers who come in to do that second phase of debris removal," said Jeremy Johnstone, an Environmental Protection Agency task force leader.

It's not about what a person sees on a burned out property, it's what most people visiting don't see, that needs professional eyes.

"The ash can be hazardous, there can be asbestos on site, you can get on skin and hair," Johnstone said.

Those are a few examples of hazardous materials on a site everyone who visits, should be aware of. The EPA has a color coded system to help.

Items they have marked with white spray paint are deemed safe and should be treated as debris. An orange mark means the item is hazardous such as unexploded ammunition.

A pink mark is the assumption of asbestos, to be actually tested in phase two.

This consist of a lot of work for crews who are averaging about an hour a property under new COVID-19 protocols. The new rules include keeping smaller, similar work crews together. For example crews working on Trampa Canyon Road near Cachagua Rd. in Carmel Valley, will stick with their same groups as they move to different properties

Johnstone said, "we are maintaining social spacing. In the after hours we are not hanging out having drinks or dinner together." "We're also getting regualry tested. Each individual is getting tested twice a week."

Once phase one is completed for the Carmel fire, EPA crews will move to do phase one for the River and then Dolan Fire. Once phase one is completed on a property, phase two can begin.

Read full from source:
https://www.ksbw.com/article/epa-crews-use-color-system-to-remove-hazardous-waste-for-carmel-fire/34350381#

More Than 200 Million Americans Could Have Toxic PFAS in Their Drinking Water

The study, published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, analyzed publicly accessible drinking water testing results from the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Geological Survey, as well as state testing by Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina and Rhode Island.

"We know drinking water is a major source of exposure of these toxic chemicals," said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., vice president for science investigations at EWG and a co-author of the new study. "This new paper shows that PFAS pollution is affecting even more Americans than we previously estimated. PFAS are likely detectable in all major water supplies in the U.S., almost certainly in all that use surface water."

The analysis also included laboratory tests commissioned by EWG that found PFAS chemicals in the drinking water of dozens of U.S. cities. Some of the highest PFAS levels detected were in samples from major metropolitan areas, including Miami, Philadelphia, New Orleans and the northern New Jersey suburbs of New York City.

There is no national requirement for ongoing testing and no national drinking water standard for any PFAS in drinking water. The EPA has issued an inadequate lifetime health advisory level of 70 ppt for the two most notorious fluorinated chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, and efforts to set an enforceable standard could take many years.

In the absence of a federal standard, states have started to pass their own legal limits for some PFAS. New Jersey was the first to issue a maximum contaminant limit for the compound PFNA, at 13 ppt, and has set standards of 13 ppt for PFOS and 14 ppt for PFOA. Many states have either set or proposed limits for PFOA and PFOS, including California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont.

"The first step in fighting any contamination crisis is to turn off the tap," said Scott Faber, EWG senior vice president for government affairs. "The second step is to set a drinking water standard, and the third is to clean up legacy pollution. The PFAS Action Act passed by the House would address all three steps by setting deadlines for limiting industrial PFAS releases, setting a two-year deadline for a drinking water standard, and designating PFAS as 'hazardous substances' under the Superfund law. But Mitch McConnell's Senate has refused to act to protect our communities from 'forever chemicals.'"

West Texas nuclear waste plan prompts fears of radioactive trains in Fort Worth

A plan to transport 5,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste from across the country to sites on the Texas-New Mexico border poses a particular danger to Fort Worth, a group of environmental activists opposed to the plan said Thursday.

The destination for much of the nuclear waste is Andrews County, where Waste Control Specialists already operates a toxic waste site. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering a similar plan from nuclear company Holtec for a high-level waste storage facility in southeastern New Mexico. While the nuclear waste is concerning for residents of West Texas and eastern New Mexico, Fort Worth residents should also be worried, said Lon Burnam, a former state representative and the chair of the Tarrant Coalition for Environmental Awareness.

With today's rail traffic, Burnam said trains hauling the nuclear waste may have to stop overnight in Metroplex rail yards like the massive Union Pacific Davidson Yard south of the Cultural District.

"These canisters can sit here and leak radiation without anyone knowing," Burnam said.


Read full from source

Oct 19, 2020

Energy Department Announces Round One Winners of Geothermal Manufacturing Prize

DOE- U.S. Department of Energy announced the winners of the Ready! contest of the American-Made Geothermal Manufacturing Prize. Launched in April 2020, the prize is designed to spur innovation using additive manufacturing to address challenges fundamental to operating in harsh geothermal environments.

The winners of the Ready! contest – the first in a series of four progressive competitions – were announced at the Geothermal Resources Council's Virtual 2020 Annual Meeting and Expo by Daniel R Simmons, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

"Geothermal has the potential to play an important role in our energy future," said Simmons. "These projects will help unlock that potential through innovative approaches to additive manufacturing."

Read more

https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/energy-department-announces-round-one-winners-geothermal-manufacturing-prize

DNR Launches Waste Characterization Study At Wisconsin Landfills Study To Provide Insight Into Waste Reduction And Diversion Efforts

DNR, Wis. – This past September, SCS Engineers began collecting and sorting samples of municipal solid waste at landfills across the state as part of a study aimed at better understanding what Wisconsinites are throwing in the trash.

Results of the study will provide a powerful planning tool for waste reduction and minimization efforts across the state, and when compared to prior studies conducted in 2003 and 2009, will help officials identify trends in waste and recycling.  

"Millions of pounds of materials are diverted through recycling, e-cycling or composting every year, which keeps hazardous materials out of the environment, saves valuable landfill space and supports Wisconsin's economy," said Kate Strom Hiorns, DNR recycling and solid waste section chief. "But more can be done. This study will help determine the communication, infrastructure and resources still needed."

Crews will visit 12 landfills across the state to sort 400 municipal solid waste samples and visually characterize 640 construction and demolition waste loads. Crews are trained to identify 85 material types, representing eight waste categories including plastics, organics and hazardous materials. Region, hauler type and the source of the waste will also be recorded.

"The DNR is looking for opportunities to minimize and divert waste statewide, but also at the source or regional level," said Casey Lamensky, DNR solid waste coordinator. "The DNR will continue to work with local governments, businesses and organizations to ensure they have the resources they need to divert materials from the landfill."

Waste characterization data from 2003 and 2009 provided crucial information for waste management decisions still affecting residents today. Dane County used the 2009 study
which identified construction and demolition materials as one of the top contributing material groups, to properly size a construction and demolition recycling facility at the Rodefeld Landfill.

"We hope the 2020 data will be similarly used," Lamensky said. "Dane County is a great example of why this information is important."

The final report will be published this spring. From mid-October through mid-December, crews will be sampling at landfills located in Appleton, Wisconsin Rapids, Weyerhaeuser, Watertown, Muskego, Franklin, Menomonee Falls and Eau Claire.

To learn more about recycling in Wisconsin, visit the DNR's what to recycle page.
https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Recycling/banned.html



Oct 16, 2020

Water Subcabinet Members Highlight Enhanced Aquatic Resource Mapping with Western States

EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)  — Yesterday, as part of the Western States Water Council (WSWC) virtual Fall 2020 meeting, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross highlighted ongoing cross-agency efforts to enhance the nation's aquatic resource maps. The federally-led mapping effort illustrates the enhanced interagency coordination established by the Trump Administration that will accelerate progress in developing better data, tools, and strategies for managing our nation's vital water resources, including developing maps of "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) that can more accurately depict the scope of federal Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction.

"After nearly 50 years of implementing the Clean Water Act, it is disappointing that the federal government lacks the ability to point to a map and tell our stakeholders which waters are subject to federal jurisdiction, and which are exclusively reserved to the capable management of our state and tribal partners," said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross. "Because there are currently no maps showing the universe of waters regulated under the Clean Water Act, we are leveraging the collective expertise, tools, and resources of the Water Subcabinet to solve this problem."

Representatives from EPA, Department of the Interior (DOI), and Department of the Army (Army) along with Western State water managers and expert scientists from the EPA, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) discussed the benefits of enhanced geospatial tools and novel approaches to improve the accuracy of maps depicting surface waters nationwide. When fully developed, maps of CWA jurisdiction will promote greater regulatory certainty, relieve some of the regulatory burden associated with determining the need for a CWA permit, and play an important part in helping to implement the goals and policies of the CWA.

Under the newly formed Water Subcabinet, established by the President's Executive Order "Modernizing America's Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure," EPA and the Army are aligning their WOTUS mapping interests with DOI's established and ever-improving aquatic resource mapping efforts, including the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), National Wetlands Inventory (NWI), and other datasets. At yesterday's WSWC Fall Meeting, technical experts from EPA, USGS, and USFWS described the ongoing cross-agency efforts to enhance the existing NHD and NWI frameworks, coupled with on-the-ground field research, streamflow monitoring, and geospatial modeling approaches to improve the accuracy of the nation's stream and wetland maps.

"In developing the new WOTUS definition under the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule, we heard from stakeholders that maps of jurisdictional waters could increase certainty and transparency regarding which waters are jurisdictional and which waters are not," said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Ryan Fisher. "This interagency mapping effort will increase certainty and efficiency within the Corps' regulatory programs while enhancing predictability for landowners and businesses to support the economy and accelerate critical infrastructure projects."

To help inform this effort, the Water Subcabinet is engaging with stakeholders like WSWC to make progress on these mapping goals, while being advised by a work group of participants from federal agencies with interest and expertise in geospatial mapping. EPA and the Army believe the most efficient way to address their CWA mapping needs is to better align their efforts with DOI's existing processes and national mapping capabilities.

"Department of the Interior's USGS, FWS, and other bureaus have a long history of working together to map the nation's waters," said DOI Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Timothy Petty. "Now, by focusing our assets and capabilities to the needs of USACE and EPA, our aim is to accelerate enhancements to our existing national frameworks and the maps they will support for a wide variety of federal, state, tribal, and private sector water programs. This is a prime example of the cross-agency work that the Water Subcabinet can tackle to better manage our nation's aquatic resources and leverage taxpayer dollars."

For more information on mapping jurisdictional waters under the CWA, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-01/documents/nwpr_fact_sheet_-_mapping.pdf


Background
There are currently no comprehensive datasets through which EPA and the Army can map the universe of jurisdictional waters under the CWA. While the USGS National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and the USFWS National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) are the most comprehensive hydrogeographic datasets mapping waters and wetlands in the United States and are useful resources for a wide variety of water management applications, they currently have technical limitations that present significant challenges for use as standalone tools to determine the full scope of CWA jurisdiction, regardless of the regulatory definition of WOTUS. In fact, prior to finalizing the now-rescinded 2015 rule defining WOTUS, an EPA blog post published under the previous administration entitled "Mapping the Truth" stated, "While these [USGS and USFWS] maps are useful tools for water resource managers, they cannot be used to determine Clean Water Act jurisdiction – now or ever." Due to limitations of the existing datasets, the Trump Administration agrees with Obama Administration officials that the data cannot currently be used to determine the scope of CWA jurisdiction, but rejects the premise that the tools we have today cannot be improved upon in the future to map WOTUS. The Water Subcabinet, leveraging the collective expertise, tools, and resources across the federal family, is working together with our state and tribal partners to do so.

President Trump Signs Executive Order on Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure

WASHINGTON ( EPA Press Office ) — Today, President Trump signed an Executive Order on "Modernizing America's Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure." This historic action ensures Federal coordination on water policy is standard practice now and into the future by formally establishing a Water Subcabinet of senior Federal agency officials to facilitate efficient and effective management and modernization of our water supplies and systems while also eliminating duplication between agencies. With this Executive Order, President Trump is demonstrating his bold vision for improving our Federal water infrastructure and prioritizing access to essential water supplies for all Americans.

The Water Subcabinet will be co-chaired by U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) Secretary David Bernhardt and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, and will include senior officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Commerce (DOC), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of the Army (Civil Works). The Water Subcabinet will work in close coordination with senior officials from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and other federal agencies as appropriate.

"Clean, reliable, and safe water supplies are essential for our communities, our economy, and our environment," said CEQ Chairman Mary Neumayr. "By establishing the Water Subcabinet, President Trump is bringing key policymakers together who will coordinate actions to streamline needs of our Nation. Once again, the Trump Administration is taking action to deliver practical results for the American people."

"The Trump Administration has made it a priority to ensure communities across the nation receive safe, reliable water," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt. "Today's action by President Trump furthers our incredible efforts over the past three and a half years to cut bureaucratic red tape and improve water infrastructure."

"The Federal Government has the responsibility to ensure all Americans, regardless of their zip code, have access to reliable sources of clean and safe water," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "By creating the Water Subcabinet, President Trump is supporting 21st century water infrastructure that will provide all Americans with safe drinking water and surface water protection."

"From the very early days of the Administration, President Trump has recognized the importance of the energy-water nexus to U.S. economic competitiveness," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. "Through the President's Water Security Grand Challenge, DOE has advanced transformational technology and innovation to help meet the domestic and global need for safe, secure and affordable water through collaboration between industry and our 17 National Labs. DOE looks forward to continuing this work in coordination with the newly established Water Subcabinet."

"The Water Subcabinet will enhance collaboration among the Federal agencies responsible for our nation's water management, allowing for a more effective and efficient environmental and economic balance of our nation's water resources for all users," said R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. "This Administration's focus on streamlining and reducing duplication between Federal agencies will benefit the American people by the coordinated modernization of our Nation's water infrastructure and water resource management."

"It is essential that Americans have access to clean, safe, and reliable water resources. Streamlining and modernizing water management will foster innovation in water forecasting and research, bolster the resilience of our water infrastructure, promote efficiency across the Federal Government, enhance public health, and create jobs. I commend President Trump's strong leadership as well as the collective efforts across the Administration on this important issue," said OSTP Director Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier

"President Trump is committed to making it easier for farmers be successful and to ensure they are the most innovative in the world. Today's Executive Order is evidence of that commitment," said USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey. "Water is critical to farming and the success of Rural America. USDA has already taken the lead to invest in America's wetlands through projects that inspire creative problem-solving that boosts production on farms, ranches, and private forests – ultimately improving water quality, soil health, and wildlife habitat."

Under the Executive Order, the Water Subcabinet will:

·• Promote effective and efficient water resources management by reducing duplication between Federal agencies developing water policy;

·• Develop a national water strategy to ensure the reliability of our water supplies, water quality, water systems, and water forecasting;

·• Protect taxpayer investments and improve water infrastructure planning by promoting integrated planning and coordination for drinking water, wastewater, water reuse, water storage and delivery, and water resource management; and

·• Support and enhance workforce development to recruit, train, and retain water sector professionals.

Under the Trump Administration, Federal agencies that have primary authority for water policy have coordinated like never before, to help ensure that all Americans have access to safe drinking water, reliable rural and farm water supplies, and clean water for recreation and enjoyment. Coordination by the Water Subcabinet will streamline decision-making processes across these Federal agencies, promoting effective and efficient planning to modernize our Nation's water infrastructure.

To view the Executive Order: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-modernizing-americas-water-resource-management-water-infrastructure/

To view a fact sheet: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/201013-Final-Water-EO-Fact-Sheet-.pdf

MIT Book on Repairing Infrastructures: The Maintenance of Materiality and Power

Repairing Infrastructures: The Maintenance of Materiality and Power.

The book provides an overview of infrastructure studies and maintenance and repair studies, illustrated with case studies from our own research and the work of other researchers.

You can buy the book as a paperback and/or download the chapters directly from MIT's website for free.

We're grateful to the press for offering an open access version of the book.

Oct 13, 2020

The Human Cost of Disasters - An overview of the last 20 years 2000-2019

UNDRR report published to mark the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on October 13, 2020, confirms how extreme weather events have come to dominate the disaster landscape in the 21st century. The statistics in this report are from the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) which records disasters which have killed ten or more people; affected 100 or more people; resulted in a declared state of emergency; or a call for international assistance.

In the period 2000 to 2019, there were 7,348 major recorded disaster events claiming 1.23 million lives, affecting 4.2 billion people (many on more than one occasion) resulting in approximately US$2.97 trillion in global economic losses.

This is a sharp increase over the previous twenty years. Between 1980 and 1999, 4,212 disasters were linked to natural hazards worldwide claiming approximately 1.19 million lives and affecting 3.25 billion people resulting in approximately US$1.63 trillion in economic losses.

Much of the difference is explained by a rise in climate-related disasters including extreme weather events: from 3,656 climate-related events (1980-1999) to 6,681 climate-related disasters in the period 2000-2019.

The last twenty years has seen the number of major floods more than double, from 1,389 to 3,254, while the incidence of storms grew from 1,457 to 2,034. Floods and storms were the most prevalent events.

The report "The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019" also records major increases in other categories including drought, wildfires and extreme temperature events. There has also been a rise in geo-physical events including earthquakes and tsunamis which have killed more people than any of the other natural hazards under review in this report.

Download report here:

https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Human%20Cost%20of%20Disasters%202000-2019%20Report%20-%20UN%20Office%20for%20Disaster%20Risk%20Reduction.pdf


Source:

https://reliefweb.int/report/world/human-cost-disasters-overview-last-20-years-2000-2019

Oct 9, 2020

NEJM Editorial about COVID and leadership

NEJM  - Covid-19 has created a crisis throughout the world. This crisis has produced a test of leadership. With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.

The magnitude of this failure is astonishing. According to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, the United States leads the world in Covid-19 cases and in deaths due to the disease, far exceeding the numbers in much larger countries, such as China. The death rate in this country is more than double that of Canada, exceeds that of Japan, a country with a vulnerable and elderly population, by a factor of almost 50, and even dwarfs the rates in lower-middle-income countries, such as Vietnam, by a factor of almost 2000. Covid-19 is an overwhelming challenge, and many factors contribute to its severity. But the one we can control is how we behave. And in the United States we have consistently behaved poorly.

....Let's be clear about the cost of not taking even simple measures. An outbreak that has disproportionately affected communities of color has exacerbated the tensions associated with inequality. Many of our children are missing school at critical times in their social and intellectual development. The hard work of health care professionals, who have put their lives on the line, has not been used wisely. Our current leadership takes pride in the economy, but while most of the world has opened up to some extent, the United States still suffers from disease rates that have prevented many businesses from reopening, with a resultant loss of hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of jobs. And more than 200,000 Americans have died. Some deaths from Covid-19 were unavoidable. But, although it is impossible to project the precise number of additional American lives lost because of weak and inappropriate government policies, it is at least in the tens of thousands in a pandemic that has already killed more Americans than any conflict since World War II.

Read more at:

Oct 7, 2020

U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Announces $484,069 In Coronavirus Violations

OSHA – Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited 37 establishments for violations, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $484,069.

OSHA inspections have resulted in the agency citing employers for violations, including failures to:

OSHA has already issued press releases relating to nine establishments, which can be found at dol.gov/newsroom. In addition to those establishments, who have received coronavirus-related citations from OSHA relating to one or more of the above violations. OSHA provides more information about individual citations at its Establishment Search website, which it updates periodically.


See full list here in OSHA Press Release

https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/national/10022020-0

Oct 1, 2020

Energy Department's Better Plants Partners Save $8.2 Billion

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that Better Buildings, Better Plants partners have cumulatively saved more than $8 billion in energy costs and 1.7 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs).

More than 235 organizations now partner with DOE through Better Plants. This year, DOE welcomed 20 new partners to the program and challenge, representing 3,200 facilities and roughly 12% of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint. These partners come from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and include Fortune 100 companies, family-owned small businesses, and water treatment organizations.

"Better Plants Partners exemplify the innovative spirit of American manufacturing," said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Alex Fitzsimmons. "These partners are developing, implementing, and sharing innovative, energy-efficient practices that help their organizations save energy and money, which in turn helps the U.S. economy stay competitive."

Through the Better Buildings, Better Plants program, DOE works with partners who have set ambitious energy, water and/or waste reduction goals. As of 2020, partners have successfully met 67 energy and water goals. DOE supports these partners by providing technical expertise, managing peer-exchange opportunities, highlighting successful solutions, and expanding access to innovation.

In addition to setting energy-efficiency goals, Better Plants Challenge partners also share their solutions and best practices.  There are now 49 Better Plants Challenge partners sharing a combined 83 showcase projects, implementation models, and "solutions-at-a-glance" on the Better Buildings Solution Center.

Read full announcement at:

Sep 18, 2020

EPA Publishes “First Ever” Rule Intended to Promote Transparency in Developing Regulatory Guidance Documents

On September 14, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a pre-publication version of a final rule establishing the procedures and requirements for how EPA will manage the issuance of guidance documents consistent with Executive Order (EO) 13891, "Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents." The final regulation provides a definition of guidance document for the purposes of this rule, establishes general requirements and procedures for certain guidance documents issued by EPA, and incorporates additional requirements for guidance documents determined to be significant guidance.

Read full from Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

EPA Releases Final Risk Evaluation Scope Documents for Next 20 High Priority Chemicals

From source: Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP - Alexandra B. Cunningham and Elizabeth Reese

TSCA requires EPA to issue final risk evaluations for each of the 20 chemicals no later than December 20, 2022, but EPA is authorized to grant itself a one-time six month extension to June 20, 2023 if it needs more time to complete its risk evaluations.

EPA will also soon proceed with risk evaluations for two phthalates—di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and di-isononyl phthalate (DINP)—at the request of industry stakeholders. Scoping documents for those chemicals have not yet been released, but companies should also keep them on their radars.

Links to each of the 20 final scoping documents, as well as non-exhaustive lists of common uses of each chemical, are provided below.

Final Scope Document Common Uses
1,3-Butadiene Adhesives and sealants; resins; sealants; fuels; synthetic rubber; tires; paints and coatings
p-Dichlorobenzene (Benzene, 1,4-dicholoro-) Plastics; resins; solvents; odor agents and air fresheners; synthetic dyes and pigments; cleaning and furnishing care products; lubricants and greases; plastic foam insulation and foam sealants; fuel additives
1,2-Dichloroethane Intermediate in manufacturing (petrochemical, plastic material and resin, organic chemicals); adhesives and sealants; lubricants and greases; plastic and rubber products; embalming; degreasing and cleaning solvents
trans-1,2-Dicholoroethylene Plating and surface treating agents; cleaning and degreasing solvents; adhesives and sealants; inks; aerosol spray cleaners/degreasers; spot and stain removers; refrigerants; polyurethane foam building insulation
HHCB (1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta [g]-2-benzopyran) Odor agents; soaps, fragrances; air fresheners; scented candles; cleaning products (including all-purpose liquid and bathroom cleaners); laundry products (including detergent and fabric softeners); plastic and rubber products
TBBPA (4,4'-(1-Methylethylidene)bis[2,6-dibromophenol]) Flame retardants; adhesive manufacturing; building and construction products; batteries; fabric, textile, and leather products
TPP (Triphenyl Phosphate) Flame retardants; paint and coatings; plasticizers; lubricants and greases; fluids and oils; foam seating and bedding products; electrical and electronic products
TCEP (Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate) Flame retardants; aircraft interiors; paints and coatings; fabric, textile, and leather products; building and construction products; foam seating and bedding products
Diethylhexyl Phthalate (DEHP) Plasticizers; adhesives and sealants; plastics and resins; paints and coatings; arts, crafts, and hobby materials; automotive and interior car care products; batteries; building and construction products; dyes and pigments; electrical and electronic products; furniture and furnishings; fabric, textile, and leather products; lawn and garden care products; paints and coatings; plastic and rubber products; toys, playground, and sporting equipment
Dicyclohexyl Phthalate (DCHP) Paints and coatings; plastics and resins; rubber products; adhesives; inks, toners, and colorants; asphalt paving; roofing materials; building and construction products; arts, crafts, and hobby materials
Diisobutyl Phthalate (DIBP) Plasticizers; adhesives and sealants; paints and coatings; fuels and related products; inks, toners, and colorants; fabric, textile, and leather products; building and construction products; air fresheners; floor coverings; toys, playground, and sporting equipment; plastic and rubber products
Butyl Benzyl Phthalate (BBP) Plasticizers; asphalt paving; roofing materials; fabric, textile, and leather products; plastic and rubber products; adhesives and sealants; automotive care products; building and construction materials; floor coverings; inks, toners, and related products; paints and coatings; arts, crafts, and hobby materials; toys, playground, and sporting equipment
Dibutyl Phthalate (DIBP) Plasticizers; asphalt paving; roofing and coating materials; adhesives and sealants; pants and coatings; resins; rubber products; soap and cleaning products; cleaning and furnishing care products; furniture; inks, toners, and colorants; personal care products; arts, crafts, and hobby materials; fabric, textile, and leather products; floor coverings; toys, playground, and sporting equipment; light sticks
Phthalic Anhydride Adhesives and sealants; paints and coatings; lubricants and greases; synthetic dyes and pigments; inks, toners, and colorants; plastic and rubber products; textile, apparel, and leather manufacturing; flame retardants; building and construction products; water filtration products
o-Dicholorobenzene (Benzene, 1,2-dichloro-) Solvents; plastics; resins; lubricants and greases; inks, dyes, toners, and pigments; paints and coatings; air fresheners; cleaning and furnishing care products; fuel additives; ceramics glaze
Formaldehyde Adhesives and sealants; plastics and resins; soaps and cleaning compounds; bleaching agents in wood products; textile, apparel, and leather manufacturing finishing agents; roofing materials; paints and coatings; asphalt paving; solvents; floor coverings; foam seating and bedding products; cleaning and furniture care products; water treatment products; laundry and dishwashing products; personal care products; building and construction products; lawn and garden products; electrical and electronic products; food packaging; plastic and rubber products; inks, toners, and colorants; arts, crafts, and hobby materials; automotive care products; toys, playground, and sporting equipment

Sep 17, 2020

Memorial Honoring Eula Bingham

On June 13, 2020, workers lost one their best allies, when Dr. Eula Bingham passed. She leaves behind a remarkable and indelible legacy.

The NIEHS Worker Training Program, the University of Cincinnati, and the Collegium Ramazzini are convening a 90-minute zoom remembrance to honor a true giant of occupational health.

Throughout the 90 years of her life, Dr. Bingham insisted tirelessly that workers had the absolute right to be safe on the job. Her thoughtful and generous wisdom shaped the entire field of occupational safety and health.

Her bold and courageous actions prevented countless illnesses and injuries in workers around the world. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Bingham was a long-time Fellow and Past President of the Collegium Ramazzini.

We include here a link to her eulogy from the College.


Please join us as we honor and celebrate the life of Dr. Bingham.

https://niehs.zoomgov.com/j/1604005915?pwd=Y2hPcm1nNFBJQ0V3VnNwakpyVzFMZz09

Meeting ID: 160 400 5915
Passcode: 692153

Dial by your location
+1 669 254 5252 US (San Jose)
+1 646 828 7666 US (New York)

 

Sep 16, 2020

Chemical Data Reporting Is Due to EPA on November 30

Every four years, manufacturers and importers of chemicals must report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under its Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule, 40 C.F.R. Part 711. The CDR rule, issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), requires manufacturers or importers to file reports for all chemical substances they manufacture or import over certain volume thresholds — subject to some exemptions. The CDR rule is not limited to companies that sell chemicals; it applies to any entity that manufactures or imports chemical substances in commerce in the United States (that is, listed on the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory).

The CDR rule applies to a broad range of industries including biotechnology companies, paper and metal manufacturers, and electric utilities. Many manufacturers and importers may be unaware of this obligation, especially start-up companies and fast-growing midsize companies. CDR reports for 2020, which cover calendar years 2016 through 2019, are due to EPA by November 30. Required information includes chemical identities of substances, total annual production or import volume, volumes used onsite and exported, and risks to onsite workers.

Read full at:

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=cf878527-5bb8-4016-aec3-04f6aaa70a64

Sep 10, 2020

[p2tech] Join NPPR for two virtual events during P2 Week

Join the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable for two P2 Week virtual events.

On September 21 from 4-5:30 pm EDT, reconnect with your colleagues at the NPPR 35th Anniversary P2 Virtual Reunion to catch up and discuss the past, present, and future of P2. Anyone who has been involved with pollution prevention during the past 40 years is welcome. Register for the event at https://p2.org/event-3964942.

On September 22 from 1:30-3 pm EDT, NPPR and U.S. EPA Region 4 are partnering for P2 Week and NPPR'S P2U kickoff webinar. People, Prosperity, Planet…the Journey to Sustainability will celebrate 30 years of the P2 Act, 35 years of NPPR, and 50 years of the EPA.

Session Topics
  • Definition and impact of P2.
  • A brief discussion of the evolution of P2, including federal P2 legislation in 1990, EPA programs that advance P2 principles and foster implementation, P2 in today's world, and where

EPA's P2 program is headed in the future.
  • Brief history of NPPR's origins and how it currently supports P2 work being done at the local, state, and national level.
  • Announcement of NPPR's 2020 MVP2 Award Winners.
  • Launch of NPPR's P2U Training Series, a collaborative effort between [p2tech] Join NPPR for two virtual events during P2 Week

NPPR and EPA Region 4 that supports networking and professional development for P2 practitioners.

Open to all who seek a better understanding of P2, relevant federal programs, and/or resources to support the P2 community. It's brought to you by NPPR and EPA Region 4 at no cost. Register at https://p2.org/event-3965171.

We hope you can join us for both of these events.

Sep 9, 2020

Washington State Safer Products Update on Paints

(paint.org) In July, the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) submitted its Priority Consumer Products report to the Washington Legislature and included Paints on the list under the "Safer Products for Washington" program. Washington DOE included food and beverage cans (bisphenols) and cited concerns over inadvertent Polychlorinated biphenyls (iPCBs) as the reasoning.

Notably, DOE has identified all paints — not just paints used by consumers —  in the scope of iPCBs under the Safer Products program.

In 2019, the Washington State Legislature directed DOE to implement a regulatory program to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products (Chapter 70.365 RCW), known as the "Safer Products for Washington." The Legislature identified five priority chemical classes: flame retardants; Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); Phenolic compounds; and Phthalates. The law requires Ecology to identify priority consumer products that are significant sources or uses of the chemical classes. DOE suggests that iPCBs may form as a byproduct in the production of certain chlorinated color pigments including Diarylide yellows, Phthalocyanine blues and greens, and possibly certain titanium dioxides.

DOE is scheduled to complete Phase 3 and over the next two years will identify alternatives and report back to the Legislature any proposed regulatory actions on June 1, 2022. Then, DOE would adopt any such regulations by June 1, 2023. Ultimately, DOE could decide "no regulatory action is needed," if alternatives are not available or feasible, or DOE could possibly restrict the use of the certain pigments that contain iPCBs.

Read full from source at (paint.org)

Sep 8, 2020

High Levels of Toxic Chemicals Found in Dust Inside College Classrooms

(Science Daily) Researchers detected 43 different types of flame retardants and found the composition of flame retardants varied from space to space based on the flammability standard the different schools followed. Overall, flame retardant levels were significantly higher in spaces with outdated furniture meeting TB117 and/or TB133 than in spaces meeting the newer TB117-2013 standard.

In older TB133 classrooms, levels of a phased-out flame retardant and its replacement (BDE 209 and DBDPE) were three and eight times higher, respectively, than the highest levels previously reported in indoor spaces in the United States. That report came from an earlier study by Silent Spring that looked at dust in college dorm rooms.

The team also detected the carcinogen TDCIPP and a structurally similar flame retardant called TCIPP in rooms meeting the newer standard, likely due to the chemicals' widespread use in many other materials such as plastics, rubber, and textiles.

"This is an important study and the first to evaluate the impact of the new TB117-2013 standard on flame retardant levels in dust," says Arlene Blum, executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute. "It shows that updating an obscure fire standard leads to lower levels of harmful flame retardants and healthier indoor spaces."

Sep 3, 2020

New WHO free-online course Occupational health and safety for health workers in the context of COVID-19

WHO has launched a new  free-online course Occupational health and safety for health workers in the context of COVID-19: All health workers require knowledge and skills to protect themselves and others from the occupational risks they encounter, so that they can work safely and effectively. This course covers four areas in response to these needs: infectious risks to health and safety, physical risks to health and safety, psychosocial risks to health and safety and basic occupational health and safety in health services.

Feel free to disseminate https://openwho.org/courses/COVID-19-occupational-health-and-safety?tracking_user=79KWbMERvlyJs93otUBThL&tracking_type=news&tracking_id=5G2Mpe2LUQH0UI1yw8p8pV, tweet https://twitter.com/workershealth/status/1300754382892478471?s=20 , facebook https://www.facebook.com/ivan.d.ivanov.712/posts/10159147472461435

There will be translations to Spanish, Russian, French, Arabic, Chinese and Portuguese, and to many other languages.

 

Overview: In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, working conditions for health workers may deteriorate. In addition to the risks of infection with COVID-19, health workers continue to experience other occupational health and safety risks of biological, physical or psychosocial nature. Therefore, for the protection of physical and mental health, safety and well-being of health workers, WHO recommends a combination of measures for infection prevention and control, occupational health and safety and psychosocial support.

Health workers participating in pandemic response are exposed to many different occupational risks to health and safety. These include: COVID-19 infection, illness, and transmission to others; fatigue from working longer hours and heavy workload, insufficient sleep or rest, dehydration, and inadequate nutrition; musculoskeletal injury from handling of patients and heavy objects, prolonged work while using personal protective equipment which can cause heat stress, skin and mucosal damage; workplace violence and stigma, and a variety of mental health problems, emotional distress and occupational burn-out.

The target audience for this course is health workers, incident managers, supervisors and administrators who make policies and protocols for their health facilities.

Learning objectives: By the end of this course, you should be able to:

·         describe the most common occupational risks to health and safety to which health workers are exposed while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic;

·         describe the rights of health workers to decent working conditions;

·         describe how to apply measures for protecting their health and safety and actively propose improvements; and

·         access and use supportive services for protection of health and safety of health workers.

 

Course duration: Approximately 1 hour.

Certificates: A Confirmation of Participation will be available to participants who complete 100% of the course material.

Course contents

  • Introduction:

This introductory module gives an overview of occupational health and safety in the context of COVID-19.

  • Module 1: Infectious risks to health and safety:

By the end of this module, you should be able to: explain how health workers can be exposed to infectious hazards; describe how respiratory infections and bloodborne pathogens are transmitted to health workers; and describe the steps that health workers can take to protect themselves from respiratory infections: standard precautions and control measures to prevent different infections.

  • Module 2: Physical risks to health and safety:

By the end of this module, you should be able to: list the major risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders in the health sector; describe high risk activities when handling patients; and describe the major types of occupational hazards that health workers face and how to prevent them.

  • Module 3: Psychosocial risks to health and safety:

By the end of this module, you should be able to: list the major sources of psychosocial risks for health workers; describe the signs of fatigue and how to prevent it; describe the risk factors, signs and preventive actions for workplace violence; and describe how health workers and managers can protect and support mental health.

  • Module 4: Basic occupational health and safety in health services:

By the end of this module, you should be able to: describe the responsibilities of employers and managers in occupational health safety and describe actions that can be taken by health workers to promote occupational health and safety.