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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, December 8, 2016
EPA Moves to Ban Certain Aerosol Degreasers and Dry Cleaning Spot Removers as the First Major Regulatory Action Under Chemical Reform Law
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to ban certain uses of the toxic chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) due to health risks when used as a degreaser and a spot removal agent in dry cleaning. Source: U.S. EPA, 12/7/16

As Composting Gains Popularity, Cities Struggle to Meet Demand
Americans want to live more sustainable lives. Can governments keep up? Source: Governing, November 2016

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
New Higg Module Empowers Apparel, Footwear, Textile Producers to Design Impacts Out of Products
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) today launches the Higg Index Design and Development Module (DDM). Along with the release last month of its updated Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) - a cradle-to-gate scoring tool that measures and communicates the environmental performance of thousands of materials used in creating apparel, footwear and home textile products - the DDM is the latest tool in the Higg arsenal aimed at empowering product designers and developers to make sustainable choices at the earliest stage of apparel, footwear and textile prototype design. Source: Sustainable Brands, 12/6/16

What can small farms learn from 'the Toyota Way?'
Some farmers are using lean manufacturing to streamline operations and focus on customers' needs. Source: GreenBiz, 12/4/16

Waste Management: There Are Several New Standards for That
Companies are increasingly realizing the environmental and economic benefits of effective waste management -- fewer methane emissions from landfills, reduced waste hauling costs and new revenue streams from reuse and recycling among them.

Several new tools aim to help companies and other organizations achieve these goals and receive recognition for their work. Source: Environmental Leader, 12/6/16

Will California Climate Regulations Trump a Weak EPA?
President-elect Donald Trump is expected to announce his pick to lead the EPA any day now. And assuming Trump sticks to his campaign promises, the new EPA administrator will be spending more time dismantling all of President Obama's climate rules -- such as the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rules -- than enforcing the nation's air and water pollution regulations.

Meanwhile, California regulators are moving ahead with the most ambitious climate targets in North America. Source: Environmental Leader, 12/6/16

Monday, December 5, 2016
Are Manufacturers on Chemical Management Tool Overload?
A growing number of companies are taking steps to eliminate hazardous chemicals from their products and supply chains. To this end, ADEC Innovations and the ZDHC Foundation say they are building a centralized product information database that helps chemical producers, brands and textile and footwear suppliers make better sourcing decisions. Source: Environmental Leader, 12/5/16

Friday, December 2, 2016
Plastic substitutes and other breakthroughs from 25 years of green chemistry
On the 25th birthday of green chemistry, The Guardian spoke to some of the innovators leading the charge on a toxin-free future. Source: The Guardian, 10/6/16

Development of a Waterborne, Zero-VOC DTM with Excellent Corrosion Resistance
One way to reduce the amount of coalescent in the coatings is to reduce the minimum film formation temperature (MFFT) of the polymer. The most obvious way to accomplish this is to reduce the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the polymer. Unfortunately, this will also reduce the hardness and dirt pickup resistance of the coatings. Through the use of designed particle morphology and process conditions we have developed a latex that can be formulated into a coating without the use of coalescing solvents that gives excellent corrosion resistance, adhesion to steel, and still is hard enough to give good block resistance and dirt pickup resistance. Source: Paint & Coatings Industry, 10/1/16

EPA Action Plan Outlines Ways to Improve Safety, Reliability of Nation's Drinking Water
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a plan that serves as a national call to action, urging all levels of government, utilities, community organizations, and other stakeholders to work together to increase the safety and reliability of drinking water. Source: U.S. EPA. 11/30/16

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
EPA Names First Chemicals for Review Under New TSCA Legislation
EPA is announcing the first ten chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health and the environment under TSCA reform. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, requires EPA to publish this list by December 19, 2016. These chemicals were drawn from EPA's 2014 TSCA Work Plan, a list of 90 chemicals selected based on their potential for high hazard and exposure as well as other considerations. Source: U.S. EPA, 11/29/16

EPA Adds Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) Category to Toxics Release Inventory List
EPA has finalized a rule adding a hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) category to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list of reportable chemicals. This action will expand the scope of chemicals subject to TRI reporting and provide communities with more complete information on toxic chemical releases.

HBCD is a brominated flame retardant used mainly in expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) and extruded polystyrene foam (XPS). EPS and XPS are used primarily for thermal insulation boards in the building and construction industry. HBCD may also be used as a flame retardant in textiles. Concerns about releases and uses of HBCD have been raised because it is found worldwide in the environment and wildlife and has also been found in human breast milk, fat tissue and blood.

EPA also determined that HBCD meets the environmental effects criterion for listing because it is highly toxic to aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Additionally, HBCD bioaccumulates and is persistent in the environment. As a result, HBCD meets the TRI criteria for a Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) chemical and is designated as a chemical of special concern, with a 100-pound reporting threshold. Source: U.S. EPA, 11/29/16

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