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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, January 19, 2017
E-Waste in East and South-East Asia Jumps 63% in Five Years
The volume of discarded electronics in East and South-East Asia jumped almost two-thirds between 2010 and 2015, and e-waste generation is growing fast in both total volume and per capita measures, new UNU research shows. Driven by rising incomes and high demand for new gadgets and appliances, the average increase in e-waste across all 12 countries and areas analysed -- Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Province of China, Thailand and Vietnam -- was 63% in the five years ending in 2015 and totalled 12.3 million tonnes, a weight 2.4 times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza. China alone more than doubled its generation of e-waste between 2010 and 2015 to 6.7 million tonnes, up 107%. The first Regional E-waste Monitor: East and Southeast Asia, was compiled by the United Nations University through its Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE) programme and funded by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment. Using UN University's estimation methodology, the research shows rising e-waste quantities outpacing population growth. Source: UN University, 1/15/17

Chicago-area recycler charged with fraudulent disposal of electronics
The Chicago-area recycling business owner who allegedly operated a multimillion-dollar scheme that fraudulently disposed of potentially hazardous electronic parts was set to be released on bond Tuesday after a hearing in federal court. Brian Brundage, the former owner of Intercon Solutions and current owner of EnviroGreen Processing, was arrested Monday and charged with five counts of income tax evasion, four counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud. According to a federal indictment, Brundage fraudulently misrepresented to customers that the electronics received by both companies would be disassembled and recycled "in an environmentally sound manner." Instead, the indictment alleges, he caused "thousands of tons" of electronics parts and potentially hazardous materials to be placed into landfills, resold to customers who shipped the materials overseas, or stockpiled in his warehouses. Several private companies and governmental entities hired Chicago Heights-based Intercon and Gary, Ind.-based EnviroGreen, according to the indictment, which said the alleged scheme went on for more than a decade. Source: Chicago Tribune, 12/20/16

Scientists are Investigating Membranes Made from Aqua Material For Water Purification
Water purification processes usually make use of robust membranes for filtering off contaminants while working at high pressures. Can materials employing water as major component be made strong enough to suit such a demanding application? Israeli scientists now report in the journal Angewandte Chemie that a supramolecular aqua material can be utilized as a sustainable membrane for water purification at high pressures. Source: R&D Magazine, 1/19/17

Proposed rule: Methylene Chloride and N-Methylpyrrolidone; Regulation of Certain Uses Under TSCA Section 6(a)
Methylene chloride, also called dichloromethane, is a volatile chemical that has a variety of uses, including paint and coating removal. N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) is a solvent used in a variety of applications, including paint and coating removal. For each of these chemicals, EPA has identified risks of concern associated with their use in paint and coating removal. EPA proposes a determination that these are unreasonable risks. EPA is proposing to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride for consumer and most types of commercial paint and coating removal under section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA is also proposing to prohibit the use of methylene chloride in these commercial uses; to require manufacturers (including importers), processors, and distributors, except for retailers, of methylene chloride for any use to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require recordkeeping. EPA is proposing an initial ten-year time-limited exemption from these proposed regulations on methylene chloride for coating removal uses critical for national security. First, EPA is proposing to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of NMP for all consumer and commercial paint and coating removal; to prohibit the use of NMP for all commercial paint and coating removal; to require, consistent with methylene chloride restrictions, downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; to require recordkeeping; and to provide a time-limited exemption from these proposed regulations on NMP for coating removal uses critical for national security. For NMP, as an alternate proposal, EPA is proposing that (1) commercial users of NMP for paint and coating removal establish a worker protection program for dermal and respiratory protection and not use paint and coating removal products that contain greater than 35 percent NMP by weight (except for product formulations destined to be used by DoD or its contractors performing work only for DOD projects); and (2) processors of products containing NMP for paint and coating removal reformulate products such that these products do not exceed a maximum of 35 percent NMP by weight, identify gloves that provide effective protection for the formulation, and provide warning and instruction labels on the products. Source: Federal Register, 1/19/17

Proposed rule: Trichloroethylene (TCE); Regulation of Use in Vapor Degreasing Under TSCA Section 6(a)
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a volatile organic compound widely used in industrial and commercial processes and has some limited uses in consumer and commercial products. EPA identified significant health risks associated with TCE use in vapor degreasing and EPA's proposed determination is that these risks are unreasonable risks. To address these unreasonable risks, EPA is proposing under section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for use in vapor degreasing; to prohibit commercial use of TCE in vapor degreasing; to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors, except for retailers of TCE for any use, to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require limited recordkeeping. Source: Federal Register, 1/19/17

Proposed rule: Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation Under the Amended Toxic Substances Control Act
As required under section 6(b)(4) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA is proposing to establish a process for conducting risk evaluations to determine whether a chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, without consideration of costs or other non-risk factors, including an unreasonable risk to a potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation, under the conditions of use. Risk evaluation is the second step, after Prioritization, in a new process of existing chemical substance review and management established under recent amendments to TSCA. This proposed rule identifies the steps of a risk evaluation process including scope, hazard assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterization, and finally a risk determination. EPA is proposing that this process be used for the first ten chemical substances to be evaluated from the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments, chemical substances designated as High-Priority Substances during the prioritization process, and those chemical substances for which EPA has initiated a risk evaluation in response to manufacturer requests. The proposed rule also includes the required "form and criteria" applicable to such manufacturer requests. Source: Federal Register, 1/19/17

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
EPA and FDA Issue Final Fish Consumption Advice
Chart makes it easier than ever for pregnant women and others to choose from dozens of healthy and safe options; nearly 90 percent of fish eaten in the U.S. fall into "best choices" category. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/18/17

EPA to Put in Place Process to Evaluate Chemicals That May Pose Risk
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving swiftly to propose how it will prioritize and evaluate chemicals, given that the final processes must be in place within the first year of the new law's enactment, or before June 22, 2017. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/17/17

EPA Report Shows Air Emissions of Toxic Chemicals from Industrial Facilities Down More Than Half Since 2005
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released its annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows releases of toxic chemicals into the air fell 56% from 2005-2015 at industrial facilities submitting data to the TRI program. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/12/17

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
New ASTM standard on recycling concrete helps boost sustainable construction
According to ASTM International, its new standard on recycling returned fresh concrete, C1798, Specification for Returned Fresh Concrete for Use in a New Batch of Ready-Mixed Concrete, will help manufacturing plants better support sustainable construction practices. Developed by ASTM's C09 committee on concrete, the new standard covers process, verification, and record-keeping procedures for concrete recycling. Source: Aggregates Manager, 1/17/17

Modernizing the Risk Management Plan Rule
In this blog post, Mathy Stanislaus provides an overview of EPA's revision of the accidental release prevention requirements under the Clean Air Act, also known as the Risk Management Program (RMP. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/13/17

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
CA: EPA honors Crystal Creamery for reducing waste from Modesto plant
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored the Modesto-based company for turning the waste into electricity and other byproducts. It presented the annual Food Recovery Challenge National Innovation Award, part of a federal effort to reduce food waste estimated at 37 million tons a year. Source: Modesto Bee, 1/10/17

Federal Register notice: Trichloroethylene (TCE); Regulation of Use in Vapor Degreasing under TSCA
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a volatile organic compound widely used in industrial and commercial processes and has some limited uses in consumer and commercial products. EPA is proposing under section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for use in vapor degreasing; to prohibit commercial use of TCE in vapor degreasing; to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors, except for retailers of TCE for any use, to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require limited recordkeeping. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/11/17

How The Thousands Of Cities With Dangerous Lead Levels Can Fix The Problem
The laws are on the books to make businesses fix the problem--we just need to enforce them. Source: Fast Company, 1/10/17

The expanding role of sustainability leadership
As the sustainability role moves into the wider business imperative, sustainability professionals have to understand the entire spectrum of the company's operations. It's no small task. Source: GreenBiz, 1/11/17

Obama in scientific journal: 'The trend toward clean energy is irreversible'
President Obama has long made a moral case for investing in clean energy technologies such as wind and solar, saying the United States and other countries must slash their emissions of greenhouse gases to stave off the worse effects of global warming.

But writing Monday in the journal Science, the president also makes an economic argument for a national policy that embraces renewable energy, rather than the renewed focus on fossil fuel production that his successor has promised Source: Washington Post, 1/9/17

Making a Case for Water as a Key Component in the Smart City
Water has yet to take a place in the roster of smart city regulars, but there's much that technology could do to improve water infrastructure. Source: FutureStructure, 1/10/17

Webinars on TSCA Title VI Final Rule Requirements
To support the Toxic Substances Control Act Title VI formaldehyde rule implementation, EPA is hosting several upcoming webinars that will cover the requirements of the TSCA Title VI final rule. There will be separate webinars specific to the different categories of regulated entities under the final rule and they will include a Q&A session with EPA staff. EPA will also host webinars for Accreditation Bodies and Third-Party Certifiers involved in the Third-Party Certification program on how to use Central Data Exchange platform to submit applications and reports to EPA. Source: Environmental News Bits, 1/11/17

NJ:Preventing the E-Waste Stream from Becoming a Flood
Gov. Chris Christie has signed a bill to overhaul the state's e-waste recycling program, a step advocates say will ensure the safe disposal of old televisions, computers, and other electronic equipment. The legislation (S-981) is designed to put the onus on electronic manufacturers to bear the cost and obligation of recycling e-waste, which includes in many cases toxic materials such as lead. By most accounts, New Jersey's e-waste recycling program was nearing collapse, with old electronic equipment piling up around the state, including in many public works' garages. A couple of years ago, the market for e-waste declined, causing many manufacturers to cut back on what they picked up from towns and counties while reducing what they paid recycling vendors. That left counties and towns, which collect the material, with no place to recycle the e-waste. "This law clarifies the manufacturers' obligation and gives the state Department of Environmental Protection new power to act should the product makers drop the ball," said Dominick D'Altilio, president of the Association of New Jersey Recyclers, which lobbied for the changes. Source: NJSpotlight, 1/10/17

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
EPA Gives $3.8M to Help 19 Communities Plan New Uses for Former Brownfield Sites
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected 19 communities for approximately $3.8 million in funding to assist with planning for cleanup and reuse of Brownfield sites as part of the Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (AWP) program. Each recipient will receive up to $200,000 to engage their community and conduct planning activities for brownfield site reuse. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/5/17

Energy Department Launches New Manufacturing USA Institute Focused on Recycling and Reusing Materials
As part of the Manufacturing USA initiative, today the Energy Department announced its new Reducing Embodied-energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute, which will be headquartered in Rochester, New York and led by the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance. REMADE will leverage up to $70 million in federal funding, subject to appropriations, and will be matched by $70 million in private cost-share commitments from over 100 partners. Source: U.S. DOE, 1/4/17

Granting Petitions To Add n-Propyl Bromide to the List of Hazardous Air Pollutants
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing a draft notice of the rationale for granting petitions to add n-propyl bromide (nPB), also known as 1-bromopropane (1-BP), (Chemical Abstract Service No. 106-94-5) to the list of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) contained in section 112(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The Halogenated Solvents Industry Alliance (HSIA) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) submitted petitions requesting that nPB be added to the list of HAP. In response to the EPA requests for additional data, HSIA subsequently supplemented its petition. Petitions to add a substance to the list of HAP are permitted under the CAA section 112(b)(3).

Based on the EPA's evaluation of the petitioners' showing concerning potential hazards, emissions, and atmospheric dispersion modeling that provided estimates of ambient concentrations of nPB, the EPA has determined that there is adequate evidence to support a determination that emissions and ambient concentrations of nPB may reasonably be anticipated to cause adverse health effects. Source: EPA, 1/9/17

Flint-Inspired Law Forces Faster Public Notice About Contaminated Water
Gov. Rick Snyder visited Flint Friday and signed legislation that will require Michigan communities to be notified much more quickly than Flint was about elevated lead levels in their drinking water. Source: Governing, 1/9/17

Falcons, Drones, Data: A Winery Battles Climate Change
Jackson Family Wines is among California winemakers employing both high-tech and old-school techniques to adapt to hotter, drier conditions. Source: New York Times, 1/5/17

Rain as a Resource: St. Paul Innovates Shared, Sustainable Stormwater Management
If you've ridden the Green Line in St. Paul lately, or this summer enjoyed a ball game at CHS Field in the Lowertown neighborhood, you experienced two new, innovative and complex infrastructure systems. The new systems use rain as a resource instead of letting rainfall and stormwater enter into area lakes and the Mississippi River, along with all of the pollutants that water collects. Source: MinnPost, 12/9/16

France bans pesticides in public green spaces
French children will soon be able to frolic in the grass without risk of intoxication. Pesticides will be banned in all public green spaces from Sunday while non-professional gardeners will no longer be able to buy pesticides over the counter. Source: Associated Press, 12/29/16

Tracking the Flint drinking water crisis
The city of Flint, Michigan, population 100,000, has been dealing with water problems since April 2014, when the state decided to switch its water source to the Flint River to save money.

Within months of the switch, pediatricians reported elevated levels of lead in their young patients. The city has since switched back to its former water source, but the damage was done -- and lead is still leaching from its aging pipes.

TriplePundit is tracking this story as it develops. Source: Triple Pundit, 1/8/17

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