News

EPA Moves to Ban Certain Aerosol Degreasers and Dry Cleaning Spot Removers as the First Major Regulatory Action Under Chemical Reform Law

December 7, 2016

WASHINGTON–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.

“For the first time in a generation, we are able to restrict chemicals already in commerce that pose risks to public health and the environment,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Once finalized, today’s action will help protect consumers and workers from cancer and other serious health risks when they are exposed to aerosol degreasing, and when dry cleaners use spotting agents.  I am confident that the new authority Congress has given us is exactly what we need to finally address these important issues.”

EPA identified serious risks to workers and consumers associated with TCE uses in a 2014 assessment that concluded that the chemical can cause a range of adverse health effects, including cancer, development and neurotoxicological effects, and toxicity to the liver.

Specifically, EPA is proposing to prohibit manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for use in aerosol degreasing and for use in spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities.  EPA is also proposing to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors to notify retailers and others in their supply chains of the prohibitions.

EPA’s assessment also found risks associated with TCE use in vapor degreasing, and the agency is developing a separate proposed regulatory action to address those risks. Last week, EPA announced the inclusion of TCE on the list of the first ten chemicals to be evaluated for risk under TSCA. That action will allow EPA will evaluate the other remaining uses of the chemical. Today’s action only proposes to ban certain uses of the chemical.

Comments on the proposed rule must be received 60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register Once published, the proposed rule and supporting documents will be available in the Federal Register docket at: https://www.regulations.gov/[regulations.gov] by searching for HQ-OPPT-2016-0163.

Learn more: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/trichloroethylene-tce[epa.gov]

Learn more about last week’s announcement about the first ten chemicals to be evaluated under TSCA: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/evaluating-risk-existing-chemicals-under-tsca[epa.gov]


EPA Announces $1.3 Million to Small Businesses to Support the Nation’s Green Economy

December 6, 2016 EPA Announces $1.3 Million to Small Businesses to Support the Nation’s Green Economy This year’s projects focus on cookstoves, manufacturing, toxic chemicals, water, and building materials WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $1.3 million to 13 small businesses nationwide to develop and commercialize technologies to help solve current environmental issues. “The 13 businesses we are funding today are producing innovative and creative solutions for our country’s environmental problems,” said Thomas Burke, EPA science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “Small businesses play an integral role in creating technologies that will help ensure a sustainable future for our country. Each of the 13 companies will receive a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contract for up to $100,000 to develop their green technology. If Phase I is successful, companies will be eligible to apply for a Phase II contract of up to $300,000 to develop and commercialize their technology for the marketplace. The following companies are receiving a Phase I SBIR contract:

  • Prometheus SenTech, LLC, Cincinnati, Ohio, to create a sensor to monitor organic compounds in the indoor environment.
  • ASAT, Inc., Cottage Grove, Ore., to develop a cookstove that will heat homes and cook food while also lighting the kitchen and charging cell phones.
  • Babington Technology, Rocky Mount N.C., to improve current cookstove combustion technology to reduce electrical power consumption and lower cost.
  • Hi-Z Technology, Inc., San Diego, Calif., to introduce a power stove that will save trees, reduce cooking fire particulates and reduce premature deaths caused by indoor air pollution.
  • Renuvix, LLC, North Fargo, N. D., to create a resin technology that will be free of toxic components and will improve the current process of creating polyurethane coatings.
  • Faraday Technology, Inc., Englewood, Ohio, to develop an improved nutrient extraction technology that will be used to treat agricultural nutrients in wastewater.
  • Microvi Biotech, Inc., Hayward, Calif. to develop a cost-effective solution for treatment of nutrients in wastewater and recovering the nutrients as a valuable bioproduct.
  • NanoSonic, Inc., Pembroke, Va., to make an ultra-thin membrane used to recover phosphorus and other nutrients in wastewater.
  • XploSafe, LLC, Stillwater, Okla. to recover excess nutrients in wastewater using sorbent pellets that can release the nutrients back into the soil.
  • Professional Analytical & Consulting Services, Inc., Coraopolis, Pa., to repurpose plastic and automotive waste to produce electrically conducive plastic.
  • Revolution Research, Inc., Orono, Maine to design the manufacturing process for a bio-based, “green” ceiling tile that is durable, non-hazardous and compostable, with higher insulation properties.
  • TIAX, LLC, Lexington, Mass. to develop a technology that will decontaminate biological material in railway and subway cars with reduced manpower while protecting workers from exposure.
  • Zeteo Tech, LLC., Ellicott City, Md., to create a technology that will safely and rapidly decontaminate biological agents in railroad and subway cars that could also be used for reducing odor and allergy causing molds.

More information about the EPA SBIR Program: www.epa.gov/sbir[epa.gov] More information about the SBIR Program across the Federal Government: www.sbir.gov/[sbir.gov]


EPA Names First Chemicals for Review Under New TSCA Legislation

November 29, 2016

EPA Names First Chemicals for Review Under New TSCA Legislation

Agency answers call to move forward on chemical reform, naming asbestos among first to undergo risk evaluation

WASHINGTON – Today, EPA is announcing the first ten chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health and the environment under TSCA reform.

“Under the new law, we now have the power to require safety reviews of all chemicals in the marketplace.” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator of the of Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We can ensure the public that we will deliver on the promise to better protect public health and the environment.”

The first ten chemicals to be evaluated are:

  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • 1-Bromopropane
  • Asbestos
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster
  • Methylene Chloride
  • N-methylpyrrolidone
  • Pigment Violet 29
  • Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene
  • Trichloroethylene

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.

When the list is published in the Federal Register it will trigger a statutory deadline to complete risk evaluations for these chemicals within three years.  This evaluation will determine whether the chemicals present an unreasonable risk to humans and the environment. If it is determined that a chemical presents an unreasonable risk, EPA must mitigate that risk within two years.

Under the newly amended law, EPA must release a scoping document within six months for each chemical. This will include the hazard(s), exposure(s), conditions of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation(s) the agency plans to consider for the evaluation.

Additional chemicals will be designated for evaluation, and all of the remaining Work Plan chemicals will be reviewed for their potential hazard and exposure. For each risk evaluation that EPA completes, TSCA requires that EPA begin another. By the end of 2019, EPA must have at least 20 chemical risk valuations ongoing at any given time.

For more on the chemicals listed and additional information: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/evaluating-risk-existing-chemicals-under-tsca[epa.gov]


EPA Names First Chemicals for Review Under New TSCA Legislation

November 29, 2016

EPA Names First Chemicals for Review Under New TSCA Legislation

Agency answers call to move forward on chemical reform, naming asbestos among first to undergo risk evaluation

WASHINGTON – Today, EPA is announcing the first ten chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health and the environment under TSCA reform.

“Under the new law, we now have the power to require safety reviews of all chemicals in the marketplace.” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator of the of Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We can ensure the public that we will deliver on the promise to better protect public health and the environment.”

The first ten chemicals to be evaluated are:

  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • 1-Bromopropane
  • Asbestos
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster
  • Methylene Chloride
  • N-methylpyrrolidone
  • Pigment Violet 29
  • Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene
  • Trichloroethylene

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.

When the list is published in the Federal Register it will trigger a statutory deadline to complete risk evaluations for these chemicals within three years.  This evaluation will determine whether the chemicals present an unreasonable risk to humans and the environment. If it is determined that a chemical presents an unreasonable risk, EPA must mitigate that risk within two years.

Under the newly amended law, EPA must release a scoping document within six months for each chemical. This will include the hazard(s), exposure(s), conditions of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation(s) the agency plans to consider for the evaluation.

Additional chemicals will be designated for evaluation, and all of the remaining Work Plan chemicals will be reviewed for their potential hazard and exposure. For each risk evaluation that EPA completes, TSCA requires that EPA begin another. By the end of 2019, EPA must have at least 20 chemical risk valuations ongoing at any given time.

For more on the chemicals listed and additional information: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/evaluating-risk-existing-chemicals-under-tsca[epa.gov]


EPA News

On 10th Anniversary, EPA Honors WaterSense 2016 Partners of the Year

WASHINGTON, DC — Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is honoring 20 businesses, municipalities, utilities, and organizations for their commitment to protecting the environment through water efficiency. EPA’s WaterSense partners have helped Americans save more than 1.5 trillion gallons of water and $32.6 billion in water and energy bills since the program began in 2006.

“Over the past decade, EPA’s WaterSense partners have made WaterSense more than just a label.  It’s become a way of life,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Our changing climate impacts water quality and supplies.  And we need to ensure that more Americans are saving water now so that we can protect this precious resource for future generations.”

The winners were chosen from nearly 1,700 WaterSense partners, including utilities, local governments, manufacturers, retailers, distributors, builders, and other organizations who have partnered with EPA to produce and promote water-efficient products, programs, and homes.

2016 Sustained Excellence Award Winners

Delta Faucet Company (Indiana), a two-time Sustained Excellence winner, spread the word about the performance of WaterSense labeled showerheads by featuring them at outdoor showering stations that helped clean more than 34,000 muddy runners at Warrior Dash races across the country as part of its HappiMess campaign. The company’s Brizo brand donated WaterSense labeled products to more than 30 homes as part of a charity giveaway supporting pediatric cancer research.

Kohler Co. (Wisconsin) earned its fourth Sustained Excellence Award by, in part, cosponsoring the Change the Course campaign to encourage consumers to pledge to reduce water use. Additionally, Kohler’s mobile showering stations with WaterSense labeled showerheads, toilets, and faucets reached more than 2,000 San Francisco residents in need, while 100,000 Bonnaroo music festival attendees in Tennessee used similar showering stations.

The Home Depot (Georgia) is a two-time Sustained Excellence winner; all the toilets and bathroom faucets sold in its stores are WaterSense labeled. The company worked last year to ensure that all the showerheads it sells in its stores were WaterSense labeled by September 2016. To drive sales of WaterSense labeled products, the company promoted rebates and more than $43.8 million in product incentives in 2015.

KB Home (California), which received its second consecutive Sustained Excellence Award, constructed 233 WaterSense labeled homes in 2015, an increase of 142 percent compared to its labeled homes constructed in 2014. The company introduced four KB Home communities in California in which all homes will be built to meet the WaterSense specification.

2016 Partners of the Year

Promotional Partner of the Year: Athens-Clarke County (Georgia) Public Utilities Department’s Water Conservation Office expanded its Certified Blue restaurant program to include 33 new local businesses and distributed “We’re for Water” activity sheets for kids to complete while waiting for meals. Its Little Lily Pad Hop school outreach project taught students how to conserve water, and its sixth annual Athens Water Festival included a scavenger hunt for the WaterSense logo.

Promotional Partner of the Year: Citrus County (Florida) Utilities’ We’re for Water Classroom Challenge taught 400 third through fifth grade students how to find and fix leaks and save water at home. The utility also celebrated Fix a Leak Week with three adult activities: Schedule a Specialist, Facilities Checkup, and a Water Conservation Expo.

Promotional Partner of the Year: The City of Charlottesville (Virginia) promoted WaterSense labeled products during its Love Your Landscape contest during Sprinkler Spruce-Up 2015. For Fix a Leak Week, the city provided off-campus University of Virginia students with leak-detection tablets and held its annual five-kilometer race. A Blue Team of middle and high school students distributed 600 water conservation kits to utility customers.

Promotional Partner of the Year: Cobb County (Georgia) Water System, a five-time Partner of the Year Award winner, and its new mascot Tappy the Turtle promoted all WaterSense campaigns in 2015. For Fix a Leak Week, the utility supported the Water Drop Dash 5k and Water Festival, and for Sprinkler Spruce-Up it sponsored an “Ask an Expert” traveling display.

Promotional Partner of the Year: Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District launched the Great Plumbing Fixture Giveaway, where a local nonprofit selected through social media earned $1,000 in free WaterSense labeled fixtures. The district sponsored its annual Water Drop Dash 5k and Water Festival for Fix a Leak Week 2015 with more than 500 runners and provided WaterSense activity sheets for kids.

Licensed Certification Provider Partner of the Year: Energy Inspectors Corporation (Nevada) certified 233 homes for KB Home to meet the WaterSense labeled homes specification, more than double the number of homes it certified in 2014. As of the end of 2015, the company has trained a dozen inspectors to perform WaterSense specification inspections.

Professional Certifying Organization Partner of the Year: The Sonoma-Marin (California) Saving Water Partnership continued to expand the reach of its WaterSense labeled Qualified Water Efficient Landscape (QWEL) certification program. In 2015, the partnership worked with six new organizations to adopt the QWEL program and helped more than 65 irrigation professionals earn certification.

Nine additional WaterSense partners received Excellence Awards to recognize their support for a specific aspect of the program in 2015:

  • Cascade Water Alliance (Washington) and High Sierra Showerheads (California) for Excellence in Strategic Collaboration
  • City of Durham (North Carolina) Water Management and Sonoma-Marin (California) Saving Water Partnership for Excellence in Promoting WaterSense Labeled Products.
  • City of Carmel (Indiana) Utilities, City of Fort Worth (Texas), Regional Water Authority (Sacramento, California), and the Toro Company (Minnesota) for Excellence in Education and Outreach.
  • American Standard (New Jersey) for Excellence in Innovation and Research.

Since 2006, EPA’s WaterSense program has worked to protect the future of the nation’s water supply by offering Americans a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services. WaterSense labeled products, which are independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water and perform as well or better than standard models, have been on the market since 2007, when toilets first earned the label. Since then, the number of labeled models has grown to more than 16,000, including products used in residential and commercial bathrooms, commercial kitchens, and outdoor irrigation. EPA’s WaterSense program certifies homes with WaterSense labeled fixtures and features. To date more than 700 homes have earned the WaterSense label.

Learn more about the 2016 WaterSense Award winners at www.epa.gov/watersense


EPA Moves Swiftly to Carry Out New Chemical Reform Legislation

EPA News
September 1, 2016

EPA Moves Swiftly to Carry Out New Chemical Reform Legislation
Agency tackles new legislative mandates set forth in first major update to environmental statute in 20 years

WASHINGTON— U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to ensure that the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, signed this June 22, 2016, delivers on the promise of better protecting the environment and public health. This bipartisan bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) outlines a number of responsibilities for EPA that must be completed within a tight timeframe.

The milestones accomplished by the agency include:

•A plan released on June 29, 2016, that outlines activities for the first year of implementing the new law;
•The first determinations completed on seven premanufacture notices under TSCA in July, 2016. The new law requires the agency to make affirmative determinations on new chemical substances before they can enter the marketplace. Additional determinations will be released as they are completed;
•A series of public meetings held from August 9-12, 2016, to obtain comments and feedback from stakeholders on the processes that will be used to establish fees and prioritize and evaluate chemicals under the new law;
•A list of five mercury compounds released on August 26, 2016, that will be prohibited from export as of January 1, 2020. This action will prevent the ability to convert these compounds to elemental mercury after export from the United States.

Additionally, the agency is establishing the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) to provide independent advice and expert consultation on scientific and technical aspects on risk evaluations, methodologies, and pollution prevention measures or approaches. The call for nominations to serve on this committee was issued on August 26, 2016.

The new amendments to TSCA will help bring significant improvements to public health as EPA continues to take the steps necessary for its successful implementation.

More about the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act and EPA’s implementation activities and to sign up for updates, visit: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/frank-r-lautenberg-chemical-safety-21st-century-act[epa.gov]


U.S. EPA Honors Two Southern California Firms with Green Chemistry Award

June 13, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Verdezyne located in Carlsbad and Newlight Technologies in Costa Mesa, Calif., with the Presidential Green Chemistry Award for turning climate risk and other environmental problems into business opportunities. The companies are among five organizations nationwide honored for developing safer chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances. “Every year, companies develop innovative green chemistry technologies that will result in safer chemical use where we work and live,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA congratulates Verdezyne and Newlight Technologies for creating sustainable solutions which spur innovation and economic development in Southern California.”

The 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards were presented today at a ceremony in Portland, Oregon. The event was held in conjunction with the 20th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference. The California winners and their innovative technologies are:

  • Verdezyne, Inc., an industrial biotechnology company that produces renewable organic chemicals, is being recognized for developing a yeast that produces dodecanedioic acid, a chemical used to make high performance nylons for paintbrushes, hairbrushes, and toothbrushes, as well as adhesives, coatings, fragrances, and automotive and aviation oils. In addition to using a plant-based feedstock and having lower greenhouse gas emissions, this process is also safer because it does not use high temperatures or concentrated nitric acid. The product has earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture Certified Biobased label, which assures consumers that the federal government stands behind the accuracy of the percent biobased claim stated on the label.
  • Newlight Technologies, LLC, is being recognized for developing a carbon capture technology that combines air with methane emissions to produce a plastic material called AirCarbon. This new material is now used to make bags, cell phone cases, containers, and furniture, among other products. AirCarbon plastic is net carbon negative, is cheaper than traditional petroleum-based plastic products, and has equal or greater performance. The company has contracts in place in 2015 for almost 30 billion pounds of product and a 50 million pounds per year expansion plant already sold out. The product has been adopted by Dell, Hewlett Packard, KI, Sprint, Virgin, the Body Shop and other firms. Read more

U.S. EPA Recognizes Four California Organizations as 2016 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Award Winners

May 9, 2016

U.S. EPA Recognizes Four California Organizations as 2016 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Award Winners

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is presenting Levi Strauss & Co., The Ashkin Group, Albertsons Companies (including their Northern California Safeway stores), and Clorox with Safer Choice Partner of the Year awards. They are among 24 winners across 12 states, the District of Columbia and Canada being recognized for outstanding achievement in the design, manufacture, promotion and use of a range of cleaning and other household products that carry EPA’s Safer Choice label.

“Everyone wants products with ingredients that are safer for their kids, pets, communities and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Using technology and innovation to turn challenges into profitable opportunities makes our businesses stronger and more competitive, our families and workers healthier, and our environment cleaner.”

EPA developed the new Safer Choice labels to make it easier for consumers and businesses to choose items that meet EPA’s safer product standards. In addition to meeting stringent safety criteria, every product with the Safer Choice label has met high standards for performance. Safer Choice currently has around 500 formulator-manufacturer partners who make more than 2,000 products for retail and institutional customers. Read more


2016 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Awards Open for Nominations

April 22, 2016

The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable is accepting nominees for the 2016 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention (MVP2) Awards. The MVP2 awards are presented annually during National Pollution Prevention Week.  National Pollution Prevention week is the third week of September, September 19th – 26th, 2016.

Awards are presented in seven categories, Project/Program, Best Multimedia, Champion, Ambassador, Volunteer, Educator and Student of the Year.

The MVP2 Project/Program, P2 Champion, and Best P2 Multimedia are open to all levels of government, industry, small business, non-profit, and academia.

The awards are designed to recognize outstanding and innovative P2 projects/programs. As in years past, awards are judged on the following five broad criteria: innovation, measurable results, transferability, commitment, and optimization of available project resources.

The deadline for applications is July 15, 2016.

Information on past recipients and this year’s application are available at www.p2.org.


2016 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Awards Open for Nominations

April 22, 2016

The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable is accepting nominees for the 2016 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention (MVP2) Awards. The MVP2 awards are presented annually during National Pollution Prevention Week.  National Pollution Prevention week is the third week of September, September 19th – 26th, 2016.

Awards are presented in seven categories, Project/Program, Best Multimedia, Champion, Ambassador, Volunteer, Educator and Student of the Year.

The MVP2 Project/Program, P2 Champion, and Best P2 Multimedia are open to all levels of government, industry, small business, non-profit, and academia.

The awards are designed to recognize outstanding and innovative P2 projects/programs. As in years past, awards are judged on the following five broad criteria: innovation, measurable results, transferability, commitment, and optimization of available project resources.

The deadline for applications is July 15, 2016.

Information on past recipients and this year’s application are available at www.p2.org.