News

EPA Increases Access to Chemical Information

Posted: October 7, 2014

Agency seeks input on improvements

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has posted additional data and added new functions to ChemView, EPA’s publicly-accessible, one-stop online tool to find information for chemicals regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

“In the absence of TSCA reform, EPA is moving ahead to improve access to chemical health and safety information, and increase the dialogue to help the public choose safer ingredients used in everyday products,” said James Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The additional data along with a customer satisfaction survey will make chemical information more readily available for decision-makers and consumers.”

The enhanced data functions include: improving the display and content for the Chemical Data Reporting information, adding a new link that displays the pollution prevention information generated as part of the Toxics Release Inventory program, and launching an administrative tool that will save EPA resources by streamlining the loading of future information. Read more


October 5-11 is Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week is a great time to promote best burn tips to help keep homes warm and healthier. It’s also a great opportunity to share the health and safety benefits of replacing an old wood stove with cleaner, more efficient home heating.

Approximately 10 million wood stoves are currently in use in the United States, and 65 percent of them are older, inefficient, conventional stoves. Just 20 old, non-EPA certified wood stoves can emit more than 1 ton of fine particle pollution (PM2.5) into your area during the cold months of the year.

Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contain a mixture of harmful gases and small particles. Breathing these small particles can cause asthma attacks and severe bronchitis, aggravate heart and lung disease, and may increase the likelihood of respiratory illnesses.

EPA Burn Wise offers the following tools to encourage best burn tips and to help improve the air and health of your community. To help reduce wood smoke in your area, share these tools with local media, partners and others to promote on social media, websites and newsletters.

Additional Health Resources and Tools: http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/kit.html

More Video and Radio PSAs: http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/psas.html

Contact Herrington.leigh@epa.gov to order free Burn Wise brochures and posters.

Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EPABurnWise

@epaburnwise on Twitter: https://twitter.com/epaburnwise


PPG Reaches New Milestone in Converting Shops to Waterborne

Posted: October 3, 2014
Source: Body Shop Business.com

PPG has now converted more than 10,000 collision centers in the U.S. and Canada to its waterborne systems, with the majority of these conversions taking place in National Rule areas rather than in low-VOC compliant regions. The announcement was made by PPG waterborne segment manager Tim Jones.

According to Jones, more than 10,000 collision centers in North America are now using PPG waterborne products, with more than 50 percent of these shops in National Rule markets. This means most PPG customers choose to use waterborne products and systems even though they are not required to do so to meet low-VOC regulations.

“Waterborne is not just a compliance solution anymore,” said Jones. “More than 10,000 PPG customers in the U.S. and Canada see the value in superior color matching, excellent throughput and performance, consistent color mixes and other key qualities that our waterborne products provide. PPG has a longstanding commitment to the collision repair industry to deliver high-quality and time-saving products. Envirobase High Performance and Aquabase Plus products are easier to blend and apply. Our customers appreciate this and see a real difference in their shops’ productivity.
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EPA Announces $183 Million to Improve Water Quality, Infrastructure in California

Posted: October 2, 2014

Agency highlights water conservation project in the city of Fresno, reducing water use by 25%

FRESNO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld announced more than $183 million in funding to invest in California for statewide improvements in local water infrastructure and the reduction of water pollution. Blumenfeld was joined by Fresno Public Utilities Director Thomas Esqueda, and other state and local officials for the announcement at an event highlighting $51 million in federal funding that was used to install water meters within the city of Fresno. The event was held at the home of Bruce and Amy Roberts, who participated in the water meter program.

“Water is the lifeblood of our communities and EPA is committed to working with our state and city partners to protect this precious resource,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Today’s funding will help create construction jobs, develop infrastructure and conserve resources as we deal with the challenge of climate change.”

The City of Fresno, through a zero percent interest loan from the state, used the $51 million in drinking water funding to purchase and install 73,152 water meters in residential homes in several neighborhoods. The meters help homeowners and the city easily identify how much water homes are using. The meters have an electronic device that helps the city obtain quicker and more accurate meter readings. Since the installation of the meters was completed this year, water usage in the city has decreased by 25 percent.
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EPA Releases Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data from Large Facilities

Posted: September 30, 2014
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its fourth year of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data, detailing greenhouse gas pollution trends and emissions broken down by industrial sector, geographic region and individual facilities. In 2013, reported emissions from large industrial facilities were 20 million metric tons higher than the prior year, or 0.6 percent, driven largely by an increase in coal use for power generation.

“Climate change, fueled by greenhouse gas pollution, is threatening our health, our economy, and our way of life—increasing our risks from intense extreme weather, air pollution, drought and disease,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “EPA is supporting the President’s Climate Action Plan by providing high-quality greenhouse gas data to inform effective climate action.”

The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program is the only program that collects facility-level greenhouse gas data from major industrial sources across the United States, including power plants, oil and gas production and refining, iron and steel mills and landfills. The program also collects data on the increasing production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) predominantly used in refrigeration and air conditioning.
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EPA to Help Carson City Develop Green Infrastructure, Improve Climate Resiliency

Release Date: 09/26/2014

Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, (415) 947-4149, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it will give technical assistance to help Carson City develop infrastructure that will contribute to greener, more vibrant neighborhoods and increase resiliency from the impacts of our changing climate.

Through its Greening America’s Capitals program, EPA will fund a team that will provide design assistance to Carson City for improvements along William Street, a former state highway that connects to downtown. The project will help the city explore how to incorporate green infrastructure through the use of native plants, and to enhance the neighborhood’s economic vitality.

“EPA is pleased to have this opportunity to work with Carson City as it pursues the vision of a more sustainable future,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This project will help
make Williams Street an economically thriving route into the heart of the city.”

“Carson City is proud to be a recipient of the EPA’s Greening America’s Capitals programs. As the state capital, Carson City is the face of Nevada both now and for years to come,” said Carson City Mayor Robert L. Crowell. “As such, it is important that we incorporate smart growth techniques into our development standards that promote an attractive business environment as well as desirable quality of life for millennials and retirees alike. This program will help us achieve that
goal.”

The portion of William Street slated for redevelopment is near the center of the City which connects several neighborhoods to commercial services and community facilities. It is one of the only east-west connections across the new freeway that bisects the city from north to south. As a former state highway, William Street is designed to accommodate cars, and current conditions along the corridor create an unsafe environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

Support from the EPA will help the City in tackling the design challenge of creating a multi-modal corridor, including bikes and pedestrians that enhances economic vitality. As part of the design process, the City and EPA will actively engage with the local community in the planning process to create a more connected and attractive environment to residents and visitors alike.

Since 2010, EPA has helped 18 capital cities and the District of Columbia create community designs that help clean the air and water, stimulate economic development, and make existing neighborhoods more vibrant places. The final designs provide models for other communities interested in adopting similar approaches that can improve the environment, strengthen local economies, and protect public health.

Four other capital cities were also selected this week:

  • Austin, Texas, will receive assistance to create design options to improve pedestrian and bike connections in the South Central Waterfront area, and to incorporate green infrastructure that reduces stormwater runoff and localized flooding, improves water quality, and increases shade.
  • Columbus, Ohio, will receive assistance to develop design options for the Milo-Grogan neighborhood that use green infrastructure to improve stormwater quality, reduce flooding risks, and encourage walking and cycling.
  • Pierre, S.D., will receive assistance to redesign its historic main street, South Pierre, in a way that uses green infrastructure to reduce stormwater runoff and improve resiliency to extreme climate conditions.
  • Richmond, Va., will receive assistance to design options for more parks and open spaces, and to incorporate green infrastructure to better manage stormwater runoff on Jefferson Avenue, a street which serves as the gateway to some of Richmond’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods.

The Greening America’s Capitals program aims to help communities consider ways to incorporate sustainable design strategies that yield multiple environmental, economic, and social benefits into their
planning and development. EPA implements this program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a program that helps communities
create more housing and transportation choices that result in better environmental outcomes for communities.

More information on Greening America’s Capitals:

http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/greencapitals.htm

View design options for past recipients: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usepagov/sets/72157647526563747

More information on green infrastructure: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/index.cfm


News Release: U.S. EPA proposes to eliminate mercury pollution from dentist offices nationwide

U.S. EPA NEWS

RELEASE DATE:   September 25, 2014

MEDIA CONTACT:  Suzanne Skadowski, 415-972-3165, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov

U.S. EPA proposes to eliminate mercury pollution from dentist offices nationwide

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a proposal to eliminate mercury pollution from dental offices nationwide. These new Clean Water Act standards would cut discharges of dental amalgam – a mixture of mercury and other metals that dentists use to fill cavities. Under this proposal, dentists must use devices to remove mercury and other toxic metals before they go down the drain.

“This proposed rule would cut mercury and toxic metal discharges to public wastewater systems by at least 8.8 tons a year nationwide,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Bay Area communities already require dentists to use amalgam capture devices and have seen their mercury pollution levels drop nearly 75 percent. Now the rest of California and the nation will see these same benefits.”

About half the mercury that enters public water treatment systems comes from dental offices that do not use amalgam separators. When mercury from amalgam is discharged into water bodies, it can be transformed into methylmercury, a highly toxic form of mercury that builds up in fish, shellfish and fish-eating animals. People can be harmed by methylmercury when they eat contaminated fish and shellfish. Methylmercury is a neurotoxin which impairs brain and nervous system development and function.

Many states and local wastewater districts have started mercury pollution control programs that require amalgam separators in dentist offices. Amalgam separators remove 90 to 95 percent of mercury and other metal waste. Under the San Francisco Bay Regional Watershed Mercury control program, virtually all Bay Area cities and public water systems have successful mandatory dental amalgam separator programs, but this is not the case in most other communities and states.

EPA estimates that up to 120,000 dental offices in the U.S. use or dispose of amalgam fillings that contain mercury.  Almost all of these offices discharge to sanitary sewers that flow to wastewater treatment plants.  While most offices use some practices to reduce amalgam discharges to the sewers, they are not nearly as effective as amalgam separators. Because 40 to 50 percent of dentists across the country already use amalgam separators thanks to state and local programs, the new rule may result in installation of separators in up to 60,000 dental offices nationwide.

EPA estimates put the total annual cost of the proposed rule at $44 to $49 million and a new streamlining proposal will cut state and local oversight costs by a similar amount. This action is one way the U.S. is meeting the goals of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, an international environmental agreement that addresses human activities contributing to widespread mercury pollution.

EPA will accept public comments on the proposal for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register and expects to finalize the rule in September 2015.

More information: http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/guide/dental/


EPA Proposes Standards to Reduce Mercury Discharges from Dental Offices

Posted: September 29, 2014

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed standards under the Clean Water Act to help cut discharges of dental amalgam to the environment. Amalgam is a mixture of mercury and other metals that dentists use to fill cavities. Mercury is discharged when dentists remove old fillings or remove excess amalgam when placing a new filling.

Studies show about half the mercury that enters Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) comes from dental offices. Mercury from amalgam can then make its way into the environment in a number of ways, including through discharge to water bodies. Contact with some microorganisms can help create methylmercury, a highly toxic form of mercury that builds up in fish, shellfish and fish-eating animals. Fish and shellfish are the main sources of human exposure to methylmercury.

In response, many states and localities have implemented amalgam discharge-cutting programs requiring amalgam separators and other Best Management Practices in dentist offices. The American Dental Association (ADA) also recommends separators and other Best Management Practices for amalgam.

EPA expects compliance with this proposed rule would cut metal discharge to POTWs, half of it from mercury, by at least 8.8 tons a year.
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MVP2 Award Presentation 2014

2014 MVP2 WinnersThe 2014 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention (MVP2) awards presented by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) celebrate the successes of innovators in the areas of pollution prevention and sustainability. The MVP2 awards are presented annually during National Pollution Prevention (P2) Week.

The 2014 MVP2 recipients represent a broad range of backgrounds including academia, industries, non- profits and individuals that have demonstrated significant accomplishments in pollution prevention. Together, these programs and projects reduced hazardous materials by 2.2 million pounds, non-hazardous materials by 919,000 pounds, water use by 86.5 million gallons, air emissions by 2 million pounds, and energy use by 5.8 million kWh, saving these companies a total of over $3 million according to NPPR. These prestigious awards were presented at a ceremony in Washington, DC on September 17, 2014.

Awards are presented in five categories.

Phyllis Strong with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency took home the award for P2 Champion.

Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Audree Miller, with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

This year’s winners for the Projects/Programs Award: Crown Equipment, Dassault Falcoln Jet, Eco Chemical, GM – Toledo, IBM Vermont, Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute, Madison Precision Products, Prince William County Fire & Rescue, PVI Industries, SABIC, Saint-Gobain Corporation, and Washing Systems.

Honorable Mentions went to Cintas Corporation, GOJO Industries, IBM Fishkill, Maryland Department of Environmental Protection, Phoenix Contact, Pratt & Whitney, and SABIC.

One of the award winners, General Motors’ Toledo transmission manufacturing facility, has committed to making pollution prevention and recycling a facility-wide priority. The plant’s effective energy conservation program was implemented as part of its “drive to zero” program. The program was recognized by the U.S. EPA for lowering greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 percent and subsequently avoiding nearly 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

GM Toledo hosts the largest rooftop solar array in the state of Ohio and uses landfill gas, which combined provide 19% of the facility’s energy use from renewable energy sources.  GM Toledo is also a landfill free facility, sending no waste from daily operations to landfill – all waste is reused, recycled or converted to energy.

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“Our reductions in carbon emissions from improved energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives at the Toledo facility are made possible through the ongoing collaborative work with local utilities, state and local environmental service organizations and other private businesses,” said Laura Bartling, GM’s Midwest environmental group manager. “They’ve demonstrated what can be achieved through a holistic and community-engaging approach at reducing our environmental footprint.”

This year marks the first year of the Fred Granek P2 Ambassador Award, in memory of Fred Granek of the Canadian Centre for Pollution Prevention. The Fred Granek P2 Ambassador Award was awarded to Bruce Taylor of Enviro-Stewards, Inc.

For more information on the MVP2 Awards and NPPR, visit www.p2.org


California and UC Berkeley win $335,000 in U.S. EPA grants to help students and businesses use green technology to design safer consumer products

Posted: September 22, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded more than $335,000 to the University of California Berkeley and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control for projects to help businesses and manufacturers reduce hazardous chemicals in consumer products and to train a new generation of engineers, chemists, and product designers to use green chemistry for safer products.

“UC Berkeley and DTSC are exploring innovative tools and technologies to make consumer products safer and more environmentally friendly,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “By promoting green chemistry during product design, companies can reduce costs, increase market opportunities and operate more sustainably.”

UC Berkeley’s Center for Green Chemistry received a $230,915 pollution prevention grant to create “Greener Solutions: an Interdisciplinary Safer Design Partnership,” providing student training in green chemistry and helping businesses reduce their use of hazardous chemicals. UC Berkeley will develop a for-credit course to teach 25 students per year in using green chemistry techniques to solve real-world business problems. Students will apply their green training to help five companies find ways to reduce hazardous chemicals and products in their supply chains. UC Berkeley will share innovations from these projects through training materials and pollution prevention case studies.
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