News

EPA Releases Final Risk Assessment on Trichloroethylene (TCE)

Posted: June 25, 2014
Source: EPA Headquarters
Agency begins process to address potential human health risks

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a final risk assessment for trichloroethylene (TCE). The assessment identified health risks from TCE exposures to consumers using spray aerosol degreasers and spray fixatives. It also identifies health risks to workers when TCE is used as a degreaser in small commercial shops and as a stain removing agent in dry cleaning.

“EPA calls on Congress to enact legislation that strengthens our current federal toxics law,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention. “Until that time, we are using the best available science to assess and address chemical risks of TCE that now show that it may harm human health and the environment.”

The final TCE risk assessment was developed as part of the agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan, which identified chemicals for review and assessment of potential risks to people’s health and the environment. EPA developed the draft TCE risk assessment based on the best available information and finalized the assessment after careful consideration of comments from the public and experts during an independent, scientific peer review of the assessment. TCE is the first chemical to complete the work plan risk assessment process under TSCA.

EPA is conducting a workshop from July 29-30, on potential TCE degreaser alternatives and risk reduction approaches. EPA will conduct other activities to address TCE uses as a stain removing agent in dry cleaning and as a clear protective spray fixative.

In the meantime, EPA recommends that people take precautions that can reduce exposures, such as using the product outside or in an extremely well-ventilated area and wearing protective equipment to reduce exposure.

Additional information on the TCE risk assessment, the July 29-30 public workshop, and TSCA workplan chemicals can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/riskassess.html>/a>

Consumer Fact Sheet on Trichloroethylene (TCE)


Vampires at home? Household items draining energy

Posted: June 20, 2014
Source: Fuel Fix.com by: R.A. Dyer

Experts at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory have analyzed the consumption of "standby" power by many common household items.

Not using that coffee maker? Turn it off and unplug it. The same goes for your computer and your fax machine.

Like vampires, household appliances quietly suck up electricity while you sleep and while you’re away at work. This is true even if you’ve completely shut down the item, but still have it plugged into a wall outlet. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California tells us that between 5 and 10 percent of all the electricity consumed by residential users comes from devices not in use.

The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power has analyzed data provided by the Berkeley Lab to get a sense as to how much these vampire devices are costing you. We’ve found that idled laser printers and similar multi-use devices may put you out $50 to $130 a year. Digital cable boxes also are big energy hogs.
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Battery Recycling Model Bill Proposed

Posted: June 20,2014
Source: Environmental Leader.com

Four of the nation’s battery interest groups – the Corporation for Battery Recycling, battery manufacturers from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, The Rechargeable Battery Association, and Call2Recycle – announced the creation of a model recycling bill for consumer batteries June 12 at the Product Stewardship Institute’s National Batteries Stewardship Dialogue Meeting in Hartford, Conn.

According to Call2Recycle, the bill is the first time the four groups have teamed up to take shared responsibility for the collection and recycling of all single-use and rechargeable batteries. The model bill only covers consumer batteries, such as those found in portable electronic equipment, home smoke alarms and remote devices. The organizations behind the model bill expect that it will be introduced in selected state legislatures in 2015.

The model bill comes after the nation’s first single-use battery recycling law was passed in Vermont last month.

Under the Vermont law, manufacturers or sellers of single-use household batteries in Vermont will be required to plan, implement, and manage a statewide battery collection program by 2016. The law is a type of extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation.

There is currently a voluntary collection program in place for rechargeable batteries in Vermont.

More than 10 million batteries are sold in Vermont each year, according to estimates from PSI. However, the Institute notes there are very few recycling programs available to consumers.

Scott Cassel, founder and CEO of PSI, praised the four interest groups for working together in the area of product stewardship, and made a point of saying that their work will have long-term benefits.


Finding a Narrative: ‘Sustainability’ Doesn’t Mean Anything Real to Consumers

Posted: June 19, 2014
Source: Triple Pundit (People, Plant, Profit).com by Raz Godelnik

Last week at the Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego, gDiapers CEO, Jason Graham-Nye said: “I think sustainability is like fight club. The first rule of fight club is don’t talk about fight club. The first rule of sustainability is the word is so dead.”

And he’s not alone. In one of the conference events, Raphael Bemporad – co-founder and chief strategy officer at BBMG and Tensie Whelan, president of Rainforest Alliance – presented a new report entitled The New Sustainably Narrative, which tries to address the following problem:

“Sustainability doesn’t mean anything real to consumers. Too often, it brings to mind technical issues or seemingly insurmountable environmental challenges.”

I guess this problem statement shouldn’t be surprising news to anyone involved in or following the many efforts to engage consumers in sustainability.  The issue it raises has long become the Achilles’ heel of the sustainability movement, making companies wonder what on earth can be done to get consumers on board.

So, what can be done to change the status quo when it comes to consumers with or without using the ‘S’ word?

Well, to answer this exact question a group of industry experts in consumer behavior met in a workshop hosted by the Rainforest Alliance. The group brainstormed “a new global narrative that taps into the consumer shift towards a broader and more meaningful set of values around mindful living and sustainability.” And the results of this effort can be found in The New Sustainably Narrative report, which was sponsored by Domtar and authored by BBMG.

The first part of the report includes some compelling information about consumer trends that was introduced by industry experts, including:

  • Consumers don’t connect sustainability to their own wellbeing or success (BuzzBack Market Research)
  • Consumers want brands to empower a meaningful life, and yet … Most people would not care if 73 percent of brands disappeared (Havas)
  • Brands must evolve to deliver on social and cultural benefits – caring for my wellbeing and the wellbeing of my family, for the wellbeing of my community and for the wellbeing of the planet (Coca-Cola).

When you look at these findings in the context of narrative then it becomes quite clear that the challenge is to translate sustainability into concepts people understand and find compelling — wellbeing, betterment, purpose and so on.
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Shop Your Values: What Does ‘Sustainable’ Really Mean?

Posted: June 19, 2014
Source: Triple Pundit (People, Planet, Profit).com by

3P_header_Setting_the_Standard
How do you measure sustainability? Most of us would have two to four quick answers: Energy usage, quality of materials, longevity or carbon footprint.

Now, how exactly do you quantify that? In other words, how do customers figure out if a clothes dryer is going to use an affordable amount of energy and be worth the purchase? How do they know if that lotion or conditioner they bought is really made of ingredients that are not only healthy but okay for the environment once rinsed down the drain?  What if they need construction materials that are mold resistant and won’t create allergens or decompose from humid weather?

The answer, says Scot Case, director of Market Development for UL Environment, is the same approach we have, for years, relied on to ensure that toaster in the kitchen is safe to use, or the inspection that was used when your office was wired for lighting: validation and certification that sets thresholds and manufacturing standards.

“So if someone wants to make recycled content claim,” says Case, “[UL Environment] can validate that claim. If they want to make an energy efficiency claim, or a biodegradability claim, or a compostability claim, we can validate those specific environmental claims [as well].”
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OEMs to Offer Educational Sessions and Training at NACE/CARS 2014

Posted: June 18, 2014
Source: Body Shop Business.com

Auto manufacturers are showing their support of the collision repair and mechanical service industries by promising a larger presence at NACE/CARS 2014.

Companies who have pledged their support include Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Chrysler and Audi, who will appear alongside other large-scale companies such as Alcoa and 3M. The manufacturers’ presence includes conducting several classes at NACE, all of which will take place at the COBO Center in Detroit.

“For example, Ford’s recent announcement of its using military-grade aluminum alloy in the construction of the 2015 F-150 is causing the entire industry to take notice and seek information and training,” said Dan Risley, president and executive director of the Automotive Service Association, which sponsors NACE and CARS. “This year’s event is focused on ensuring that repairers have access to the information, tooling, training and equipment they need to repair today’s vehicle as well as those in the future. Repairers need to know the differences between repairing aluminum and steel.”
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Trim Your Compressed Air "Waste" line, One Pound at a Time

Posted: June 12, 2014
Source: Body Shop Business.com

Kaeser Compressors Inc. has published a new blog entry to company blog Kaeser Talks Shop: www.kaesertalksshop.com.

Authored by System Design and Engineering Manager Neil Mehltretter, the blog entry explains what artificial demand in compressed air systems is and gives a quick, easy and free way to help reduce it.

“While plants may take a look at the leaks in their compressed air system, they usually ignore artificial demand,” says Mehltretter. “Since artificial demand can account for 10 to 15 percent of the air in your system, this is an overlooked area of savings potential.”

For more technical resources for the compressed air industry, Kaeser’s blog features articles such as:

  • Consider All the Costs of Compressed Air
  • Receiver Tanks for Small Compressed Air Systems
  • Piston Versus Rotary Screw Compressors
  • CAGI Data Sheets: An Apples to Apples Comparison

More information:

Kaeser Compressors


EPA Identifies Safer Substitutes for Toxic Flame Retardants

Posted: June 12, 2014

Identified chemicals are persistent, accumulate in the environment and have reproductive, developmental, and neurological toxicity

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing safer alternatives to the flame retardants now used in consumer and commercial products, including building insulation and products with flexible polyurethane foam.

“EPA’s findings for safer alternatives is great news for consumers and industry,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We will now have safer alternatives for use in our products from furniture to car seats to building insulation.”

Flame retardant chemicals such as hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and pentabromodiphenyl ether (pentaBDE) raise concerns for human health and the environment including potential reproductive, developmental, and neurological effects and can be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to aquatic organisms.

EPA is releasing the final report on alternatives to the flame retardant HBCD and releasing an updated draft report on alternatives to the flame retardant pentaBDE. These alternatives were identified through EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) Alternatives Assessment Program.
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EPA Requires Ford to Correct Fuel Economy for Six Vehicle Models

Posted: June 12, 2014

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that Ford Motor Company (Ford) is revising the fuel economy (mpg) estimates for six vehicle models to correct errors found in an internal Ford audit. Ford is required to correct fuel economy labels on affected vehicles within 15 days.

EPA oversaw Ford’s re-testing program and conducted independent tests to confirm the corrected results as soon as it was notified by Ford of the potential errors. Ford has agreed to implement enhanced validation tests for future vehicles under EPA oversight.

“This issue highlights the need for continued strong oversight of the fuel economy labeling program,” said Chris Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “Consumers need to trust that fuel economy window stickers are giving consumers reliable and fair estimates of real world fuel economy.”

Cars currently in dealer lots will be re-labeled with new window stickers reflecting the corrected mileage estimates. Ford will re-label four versions of the Ford Fiesta, the Hybrid and Energi versions of the Ford Fusion, the C-Max Hybrid and Energi, and the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.  Most labels will change between 1-5 miles per gallon (mpg). The largest change is for the Lincoln MKZ hybrid whose combined city and highway fuel economy value has been reduced by 7 mpg. EPA and DOE have updated their joint fuel economy site, www.fueleconomy.gov, to reflect the corrected numbers.
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