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EPA Proposes Rules to Protect Americans from Exposure to Formaldehyde

May 29, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed two rules to help protect Americans from exposure to the harmful chemical formaldehyde, consistent with a Federal law unanimously passed by Congress in 2010. These rules ensure that composite wood products produced domestically or imported into the United States meet the formaldehyde emission standards established by Congress.

Formaldehyde is used in adhesives to make a wide range of building materials and products. Exposure to formaldehyde can cause adverse public health effects including eye, nose and throat irritation, other respiratory symptoms and, in certain cases, cancer.

“The proposed regulations announced today reflect EPA’s continued efforts to protect the public from exposure to harmful chemicals in their daily lives,” said James J. Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Once final, the rules will reduce the public’s exposure to this harmful chemical found in many products in our homes and workplaces.”

In 2010, Congress passed the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, or Title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which establishes emission standards for formaldehyde from composite wood products and directs EPA to propose rules to enforce the act’s provisions. EPA’s proposed rules align, where practical, with the requirements for composite wood products set by the California Air Resources Board, putting in place national standards for companies that manufacture or import these products. EPA’s national rules will also encourage an ongoing industry trend towards switching to no-added formaldehyde resins in composite wood products.

EPA’s first proposal limits how much formaldehyde may be emitted from hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard and finished goods, that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured, or imported in the United States. The emitted formaldehyde may be left over from the resin or composite wood making process or be released when the resin degrades in the presence of heat and humidity. This proposal also includes testing requirements, laminated product provisions, product labeling requirements, chain of custody documentation, recordkeeping, a stockpiling prohibition, and enforcement provisions. It also includes a common-sense exemption from some testing and record-keeping requirements for products made with no-added formaldehyde resins.

The second proposal establishes a third-party certification framework designed to ensure that manufacturers of composite wood products meet the TSCA formaldehyde emission standards by having their composite wood products certified though an accredited third-party certifier. It would also establish eligibility requirements and responsibilities for third-party certifier’s and the EPA-recognized accreditation bodies who would accredit them. This robust proposed third-party certification program will level the playing field by ensuring composite wood products sold in this country meet the emission standards in the rule regardless of whether they were made in the United States or not.

More on Formaldehyde Proposals: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/chemtest/formaldehyde/index.html

More on EPA’s TSCA Work Plan chemical effort: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/workplans.html

CONTACT:
Molly Hooven
Hooven.molly@epa.gov
202-564-2313
202-564-4355

Creating an Energy Management System Webinar

May 17, 2013

Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Time: 3 ET

Find out how to transform the way your organization manages their energy costs with this free one hour webinar.

Steve O’Brien, PE, CEM, a consulting engineer with Basic American Foods, will describe how his company’s energy conservation journey over the last 35 plus years. He will focus the discussion on how BAF has evolved from a company that focused on project execution to a company with an energy management system.

HOW TO CONNECT
Go to: https://securemeeting.centurylinkccc.com/w/pub/entry?hcid=1179877&loc…

Many people have security systems in place that hold back webinars. First time CenturyLink CCC user? Run system test: http://stateoftexas.qwestccc.com/utilities/fullbrowsertest.aspxwww.google.com=”">

AUDIO ACCESS
When you log in to the link above the system will give you the option to take a call. Please use this option because it helps us keep track of who attends these webinars. However, if you are unable to use the web based system you can get audio only at: 1-877-820-7831 Passcode is: 591210.

SPEAKER:
Steve O’Brien, PE, CEM
Steve has been addressing industrial energy issues for various companies since 1975. He currently works as a consulting engineer for Basic American Foods. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Wyoming and a Certified Energy Manager. He has managed many energy conservation project to reduce energy consumption. He also lead the effort establish sub-metering and energy use targets all of BAFs plant. His current efforts are to push energy control down to the floor level via lean principles. In his spare time Steve enjoys bicycling and travel with his wife Sharon.

ABOUT THE LEAN AND ENVIRONMENT WORKGROUP
The Lean and Environment Work Group is a workgroup from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable meets on the third Tuesday of every month.

For more information including:
- Copies of past presentations
- Announcements and updates
- contact information

See: https://sites.google.com/site/leangreenworkgroup/
Hugh O’Neill, Chair
Paula Del Giudice, Board Liaison, and group co-facilitator
Thomas Vinson, work group co-facilitator

TRI P2 Tool and Tipsheet

May 16, 2013

EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program would like to make you aware of a new pollution prevention search tool and ask for your help in sharing a TRI P2 Tip-sheet with any TRI reporting facilities you may work with. Note that all resources described below can be found at www.epa.gov/tri/p2.

TRI Pollution Prevention Search

TRI recently launched a new web tool to highlight reported P2 practices that reduce the use and environmental impact of toxic chemicals. This TRI Pollution Prevention Search displays TRI information collected under the Pollution Prevention Act in an integrated, easy-to-use fashion. The key strength of this tool is that it combines standardized, quantitative environmental metrics with qualitative information on the organizations and activities that have demonstrated environmental improvements (as described in the TRI P2 Fact Sheet).

P2 Reporting Tipsheet

If you’ve worked with one of the 20,000+ facilities that meet the TRI reporting criteria and helped them to reduce their toxic chemical pollution, then the optional P2 section of their TRI report is an opportunity to share these efforts! We encourage you to share the P2 Reporting Tipsheet with relevant facilities in advance of the July 1st TRI reporting deadline, along with any details you suggest including on their TRI report. If you wish you may include details about what was accomplished and who provided assistance in the writeable “notes” section on the front of the tip sheet.

Reporting this information through TRI is win-win-win for the facility, the TAP, and the public, as it publicly highlights organizations and companies who promote and implement P2 while also enabling EPA data users to learn about effective P2 practices and available resources. For more information, feel free to contact Daniel Teitelbaum of the TRI Program at Teitelbaum.daniel@epa.gov.

P2Press: April 2013

May 2, 2013

P2Press April 2013

State Chemicals Policy: Trends and Profiles

April 22, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013
For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON D.C. – A new report issued on by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) reveals significant state actions to address toxic chemical pollution. According to the research, over 77 individual chemical restriction bills have been passed by states in recent years, including 31 bills related specifically to mercury. The new report, “State Chemicals Policy: Trends and Profiles” reveals that almost all 50 states have either proposed or enacted legislation aimed to regulate chemicals. In 2013 alone, more than 26 states had bills introduced that are under consideration by state legislatures.

“Toxic chemical pollution is a growing and costly problem for our state,” said Ted Sturdevant, legislative and policy director for Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. “The costs of cleaning up from chemical pollution puts a drag on our economy and threatens public health. As the report shows, states are listening to citizens and taking actions on toxic threats.”

The report includes key trends and themes underway in the states, including six state toxic policy profiles. Some examples of recent trends include:

In late 2012, manufacturers were required to report the presence of certain toxic chemicals in children’s products to both Maine and Washington. In Washington State, a new publicly available data base of the reported chemicals is available to identify chemicals of concern in children’s products.

California adopted legislation to implement the nation’s most ambitious state-level program to monitor toxics levels over time in the human population. California has also issued draft regulations to address toxics in consumer products.

Oregon issued its toxics reduction strategy that is centered on a list of priority chemicals and a set of actions to reduce their presence in the environment and affects on human health.

Wisconsin passed legislation in 2012 that requires a publicly-available list of batteries that have been certified as containing low levels of mercury.

“Some consider state actions as a patchwork or piecemeal approach to chemical regulation. But in the absence of comprehensive and effective action at the federal level, we are seeing increasing states action,” said Ken Zarker, Chair of the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.

“Ultimately, we realize that many states don’t have the resources to adequately deal with essentially the need for a national solution. This report can help states build on successful approaches taken by others, to learn from that experience. This report is aimed at facilitating that sharing. It will also help build consistency across the states, reducing the patchwork.

The report highlights key themes in state chemicals policy.
• States are transitioning from single-chemical solutions to more comprehensive approaches.
• States are focused on addressing state and regional needs to protect public health, especially children and pregnant women.
• States are embracing green purchasing policies for less toxic products.
• Even as many states move to comprehensive, risk-based systems for chemical management, restrictions on certain hazardous chemicals remains an important policy tool.
• States are embracing product lifecycle management solutions to prevent toxics release, rather than relying exclusively on end-of-pipe cleanup.
• States recognize the need for more information on toxics, including which chemicals are present in which products, which chemicals are present in human tissue, and exposure levels.

The report contains a recent history of state action on toxics, a summary table of legislative actions, key trends, and six state profiles (CA, ME, OR, MN, WA, WI).

Broadcast version:
A new report issued by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable highlights the increased action to address toxic chemical pollution. In recent years, almost all 50 states have either introduced or passed legislation that is focused on chemical regulations, but ultimately federal action is needed to make necessary reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976.

Report: State Chemicals Policy: Trends and Profiles

Press Release: NPPR States Policy Report Press Release

P2Press: March 2013

April 20, 2013

P2Press March 2013

EPA Announces Chemicals for Risk Assessment in 2013, Focus on Widely Used Flame Retardants

March 27, 2013

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will begin assessments on 23 commonly used chemicals, with a specific focus on flame retardant chemicals, in order to more fully understand any potential risks to people’s health and the environment. This effort is part of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan which identifies commonly used chemicals for risk assessment.

Americans are often exposed to flame retardant chemicals in their daily lives; flame retardants are widely used in products such as household furniture, textiles, and electronic equipment. Some flame retardant chemicals can persist in the environment, bioaccumulate in people and animals, and have been shown to cause neurological developmental effects in animals.

“EPA is committed to more fully understanding the potential risks of flame retardant chemicals, taking action if warranted, and identifying safer substitutes when possible,” said James J. Jones, Acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Though today’s announcement represents a significant step forward on chemical safety, it’s important to remember that TSCA, this country’s chemicals management legislation, remains in dire need of reform in order to ensure that all Americans are protected from toxic chemicals in their environment.”

EPA will begin evaluating 20 flame retardant chemicals, conducting full risk assessments for four of the flame retardants, three of which are on the TSCA Work Plan, and one that was the subject of an Action Plan development under TSCA. In addition, we are assessing eight other flame retardants by grouping flame retardants with similar characteristics together with the chemicals targeted for full assessment. EPA will use the information from these assessments to better understand the other chemicals in the group, which currently lack sufficient data for a full risk assessment.

EPA will also begin analyzing how eight of the 20 flame retardant chemicals transform and move in the environment. These chemicals were selected because they are likely to persist in the environment, bioaccumulate in people and/or have high exposure potential, but there are not adequate data to conduct full risk assessments.

During its review of data on flame retardant chemicals in commerce, EPA also identified approximately 50 flame retardant chemicals that are unlikely to pose a risk to human health, making them possible substitutes for more toxic flame retardant chemicals.

As EPA develops its draft risk assessments, the agency will use information that is available through a wide range of publicly available data sources. EPA also encourages submission of additional relevant information on these chemicals, such as unpublished studies and information on uses and potential exposures. This information should be submitted by May 30, 2013, to ensure that it is included in the agency’s review.

Submit relevant information on these chemicals or find more information on TSCA Work Plan and flame retardant chemicals for risk assessment:
http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/workplans.html

A full list of the chemicals announced for further assessment is available here: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/2013wpractivities.html

EPA and DOE Recognize 2013 Energy Star Partners of the Year

March 27, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are recognizing 118 awardees for their commitment to saving energy and protecting the environment. Recipients of the 2013 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award include Sears Holdings Corporation, PepsiCo, JC Penney, Food Lion, USAA Real Estate, Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia, and Toyota.

“This year’s Energy Star award winners have gone above and beyond to save energy and cut greenhouse gases,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “Their commitment to superior energy efficiency not only makes these organizations valuable partners in our effort for a cleaner, healthier environment, but it also helps them reduce their day-to-day energy costs – an important feat for any organization.”

“The Energy Department applauds the ingenuity and success of the 2013 Energy Star award winners,” said DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. “These organizations are showing firsthand how energy efficiency improvements save money by saving energy – cutting energy waste, creating jobs nationwide, and protecting our air and water.”

The winners were chosen from nearly 20,000 Energy Star partners, including manufacturers, retailers, public schools, hospitals, real estate companies, and home builders, for their long-term commitment to climate protection through greater energy efficiency. Energy Star partners complete a rigorous application process that demonstrates their commitment to the partnership and the environment.

Organizations are recognized in the following categories:
Partners of the Year–Sustained Excellence: The 70 Sustained Excellence winners continue to exhibit exceptional leadership year after year in the Energy Star program while remaining dedicated to environmental protection through superior energy efficiency.

Partners of the Year: Forty-one organizations are receiving a Partner of the Year award for strategically and comprehensively managing their energy use. These organizations promote Energy Star products and practices in their own operations, in addition to providing efficient products and services to consumers and within their community.

Excellence: Seven winners are receiving awards in part for their superior efforts in the Home Performance with Energy Star program. The remaining organizations receive Excellence Awards and other special recognition for specific activities to promote energy-efficient products, homes or buildings.

For more than two decades, American consumers and businesses have continued to save energy and protect the environment through the Energy Star program. In 2012 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $24 billion on their energy bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 41 million vehicles. To date, more than 1.4 million new homes and nearly 20,000 office buildings, schools, and hospitals have earned the Energy Star. Since 1993, more than 4.5 billion Energy Star certified products have been sold.

Complete list of winners: www.energystar.gov/awards

States seeks input on draft guidance for assessing alternatives to toxic chemicals

March 18, 2013

BOSTON– The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2), an association of state, local, and tribal governments, announces the availability of draft guidance on alternatives assessment and chemical risk reduction. The document is available for public review and comment through April 19, 2013.

Over the past year, eight of IC2’s state members have been working together to develop a draft framework for alternatives assessment,” said Ken Zarker, Washington Department of Ecology and Vice-chair of the IC2.  “We are coordinating our efforts to make the most of limited resources. Seeking public input is the next important step forward.”
Alternatives assessment (AA) is a process that encourages companies to consider the potential harm that alternative chemicals could have on human health and the environment before they are used in products. The IC2 is seeking input on the draft guidance to leverage industry, government, and non-government AA experiences.

“States continue to provide leadership in an effort to advance sound chemical management strategies,” Zarker said. “I’m optimistic that this alternatives assessment guidance will be a win-win for businesses and consumers. States are interested in providing  economic opportunities  through green product innovation, while allowing for more informed chemical choices.”

“As more states consider incorporating alternatives analyses requirements in their laws and regulations, this effort by IC2 to gather input from all potentially-affected stakeholders is important,” said Maureen Gorsen, Partner at Alston and Bird, and supporting member of the IC2. “This is a brand new area of law, and it is critical that good guidance be established.”

The draft guidance is based on an alternatives assessment process pioneered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Design for the Environment Program. A function of the IC2 is to support health and environmental agencies with the development and implementation of programs to promote the use of safer chemicals and products. After gathering and responding to input on the draft guidance, the IC2 members will seek businesses to pilot its use.

The public may submit comments on the draft through Friday, April 19, 2013 at http://blog.purestrategies.com/ecology/Providing-Comments. The IC2 and the Washington State Department of Ecology developed this special website to support public outreach for and commentary on the alternatives assessment guidance. The Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) provides staff and facilitation support for IC2.

For more information:IC2 Guidance for Alternatives Assessment and Risk Reduction(www.newmoa.org/prevention/ic2/aaguidance.cfm)

U.S. EPA’s Design for the Environment Alternatives Assessment Program (www.epa.gov/dfe/alternative_assessments.html)

Broadcast version:

Eight states are seeking public comment on a draft document for assessing alternatives to toxic chemicals. The proposed guidance provides companies with a voluntary process to consider the potential harm that substitute chemicals could have on health and the environment.

The eight states that are collaborating on the project are members of the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2). The IC2 will share the results of this initiative with industry, NGOs, and the other IC2 members after the comment period has closed.

The public may submit comments on the draft guidance through Friday, April 19th at a special website set up by the IC2 and the Washington Department of Ecology for this purpose. Go to www.newmoa.org/IC2/aaguidance.cfm for the link to this website.

Minnesota to Phase Out Use of Harmful Chemical

March 6, 2013

St. Paul, Minnesota — All state agencies will eliminate purchasing of hand soaps and dish and laundry cleaning products that contain triclosan by June of this year. Through Executive Order by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, state agencies are required to implement sustainability action plans to reduce pollution and toxics, increase energy efficiency, and conserve resources.

By purchasing items without triclosan, state agencies are doing their part to keep this harmful chemical out of Minnesota waters,” Cathy Moeger, sustainability manager at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said.

The state was able to use its collective buying power and developed contracts for hand soap and dish and laundry cleaning products that are triclosan-free. In some situations, uses of triclosan-containing products may be allowed in medical or other specific settings.

Triclosan, an endocrine-disrupting compound, is antibiotic resistant and causes other health and environmental problems. It is an antimicrobial ingredient in products like hand soap, toothpaste, cleaning products, fabric, toys, kitchenware and industrial pesticides. Recent University of Minnesota studies have found triclosan in lake sediment.

Triclosan-free products are readily available in many stores.

The Minnesota Department of Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and American Medical Association say there is no evidence that triclosan provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.

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