May 2, 2013
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).
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.
Press Release: NPPR States Policy Report Press Release
April 20, 2013
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:
A full list of the chemicals announced for further assessment is available here: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/2013wpractivities.html
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
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.
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.
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.
March 6, 2013
February 12, 2013
EPA has released the non-confidential Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) information on chemical manufacturing, processing and use in the United States.
The 2012 non-confidential database and search tool are available at http://www.epa.gov/oppt/cdr/index.html. Users can download the database or search the database by chemical name, CAS number, or company name to retrieve company and site-specific information about chemicals in commerce and to view information on specific uses of chemicals, such as those used in products intended for children. This website also includes more information about the CDR data results, as well as fact sheets.
Report Demonstrates Over $6.6 Billion in Economic Benefits from Pollution Prevention A Result of Waste Reductions, Resource Conservation, and Cost Savings
February 5, 2013
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
For Immediate Release
A Cornerstone of Environmental Sustainability: Pollution Prevention Results from 2007 to 2009 presents available information on the achievements of state and local P2 programs for the calendar years 2007 to 2009. The Report was produced by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) based upon the results shared by 90 pollution prevention (P2) programs in the United States.
The Report shows that there were almost $6.6 billion in economic benefits and more than 7 billion pounds of pollution minimized or eliminated during the three year period. 7 billion pounds of waste is equivalent to the amount of waste generated by 350 thousand households, the approximate size of Columbus, Ohio. This study affirms that pollution prevention results in conservation of valuable resources and significant waste reductions, as well cost savings that were four times greater than the funds used to support the various P2 programs.
The Report is a product of the P2 Results Task Force, whose membership includes representatives from State P2 programs, EPA Headquarters and Regions, Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange Centers (P2Rx), as well as NPPR. The Task Force has developed a National Pollution Prevention Results Data System, (the System). The System aggregates data that is collected, managed, and synthesized by state and local P2 programs, non-profits, companies, and other organizations.
The Report documents additional benefits of P2 activities, including: approximately 16 billion gallons of water conserved; almost 2.5 billion kilowatt hours of reduced energy usage; more than 33 billion pounds of greenhouse gases (GHG) no longer being released into the atmosphere.
NPPR will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, February 21 at 2 ET to provide an overview of the report. Register for the webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2030884086456328960
To view the Report, go to http://www.p2.org/wp-content/uploads/p2-results-2007-9-final.pdf.
Press Release: press_release_2007_2009_results-report