Archive for the 'Regulation' Category

US EPA issues final TSCA framework rules

Friday, July 7th, 2017 by

Read the full story in Chemical Watch. Hat tip to Mary Buetow of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute for the pointer. Check out their bi-weekly Greenlist Bulletin.

Three final framework rules under the new TSCA, as well as scoping documents for the first ten substances subject to risk evaluation, were due to be issued by the US EPA within a matter of hours as Chemical Watch went to press today.

The release of the documents comes on the one-year anniversary of passage of the Frank R Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act – and on its statutory deadline for actions that must be completed within a year of the law’s passage.

The rules are:

  • the prioritisation rule, which outlines the process by which the EPA will prioritise existing chemicals for evaluating their risks, including the criteria for designating chemical substances as high-priority or low-priority substances for risk evaluation;
  • the risk evaluation rule, describing how the agency will evaluate the risk posed by existing substances to determine whether they present an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment; and
  • the ‘inventory reset’ rule, which lays out how the agency will designate substances on the TSCA inventory as ‘active’ and ‘inactive’.

See also:

Pollution prevention and environmental health in nail salons

Monday, May 11th, 2015 by

Last week, the New York Times ran a series on working conditions in New York City nail salons. In response, Governor Cuomo announced emergency measures to combat wage theft and health hazards faced by nail salon employees. The articles in the NYT series are:

Over the past decade, several other states have grappled with this issue. Some of the resources that resulted from these projects include:

In addition, there are quite a few research articles on environmental health risks associated with nail salons and how to prevent them. Here are several of the more recent ones:

If you’re looking for additional information on sustainability in nail and hair salons, ask the GLRPPR Help Desk Librarian.

MPCA and Freshwater Future collaborate to spread the word about reducing PAH contamination from coal tar sealcoat

Thursday, December 4th, 2014 by

This post was co-authored by Al Innes of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Cheryl Kallio of Freshwater Future. If you’d like your sustainability project featured on the GLRPPR Blog, contact Laura Barnes.

Freshwater Future, a non-profit based in west Michigan, has been “spreading” the word about reducing PAH contamination from coal tar sealcoat across the Great Lakes.  The hundreds of citizens and community-based organizations in Freshwater Future’s network learned about coal tar PAH issues over the summer, and now universities, contractors, and local governments are making commitments to move from coal tar to safer alternatives.

PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are chemicals which can cause cancer in humans and be toxic to aquatic life, and new studies are connecting them to developmental disabilities in children.  Vehicle emissions and wood smoke are other sources of PAH pollution, but coal tar sealcoat, which is around 5% PAHs by weight, is a readily-reduced source.  Applied properly, the asphalt-based sealcoats available today are equivalent in performance and cost to coal tar, at 1/1000th the amount of PAHs.  Zero-PAH alternatives are available, as well.

In response to Freshwater Future’s outreach to date, 14 Michigan cities and townships have passed resolutions not to use coal tar on city property or to encourage residents to do the same. Their location along the Great Lakes and in the watershed is important, since studies conducted in Toronto and elsewhere show coal tar PAHs being carried to lakeshore sediments by runoff from paved surfaces.

Many of the contractors committing not to apply coal tar are located near the western Michigan cities taking action, so Freshwater Future and partners can help connect property owners in those areas to the committed contractors to help grow the market for safer alternatives.

In addition, two universities in Ontario, two in Michigan, and two in Illinois have pledged not to use coal tar on their paved surfaces.  The University of Michigan had previously ended its use.

Since the project began, over 8,000 individuals and organizations have been educated, 52 property owners and providers have voluntarily taken action, and pledged contractors interviewed have eliminated 93,500 gallons of coal tar sealcoat over 2 application seasons.  The midpoint estimate of the resulting PAH reductions is 39 tons.  Partners will gather voluntary reduction data for 2014 in November and December and submit final reports to the project’s funder, EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The wave of local bans and supplier/contractor commitments in Minnesota led to a statewide ban which took effect in 2014.

The Great Lakes protection and pollution prevention networks can continue coal tar PAH reduction by educating their contacts and clientele: businesses, shopping centers, schools, universities, places of worship, local governments, homeowner associations, citizens – really, anyone owning or maintaining asphalt pavement.  Information and tools for this outreach are available through the Freshwater Future web site, at http://freshwaterfuture.org/ourissues/coal-tar-sealants/.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will continue to accept reduction commitments from contractors, suppliers, universities, and other property owners in Great Lakes states (except in Minnesota where the statewide ban is in place) and Ontario.  MPCA staff will post these commitments and government actions in the Basin at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/uu4yx6y.  MPCA and partners encourage prevention and protection professionals to actively promote sign-ups by providers, and their hiring by pavement owners.

A compilation of project deliverables to date and links to information about the health and environmental issues associated with PAH pollution are available at https://storify.com/lbarnes/pah-pollution-from-coal-tar-sealants.

EPA proposes new rule regulating mercury in dental amalgam effluent

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 by

Today, the National Journal reported that EPA has released a proposed rule that would limit the amount of pollutants, including mercury, discharged from dental offices as a result of procedures involving dental amalgam. According to EPA’s fact sheet:

The proposed rule would require all affected dentists to control mercury discharges to POTWs by reducing their discharge of dental amalgam to a level achievable through the use of the best available technology (amalgamseparators) and the use of Best Management Practices. In order to simplify compliance with, and enforcement of the numeric reduction requirements, the proposed rule would allow dentists to demonstrate compliance by installing, operating and maintaining amalgam separators. The proposal also includes a provision by which dental offices that have already installed amalgam separators that do not meet the proposed amalgam removal efficiency would still be considered in compliance with the rule for the life of the amalgam separator.

For more information on the proposed rule, including supporting documentation (when it is made available), visit http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/guide/dental/.