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Migration Crisis Puts Europe's Policy Missteps Into Focus, Experts Say - New York Times

Bottle Bills - 3 hours 54 min ago

New York Times

Migration Crisis Puts Europe's Policy Missteps Into Focus, Experts Say
New York Times
The decision by European leaders not to pick up the monthly bill of 9 million euros (about $9.8 million) to keep Mare Nostrum operating has drawn scathing criticism in the aftermath of last weekend's deadly shipwreck, which left more than 750 migrants ...

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Categories: News Feeds

BPA testing conservation measures to brace for high power demand, low supply - Longview Daily News

BPA - 4 hours 53 min ago

BPA testing conservation measures to brace for high power demand, low supply
Longview Daily News
Even if the tests show energy savings are possible, BPA says it will still need the planned 79-mile transmission line to boost energy supply in the area, which has seen a big spike in demand. Without the new line, officials have said the area's power ...

Categories: News Feeds

Chemicals at work taking their breath away: work-related asthma

Pump Handle - 7 hours 46 min ago

Researchers with CDC’s National Institute for Occupational (NIOSH) report that nearly 16 percent of current asthma cases in US adults are work-related. The reported findings are based on data from the Behaviorial Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Adult Asthma Call-back Survey (ACBS) and reported this month in Morbitity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The survey respondents, made up of adults from 22 states, answered “yes” to the question:

“Have you ever been told by a doctor or other health professional that your asthma was caused by, or your symptoms made worse by, any job you ever had?”

The proportion of every-employed adults who answered “yes” was highest in Missouri (23.1%) and Wisconsin (21.1%) and lowest in Hawaii (9%) and New Mexico (13.5%).  The authors note the likelihood that the data understates the problem, writing:

“clinicians documented occupational exposure in only 7% of adult-onset cases indicating that work-related asthma is underdiagnosed in the US; thus results are likely underestimates of the true proportion” of the disease.

This may also explain the wide difference between States in reported work-related asthma cases.

On the heels of these findings is the report on a cluster of asthma cases from workers employed at a manufacturing facility in Massachusetts. The company makes syntactic foam which is used in large floatation equipment for the offshore oil and gas industry (e.g., this New Jersey company.)

The Massachusetts Department of Health learned of the cases through a unique program which requires healthcare providers and laboratories in Massachusetts to report certain occupational injuries (e.g., amputations) and illnesses (e.g., asthma.) From 2008 through 2012, six different physicians reported to the Massachusetts Occupational Health Surveillance Program a total of nine case of work-related asthma among employees at the plant.

The MMWR article describes the cases, which began with a 53 year-old worker who was a non-smoker and had no history of respiratory disease. He worked as an electrician and traveled throughout the facility repairing and maintaining equipment. His physician initially treated him for bronchitis and his symptoms would improve when he was off-work. After suffering several years with chronic breathing problems, he quit his job to work elsewhere. 

The cluster investigation is summarized in this week’s MMWR and elaborated on in a NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE). The HHE describes the toxic soup of chemical hazards he and the other workers at the plant were exposed to:  

“polystyrene beads, epoxy resins (e.g., bisphenol A, epichlorohydrin, bisphenol A diglycidyl ether), amines (e.g., triethylenetetramine), reactive diluents, carbon fibers, milled fibers, glass microspheres, polyester resin adhesives, anhydrides (e.g., methyltetrahydrophthalic anhydride) and catalysts.”

The facility (which is not named in the MMWR or the HHE) had been subject to OSHA inspections in 2007 and 2009. Among other things, the company was cited for an inadequate respiratory protection program. An EPA emergency response team also visited the facility in 2009 following the report of two employees being hospitalized because of chemical exposure.

In early 2012, the NIOSH investigators interviewed workers from the plant. The investigators write:

“Many [workers] felt that skin irritation and breathing problems were common among employees; some felt health problems were to be accepted as part of the job, as good jobs were difficult to find.”

Despite being cited previously by OSHA for the same problem, the NIOSH investigators found many deficiencies in the company’s respiratory protection program. Page after page of the report told me that this workplace was ripe for causing asthma and other injuries.

About half of the 165 workers at the plant identified as Black and another 10 percent as Hispanic. Sixty-nine percent were born outside the US. 

At the conclusion of NIOSH’s HHE, the agency provided about two dozen recommendations to the company to improve working conditions and cases of work-related asthma. Some of them involved equipment enhancements and substitutions of safer chemicals. Others involved a program to monitor employees’ respiratory health to identify early cases of occupational asthma and refer workers to a healthcare provider with expertise in occupational lung disease. The company is not compelled, however, to implement any of the recommendations. The HHE notes that the company took a few of those steps, but I’m not convinced they’ve done enough to stop taking away their workers’ breath.

Categories: Health

3p Weekend: 10 Companies That Are Rethinking Food Waste

Triple Pundit - 8 hours 41 min ago
Food waste is a staggering global problem: Roughly a third of the food produced for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tons — is lost or wasted. But a select few companies are taking innovative approaches to cut those figures down to size. From small startups to major multinationals, this week we tip our hats to 10 companies that are rethinking food waste.

Report Charts Rise in Global EV Market, But U.S. Shows Troublesome Signs

Triple Pundit - 9 hours 8 min ago
A new electric vehicle market report from Frost & Sullivan charts the rise in global EV sales, but signs of sluggishness appear in the U.S. market: Due to falling gas prices, American car buyers are "trading in hybrid and electric cars for SUVs at a higher rate than ever before."

Twitter Chat RECAP: Kimberly-Clark & World Wildlife Fund, #RespFibers

Triple Pundit - 11 hours 34 min ago
Today, Kimberly-Clark, World Wildlife Fund and TriplePundit came together for a special Twitter Chat about responsible fiber sourcing procedures - at #RespFibers. Here's the Storify and recap.

Senate Finance considers extension of sales tax to services and candy, soda ... - vtdigger.org

Bottled Water - 12 hours 15 min ago

vtdigger.org

Senate Finance considers extension of sales tax to services and candy, soda ...
vtdigger.org
The Senate Finance Committee is considering an extension of the sales tax that would go into effect over the next two years. Sen. Tim Ashe, D/P-Chittenden, says the proposal would extend the sales tax to soda, candy and bottled water starting July 1 ...

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Categories: News Feeds

Long-Term CO2 Record by Keeling Named National Historic Chemical Landmark

Yale Environment 360 - 13 hours 20 min ago
The Keeling Curve — a long-term record of rising carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere — will be named a National Historic

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The Keeling Curve Chemical Landmark, the American Chemical Society announced yesterday. The late geochemist Charles David Keeling began collecting precise, systematic data on atmospheric CO2 concentrations at Hawaii's Mauna Loa Observatory in 1958. Since then, the rigorous and continuous measurements have become the most widely recognized record of humans' impact on the planet, helping to illustrate the link between rising CO2 levels from burning fossil fuels and global warming. Other works highlighted by National Historic Chemical Landmark program include the discovery of penicillin, deciphering of the genetic code, and the works of Rachel Carson, Thomas Edison, and George Washington Carver.
Categories: Environment, Health

UK bioplastic manufacturer leads major sustainable chemicals program - Plastics Today

Bioplastic - 14 hours 14 min ago

Plastics Today

UK bioplastic manufacturer leads major sustainable chemicals program
Plastics Today
Biome Bioplastics, a bioplastic manufacturer based in Southampton, UK, has begun a major $4.5-million, three-year development program to progress successful biobased chemicals research through to industrial-scale production. The project has the ...
Biome Bioplastics leads £3m sustainable chemicals development programmePackaging Today
Biome launches biobased chemicals researchBiomass Magazine

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Categories: Business

Muskegon County could be first in Michigan to ban stores' plastic bags - MLive.com

Plastic Bag Bans - 14 hours 19 min ago

MLive.com

Muskegon County could be first in Michigan to ban stores' plastic bags
MLive.com
MUSKEGON, MI -- Terry J. Sabo wants Muskegon County to be the first community in the state to ban stores from giving out plastic bags. Sabo is Muskegon County Board of Commissioners Chairman, but he brought up that idea as a private citizen April 16, ...

Categories: News Feeds

Politicians have got ‘what matters’ wrong

Friends of the Earth - 14 hours 25 min ago
I'm an economics campaigner at one of the country’s best known environmental charities. So I know what I’m supposed to say, right. I’m supposed to say that what matters to me is the future of the planet. Or the ickle bees or the beavers or even the uglyfish. Or saving the baa lambs or the trees. Or, I guess, that my nephew gets to grow up in a world that isn’t six feet under water or where everyone keeps bashing each other with clubs because there’s only one lump of bread left to go round. Yeah, yeah, so all that does matter to me. But look, I’m not weird. On a day to
Categories: Environment

Grave Threats Face World’s Seventh Largest Economy

Triple Pundit - 14 hours 55 min ago
The economic value of the world's oceans “rivals that of the world's largest economies,” researchers from the World Wildlife Fund, Australia's Global Change Institute and the Boston Consulting Group wrote in a report issued on Thursday. The ocean would rank seventh on a ranking of the world's top 10 economies, yielding $2.5 trillion worth of goods and services annually. Unfortunately, ocean resources “are eroding rapidly,” according to the report.

California may require more recycled content in bottles - Plastics News

Bottle Bills - 15 hours 37 sec ago

Plastics News

California may require more recycled content in bottles
Plastics News
State senators are considering SB 732, which would require a minimum of 10 percent recycled content for all plastic beverage bottles sold in California starting in 2017. In the Assembly version of the bill, the 10 percent content requirement applies to ...

Categories: News Feeds

York could ban plastic bags at stores - Bangor Daily News

Plastic Bag Bans - 15 hours 16 min ago

Bangor Daily News

York could ban plastic bags at stores
Bangor Daily News
YORK, Maine — It looks like the town may be headed toward an outright ban of all plastic bag use at retail stores. With an eye toward putting a proposal before voters next fall, the Board of Selectmen met this week with business people and members of ...

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Categories: News Feeds

York could ban plastic bags at stores - Bangor Daily News

Plastic Bag Bans - 15 hours 16 min ago

Bangor Daily News

York could ban plastic bags at stores
Bangor Daily News
YORK, Maine — It looks like the town may be headed toward an outright ban of all plastic bag use at retail stores. With an eye toward putting a proposal before voters next fall, the Board of Selectmen met this week with business people and members of ...

and more »
Categories: News Feeds

Is Egypt in denial about Nile phosphate pollution?

Green Prophet - 15 hours 23 min ago
A barge carrying 500 tons of phosphate capsized in Upper Egypt last week after a run-in with a bridge foundation.  According to Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, the ship flipped after colliding with the...
Categories: Lifestyle

Portsmouth Considers Plastic Bag Ban - New Hampshire Public Radio

Plastic Bag Bans - 15 hours 51 min ago

Bangor Daily News

Portsmouth Considers Plastic Bag Ban
New Hampshire Public Radio
The Portsmouth City Council is considering a ban on plastic bags. Portsmouth City Councilor Brad Lown is sponsoring the ordinance, on behalf of the New Hampshire Surf rider Foundation's 'Rise Above Plastics' campaign. The ordinance would ban ...
York could ban plastic bags at storesBangor Daily News

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Categories: News Feeds

Eight Steps to Real Chemical Reform

EWG Toxics - 17 hours 22 min ago
Categories: Health

Guest Blogger: Joan Schueller, Girl Scout Cadette

Girl Scouts of America - 18 hours 31 min ago


Guest post from Joan Schueller, a Girl Scout Cadette from Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. Joan participated in the “Driving My Financial Future” national kick-off event at the Toyota Campus in Torrance, California, on April 16.
Picture this: CEOs, financial service advisors, and financial managers all gathering to teach you personally how to budget, save, and invest.
Talk about a special opportunity! Well, that’s just what I was able to experience at the “Driving My Financial Future” launch event at the Toyota Campus last week. And thanks to this new program, 26,000 more girls across the country will also be able to gain access to the tools necessary to feel confident in their financial decisions.
Driving My Financial Future is a program created and sponsored by Toyota Financial Services (TFS) to teach Girl Scouts how to budget, build their credit, research, and comparison shop. TFS recently pledged $2.1 million to Girl Scouts to help us develop our financial knowledge. Not only was our Greater Los Angeles CEO, Lise Luttgens, at the event, but our national CEO Anna Maria Chávez was also there to join in the fun. It was awesome!
Before coming to this event, I had already learned about saving money and budgeting through the Girl Scout Cookie Program. In my Cadette troop, we work toward specific financial goals, right down to the pennies spent on food for trips. This has helped me budget in my personal life, from saving for new electronics to figuring out how much I can spend on Christmas presents.

Driving My Financial Future takes it a few steps further. At the kick-off event, financial experts from TFS (most of them were Girl Scouts as girls—super inspiring!) helped me and 140 other Girl Scouts in my area learn how to research and comparison shop. What I discovered: simply taking the time to investigate my favorite products on the Internet could save me a lot of money! And I need to remember to check shipping costs before making my final purchasing decision. We also learned about putting together a monthly budget and the importance of anticipating emergencies. I need to know ways I can save money if in the future I miss work because of these emergencies. And I don’t want to ever forget my responsibility to give to charities I believe in—especially Girl Scouts!
The skills I learned at the Driving My Financial Future event will be helpful to all Girl Scouts when we are shopping for a car or a home or  putting together our college budget. I really liked the fact that the TFS volunteers leading the badge workshops with us were Girl Scouts as girls—it confirmed to me that Girl Scouts definitely builds the leaders of tomorrow. The advice they gave us—like keep saving so you can pursue your dreams and help others—really stuck with me! Every Girl Scout should get this experience, because the skills they will learn are necessary for building a better future.



Categories: Environment

Is the Public Etsy Still Part of the Sharing Economy?

Triple Pundit - 20 hours 37 min ago
Etsy's IPO took Wall Street by storm last week. The conversation was peppered with questions about whether or not a company that claims to be “a mindful, transparent and humane business” could succeed on Wall Street, a space where these adjectives are rarely used. Yet, this is not the question I’ll ask today. Instead, I’ll focus on is whether or not Etsy, the person-to-person online marketplace for all things handmade, is still part of the sharing economy.
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