Welcome to SHWEC’s Blog

Welcome to the Solid & Hazardous Waste Education Center’s Blog. SHWEC staff post information and updates related to the center’s programs and areas of expertise. This is where we share information, resources and other items in a timely manner. Please consider subscribing to either our RSS feed or use the Subscribe 2 function. These tools allow posts to this site to be sent directly to you.

Also, please be sure to visit our traditional WEBSITE to learn more about SHWEC programs and review our many PUBLICATIONS.

Are there Toxic Flame Retardants in your Home?

Flame retardants are compounds added to commercial and consumer products that inhibit, suppress, or delay the production of flames to prevent the spread of fire. There are several categories of retardants, but two types, organohalogens and organophosphorous, are toxic. They are often associated with serious health and environmental concerns including disruption of hormones, developmental and reproductive problems; they do not readily break down into safer chemicals and accumulate in body tissue (bioaccumulate). Major uses of flame retardant chemicals are in electronics, building insulation, polyurethane foam and wire/cable.

Due to flammability standards, furniture made with fabrics and foams (including carpeting) often contain flame retardants. For example, the foam of 101 American couches bought between 1984-2010 were tested; 85% of the couches contained toxic or inadequately tested flame retardant chemicals.

Duke University (Durham, NC) is conducting a study to determine the prevalence and type of flame retardants used in furniture and help you find out what chemicals may be present in the furniture in your home. Foam samples from your home will be analyzed and you will be sent the results. For more information, click here.

Information about flame retardants and reducing  your exposure to them in your home have been published by both Duke University and the Green Science Policy Institute at the University of California – Berkeley (fact sheet).

FTC Green Guides Explained – Webinar

The National Recycling Coalition and the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center are sponsoring a webinar that will explain how the Federal Trade Commissions “Green Guides” are designed. The Green Guides are intended to ensure claims about carbon offsets, “green” certifications and seals, and renewable and recycled material material claims are valid. Julia Solomon from the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection will be the main presenter.

The webinar will take place Tuesday July 15th at 12:30pm CST. You can register by following this link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/907563313

Evaluating the Chemical Footprint of Plastics

Chemical foot- print can be defined “as the number and mass of chemicals of concern (COC, highly toxic chemicals) used in manufacturing and supply chains, and contained in the final product”. Chemical foot printing can be used as a process of assessing progress towards  the use of safer chemicals and away from COCs. The Plastics Scorecard (plasticsscoreracd14_bizngo ) was developed to evaluate the chemical footprint of plastics and as guidance in selecting safer alternatives.

EPA Toolkit on Wasted Food and Packaging

Via US EPA-

The EPA has recently released a free, new resource to reduce food and packaging waste! The Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit helps restaurants, grocers, caterers, and other commercial kitchens to save money and reduce their environmental impact. We encourage you to explore the toolkit and share extensively with those in your food services network.

Understanding the amount, type of, and reason for food waste is the first step toward reducing it. The kit includes an Excel audit tool that allows users to tailor their waste tracking to the level of detail needed for their facility. Once the data is entered, the spreadsheet automatically generates graphs and data summaries to help facilities identify opportunities to reduce waste.

You can find this free resource and others at http://www.epa.gov/foodrecovery/tools/index.htm.

We encourage food services to join EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge (FRC), a free program for any organization which prepares, sells or serves food. Participants reduce wasted food through source reduction, donation and recycling, saving money, helping communities and protecting the environment. We share tools, webinars and other useful information on tracking and reducing wasted food and give annual EPA awards.

We are happy to answer any questions you have about the toolkit or other resources EPA has to offer.

Warm regards,

Amanda Hong and Wendi Shafir

PS. Some email users have trouble with hyperlinks. Here are the full links in case that’s you:

PDF guide: http://go.usa.gov/8m7W

Excel tool: http://go.usa.gov/8m7d

FRC: http://go.usa.gov/8m7F

Green Chemistry & Environmental Justice webinar

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/899925249
Co-hosted by the Great Lakes Green Chemistry Network and Michigan Green Chemistry Clearinghouse, presents:A webinar by:

Michele Roberts
Environmental Justice and Health Alliance

and

Richard Moore
Los Jardines Institute

 

Title: Green Chemistry and Environmental Justice
Date: Monday, June 9, 2014
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Central Time

Safer Chemicals

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GreenScreen® Introductory Workshop, Buffalo, NY
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June 4, 2014
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Please join us for a GreenScreen workshop at the Jacobs Executive Development Center at the University of Buffalo in New York. This day-long training will be of particular interest to both business experts and experts in materials selection, product and process design, procurement, supply chain management, regulatory affairs, and environmental health and safety who seek to select safer chemicals for their products. This training is the last of a series of six offered through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Workshop costs are low because they are subsidized by a generous grant from US EPA. This workshop is excellent for those who want to understand how to use GreenScreen results and how to get started using the GreenScreen method. We have a fantastic teaching team that includes NSF International, ToxServices, SciVera Services, Oatey SCS, Clean Production Action, and WA Department of Ecology.
Rates:
$95 Government/NGO
$150 Business
Space for the GreenScreen training is limited, and pre-registration is required.
REGISTER here for Buffalo!
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Join the Safer Chemistry Challenge Program in 2014 at no cost! The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable invites companies to join the 2025 Safer Chemistry Challenge Program (SCCP). This voluntary initiative aims to motivate, challenge, and assist businesses in reducing their use of chemicals of concern to human health and the environment. The SCCP will also recognize and reward companies for finding safer alternatives to the hazardous chemicals they currently use. Questions can be directed to saferchemistry@gmail.com or Cindy McComas at mccom003@umn.edu. For information on how to become a member of the Safer Chemistry Challenge program visit:http://www.p2.org/challenge

Safe Flame Retardants webinar

Searching for Safe Flame Retardants – where do we stand?

Join us for a SCCP webinar on June 10, 2014, 11:00 am EST

Co-sponsored with the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable’s Policy Workgroup

​Register now: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5707103421000943617

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Flame retardants are a diverse group of chemical substances which are added to plastics, wood or textiles to reduce their propensity to ignite. Since the 1990ies, flame retardants have started to raise environmental concerns, because some brominated flame retardants (e.g. polybrominated diphenylethers, PBDE) were found to form halogenated dioxins and furans in uncontrolled combustion and because the flame retardants were

in various environmental compartments and biota, including humans. This has lead to regulatory restrictions in Europe and elsewhere. A number of flame retardant producers have responded to these concerns by developing more environmentally compatible products based on phosphorus, inorganic and nitrogen chemistries (PIN FRs). This paper will present an overview of flame retardant alternatives and their health and environmental assessments, like the European collaborative research project ENFIRO as well as legislative activities in Europe in the context of REACH and RoHS. US activities like the US-EPA projects on Design for Environment and assessment schemes like Greenscreen, will also be touched upon.

Presenter: Dr. Adrian Beard, Clariant Corporation, Head of Marketing and Advocacy for Flame Retardants, and PINFA Board Member
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Adrian Beard works for Clariant Corporation, Hurth near Cologne in Germany, as Head of Marketing and Advocacy for the Flame Retardants Business Line of the Business Unit Additives. He is also a senior expert in fire safety and environmental properties of phosphorus based flame retardants. Since 2009-03, he is vice-chairman of the newly formed association for non-halogenated phosphorus, inorganic and nitrogen flame retardants (pinfa). From 2006 to 2008 he was president of the European Flame Retardants Association (EFRA). From 1991 to 1999, before joining Clariant, he was head of the environmental analytical laboratory at the Fraunhofer-Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology in Oberhausen, Germany.
 

2014 National Climate Assessment now available

U.S. National Climate Assessment

In May 2014, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released the Third National Climate Assessment, the authoritative and comprehensive report on climate change and its impacts in the United States.

The Highlights of USGCRP’s Third National Climate Assessment include an overview, the report’s 12 overarching findings, and a summary of impacts by region. The report also discusses how climate change affecting regions of the United States, and the impacts on key sectors like health, water, and agriculture?

For more information:
U.S. Global Change Research Program

Safe Sanitizers and Disinfectants Webinar

The May 7 webinar will provide an overview of the health and environmental risks of sanitizers and disinfectants, as well as examples of safer alternatives, which is based on a report from the city of San Francisco.

Registration is required: http://www.bizngo.org/resources/entry/safer-sanitizers

Global Dialogue on Waste

This month-long May dialogue will focus on public health and quality of life as frameworks for waste management. Through four live online panels including some of the leading thinkers on public health and quality of life, the dialogues will explore short, medium and long term solutions to waste management for public health and quality of life using examples from selected locations around the world.

http://wastewise.be/2014-global-dialogue-on-waste/public-health-quality-life/


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