Day: August 29, 2006

EPA Requests Comments on Portions of MACT Rule

EPA is requesting comments on some aspects of the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAPs) for new and existing hazardous waste combustors, which were published Oct. 12, 2005. The final technology-based standards that were issued in 2005 reduce emissions of hazardous pollutants, including lead, mercury, arsenic, dioxin and furans, and hydrogen chloride and chlorine gas. The NESHAPs are based on the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) for hazardous waste combustors. These standards are based on emission levels that are already being achieved by the better-performing sources within the group.

The combustors affected by this rule detoxify waste and recover energy from hazardous waste and include incinerators, cement kilns, lightweight aggregate kilns, boilers and process heaters, and hydrochloric acid production furnaces. EPA estimates about 145 facilities operate 265 devices that burn hazardous waste.

Comments will be accepted for 45 days following publication in the Federal Register. More information on this rule:

Scientists Develop Method To Examine Effects Of Exposure To Nanoparticles

Read the full story in Environmental Protection.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory announced on Aug. 21 they have developed a screening method to examine how newly made nanoparticles — particles with dimensions on the order of billionths of a meter — interact with human cells following exposure for various times and doses.

Study Finds PCB Exposure May Decrease Effectiveness Of Vaccinations In Children

Read the full story in Environmental Protection.

Exposure to environmental pollutants may have an adverse impact on immune responses to childhood vaccinations, according to a study that appeared in the Aug. 22 online edition of Public Library of Science Medicine.

Most of U.S. ‘green schools’ use solar power

Read the full story in Refocus.

Eight of the schools ranked as the top-20 ‘green schools’ in the United States use on-site solar PV panels to generate electricity, while others rely on wind, geothermal heat pumps or other source of non-conventional power

U.S. governors commit $1 million for renewables

Read the full story in Refocus.

Two U.S. governors are calling for a new national energy policy that focuses on energy independence.

Governors Jim Doyle of Wisconsin and Bill Richardson of New Mexico Governor also announced US$1 million in new state funding for a number of renewable energy projects.

EPA Commenses Closure of Libraries Amid Protests

Via BeSpacific.

Press release: “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving ahead this summer to shut down libraries, end public access to research materials and box up unique collections on the assumption that Congress will not reverse President Bush’s proposed budget reductions, according to agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). At the same time, EPA’s own scientists are stepping up protests against closures on the grounds that it will make their work more difficult by impeding research, enforcement and emergency response capabilities.”

See also: EPA FY 2007 Library Plan (18 pages, PDF)

Development of Environmental Health Outcome Indicators

Read the full solicitation.

Applications due Dec 14, 2006.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications proposing research that uses existing databases of environmental (ambient), biological and/or health-related data to develop indicators that reliably signal the impact of changes in environmental conditions, management approaches or policies on human health. Key to the development of such indicators is a clearer understanding of the sequence of events that link changes in the environment to human exposure and adverse health outcomes.

Avoiding Green Marketing Myopia

Read the full article.

Citation: “Avoiding Green Marketing Myopia: Ways to Improve Consumer Appeal for Environmentally Preferable Products.” (2006) Jacquelyn A. Ottman, Edwin R. Stafford and Cathy L. Hartman Environment, 48(5), 22-36.

Summary (via Green Clips): In 1960, Harvard business professor Theodore Levitt warned that corporate preoccupation on products rather than consumer needs was doomed to failure because consumers select products and new innovations that offer benefits they desire. Today’s research indicates that many green products have failed because of green marketers’ myopic focus on their products’ “greenness” over the broader expectations of consumers or other market players (such as regulators or activists).

Evidence suggests that green products are able to appeal to mainstream consumers or lucrative market niches and frequently command price premiums by offering five “non-green” consumer values (efficiency and cost effectiveness, health and safety, symbolism and status, convenience and improved performance). A study conducted by the Alliance for Environmental Innovation and household products-maker S.C. Johnson found that consumers are most likely to act on green messages that strongly connect to their personal environments. According to popular culture experts, green marketing must appear grass-roots driven and humorous without sounding preachy.

To appeal to young people, conservation and green consumption need the unsolicited endorsement of high-profile celebrities and connection to cool technology. Green products can be positioned as status symbols. For example, the Think chair leverages its award-winning design and sleek comfort to symbolize the smart, socially responsible office. Evidence indicates that successful green products have avoided green marketing myopia by following three important principles: consumer value positioning, calibration of consumer knowledge, and the credibility of product claims. To avoid green marketing myopia, the future success of product dematerialization and more sustainable services will depend on credibly communicating and delivering consumer-desired value in the marketplace. Only then will product dematerialization steer business onto a more sustainable path.

Solar America Initiative Sees Significant Interest Among Industry Partnerships

Read the full story from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy has received 73 “letters of intent” from U.S. industry partnerships intending to apply for 3-year projects that will develop, test, and demonstrate new photovoltaic (PV) components, systems, and manufacturing approaches. Covering a broad share of the U.S. industry, the sheer number of letters demonstrates the recent evolution and growth of the U.S. PV sector and amounts to the highest level of interest in DOE solar R&D funding opportunities in the last two decades.

While final applications must be received on or before October 2, 2006, selections will be made immediately following the passage of appropriations for DOE’s Solar Technologies Program. It is the DOE’s objective to make awards and initiate the activities of selected partnerships by early 2007.

EPA Releases Guidance to Reduce Mechanics' Exposure to Asbestos

The Environmental Protection Agency is updating its guidance to protect the health of auto mechanics with the release of a draft brochure entitled, Current Best Practices for Preventing Asbestos Exposure Among Brake and Clutch Repair Workers. The brochure contains information for both automotive professionals and home mechanics. EPA is providing the public 60 days to comment on the brochure.

The brochure includes work practices that may be used to avoid asbestos exposure. It also summarizes existing Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulatory requirements for professional automotive mechanics. When finalized, the brochure will supersede the existing Guidance for Preventing Asbestos Disease Among Auto Mechanics, known as the “Gold Book.”

Asbestos is the common name given to a number of naturally occurring mineral fibers that have been used in manufactured goods due to their high tensile strength, resistance to heat, and chemical stability. Because of these properties, asbestos fibers have been used in a number of products, including automobile clutch and brake parts.

Exposure to asbestos is potentially harmful to human health if microscopic asbestos fibers, released into the air when asbestos is disturbed or in poor condition, are inhaled into the lungs. Asbestos exposure has been associated with a number of serious health problems and diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

EPA welcomes all suggestions for improving the draft brochure and will, where appropriate, incorporate changes to the final brochure. EPA will announce the availability of the final brochure through a future Federal Register notice.

More information:
The draft brochure:
To file comments: docket number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2006-0398

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