Month: March 2011

First Report on Bioaccumulation and Processing of Antibacterial Ingredient TCC in Fish

Read the full story from the American Chemical Society.

In the first report on the uptake and internal processing of triclocarban (TCC) in fish, scientists today reported strong evidence that TCC — an antibacterial ingredient in some soaps and the source of environmental health concerns because of its potential endocrine-disrupting effects — has a “strong” tendency to bioaccumulate in fish. They presented the findings here today at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

EPA Updates Web Tool Providing Clean Water Violation Trends and State Enforcement Response

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released updated data and a mapping tool designed to help the public compare water quality trends over the last two years. The web-based, interactive map includes “state dashboards” that provide detailed information for each state, including information on facilities that are violating the Clean Water Act and the actions states are taking to enforce the law and protect people’s health.

“Access to environmental information that is easy to use is the cornerstone of our commitment to transparency and engaging the public in a meaningful and productive way,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The release of today’s tool removes traditional barriers that have limited access to Clean Water Act information and helps improve public awareness of the important work that remains in protecting our nation’s waters.”

The state dashboards incorporate data for both large and small sources of water pollution, along with the latest information from EPA’s 2009 Annual Noncompliance Report. The public can examine and compare information on the inspections conducted by both EPA and the state in their region, violations and enforcement actions in their communities over the past two years and the penalties levied in response to violations.

In 2009, EPA announced the Clean Water Act action plan to improve Clean Water Act permitting, enforcement, information collection and public access to compliance and monitoring information. The state dashboards are a part of the action plan and are designed to provide information on Clean Water Act violators and government’s response.

EPA’s enforcement and compliance transparency tools are recognized as a model for open government and improving how government operates. EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Online (ECHO) database provides fast, integrated searches of EPA and state data for more than 800,000 regulated facilities, including information on inspections, violations and enforcement actions.

Surprise: Biodegradable Packaging Still Bad for the Planet

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Companies that say their packaging will biodegrade in landfills as if that feature is a benefit are actually touting that they’re contributing to a system that hurts the environment.

As more companies are marketing the fact that their wrappers, boxes and other packaging materials will break down in landfills, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) looked into if that really is a positive when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions.

Why Every Company is an Energy Company — Or Will Be Soon

Read the full story at ClimateBiz.

Companies such as Dell, Cadbury and PepsiCo carefully monitor energy use in their operations and supply chains, but too often, companies have no idea how much energy they’re using – or how much they’re spending on it.

But that will one day change, according to a new report from Deloitte, “Every Company is an Energy Company – and if it isn’t it will be soon.” The report argues that the rigorous energy management programs in place at leading companies may be the exception today, but it will only be a matter of time until such programs becomes the rule.

Getting Closer to a Better Biocontrol for Garden Pests

Read the full story from the Agricultural Research Service.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have found strains of bacteria that could one day be used as environmentally friendly treatments to keep caterpillars and other pests out of gardens and cultivated fields.

Researchers with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) surveyed the agency’s bacterial collection and discovered that strains sharing the ability to produce a particular enzyme survive being fed to caterpillars longer than those that don’t. Such survivability makes them better candidates for controlling crop and garden pests. The results, published in Biological Control, support the USDA priorities of agricultural sustainability and promoting international food security.

Some Ingredients in “Green” Products Come from Petroleum Rather than Natural Sources

Read the full story from the American Chemical Society.

With more and more environmentally conscious consumers choosing “green” products, scientists today reported that the first reality check has revealed that the ingredients in those products may come from a surprising source –– petroleum, rather than natural plant-based sources.

From Crankcase to Gas Tank: New Microwave Method Converts Used Motor Oil Into Fuel

Read the full story from the American Chemical Society.

That dirty motor oil that comes out of your car or truck engine during oil changes could end up in your fuel tank, according to a report presented here today at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). It described development of a new process for recycling waste crankcase oil into gasoline-like fuel — the first, they said, that uses microwaves and has “excellent potential” for going into commercial use.

Waste Ash from Coal Could Save Billions in Repairing U.S. Bridges & Roads

Read the full story from the American Chemical Society.

Coating concrete destined to rebuild America’s crumbling bridges and roadways with some of the millions of tons of ash left over from burning coal could extend the life of those structures by decades, saving billions of dollars of taxpayer money, scientists reported here today at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. They reported on a new coating material for concrete made from flyash that is hundreds of times more durable than existing coatings and costs only half as much.

Emissions Trading Doesn’t Cause Pollution ‘Hot Spots’

Read the full story at Indiana University.

Programs that allow facilities to buy and sell emission allowances have been popular and effective since they were introduced in the U.S. two decades ago. But critics worry the approach can create heavily polluted “hot spots” in low-income and minority communities.

A new study by Evan Ringquist, professor in the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, finds the problem hasn’t materialized — that the efficiency gains of allowance trading have not come at the expense of equitable treatment of minorities and the poor.

How Plants Absorb Pollutants

Read the full story from the American Chemical Society of Agromony.

In a study funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China, scientists at Nanjing Agricultural University investigated the distribution of contaminants in the roots of ryegrass. Recent studies had indicated that contaminated fungi attached to the root of plants were responsible for the plant’s uptake of toxic contaminants.

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