EPA sets limit for toxic pollutants released into waterways

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday imposed new standards for mercury, lead and other toxic pollutants that are discharged into the nation’s rivers and streams from steam electric power plants.

Older Millennials More Cynical About Cause Marketing

Read the full story in Marketing Daily.

While Gen Y continues to expect companies to become more committed to social and environmental causes — and to share about them through social media — there has been a shift, according to new research from Cone Communications. Older Millennials 25 to 34 are increasingly questioning their ability to make a real impact, and are more skeptical about corporate-cause efforts. Only 25% of them, for example, believes that making a purchase can create a significant impact, compared with 36% of those between the ages of 18 and 24.

Even Poor Countries End Up Wasting Tons Of Food

Read the full story from National Public Radio.

The fact that a huge amount of food is wasted each year will be no surprise to anybody in the West. What might come as a surprise is that a large percentage of global food waste occurs in developing countries — primarily because of poor infrastructure and dysfunctional distribution networks.

As much as half of the food grown or produced in the developing world simply never makes it to market. And that loss is costing billions of dollars and blighting countless lives.

That’s one of the issues raised in the book Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change by John Mandyck and Eric Schultz. Mandyck, who’s the chief sustainability officer at United Technologies Building & Industrial Systems, and Schultz detail the causes and consequences of the $1 trillion mountain of food that is wasted around the world each year.

New children’s health research projects funded by NIH

Read the full story in Environmental Factor.

Researchers working to improve children’s health now have more opportunities to understand the role environmental exposures play in children’s health and development, thanks to new funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

NIEHS joined with NIH Sept. 28 in announcing the recipients of new projects that will provide researchers an expanded range of tools to accurately measure, record, and analyze environmental exposures in children.

Climate change and environmental exposures challenge announced

NIEHS announced a new challenge Sept. 15 as part of the Climate and Health Innovation Challenge Series. The institute is calling on scientists and other innovators to create tools, such as data visualizations, to support decision-makers whose work may be affected by alterations in environmental exposures associated with climate change.

The goals of the NIEHS Climate Change and Environmental Exposures Challenge are to raise awareness of how environmental health risks may be worsened by climate change, and to enable decision-makers from local to national levels to take actions to protect their populations.

Winners will be chosen for data visualizations, tools, or applications in two prize categories, one at the multistate or national level, and the other for submissions addressing the local level.

Improve understanding through innovation

According to the NIEHS announcement, the impacts of climate change on existing environmental health risks, such as hazardous wastes, air pollution, algal blooms, and contaminants in food, are not well understood. At the same time, newly released data and tools, combined with existing data sets, are available for use.

“We’ve made more data available on the climate data website, and this challenge is a way to encourage users to dig into it and create practical tools for the folks who must respond to the environmental health risks presented by climate change,” said John Balbus, M.D., NIEHS senior advisor for public health.

NIEHS issued the challenge to spur the development of innovative approaches to identifying and assessing those risks. The institute hopes public health students and professionals, data and exposure scientists, software developers, and other innovators will find ways to help analyze and convey the potential risks.

Tools may support governments needing to make protective decisions, such as:

  • Siting of schools, day care centers, new housing, or critical infrastructure, such as water system intakes.
  • Design or siting of urban wastewater drainage or green infrastructure.
  • Placement of monitoring equipment or other sensors.
  • Prioritizing remediation efforts.
  • Permits or regulations that protect environmental health.

Submissions are due by Dec. 4, 2015 and the winners will be announced Jan. 12, 2016.

Green Champions awards recognize NIEHS achievements

Read the full story in Environmental Factor.

NIEHS continued its strong showing this year in the annual Green Champion awards given by the Department of Health and Human Services for sustainability projects. The awards were presented at a National Institutes of Health event on Sept. 11.

Food Giants Align For Climate Action

Read the full story in the Huffington Post.

A Republican, a Democrat and a bunch of major food corporations put their support behind meaningful action on climate change Thursday.

Representatives from Mars, General Mills, Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s and Nestle appeared at an event on Capitol Hill calling for strong government action on climate. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) hosted the event with the sustainable business group Ceres.

Whitehouse has been a major advocate for climate action in Congress, giving weekly speeches on the subject. And Gibson recently led an effort among House Republicans to get party leadership to pay attention to the problem.