How CVS is cutting back on chemicals in cosmetics

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

As vice president of store brands and quality assurance at CVS Health, I spend a lot of time thinking about one big question: What do our customers want?

Every decision our team makes is driven by customer trends and insights, gleaned through research, external data and consumer testing. When it comes to our store brand beauty and personal care products, we’ve heard our customers loud and clear. They want products that work, with all the benefits they’re accustomed to, but with fewer ingredients of concern.

Last month we announced a major step forward with respect to “free-from” products: We will remove parabens, phthalates and the most prevalent formaldehyde donors (preservative ingredients that can release formaldehyde over time) across nearly 600 of our beauty and personal care products from our CVS Health, Beauty 360, Essence of Beauty and Blade store brands.

We will begin rolling out products that do not contain these ingredients to our stores in the coming months, and we plan to stop shipping products that don’t meet these standards to our distribution centers by the end of 2019.

We have been working on this important initiative for the last couple of years. We started with extensive customer research, including surveys, focus groups, analysis of social chatter, customer service channels and more.

Ph.D. student pioneers storytelling strategies for science communication

Read the full story from the University of California Berkeley.

Sara ElShafie used to struggle to explain her research to her family in a meaningful way. A UC Berkeley graduate student in integrative biology with an emphasis on how climate change affects animals over time, she says she “would always get lost in the details, and it was not doing justice to what is so amazing about natural history.”

But she doesn’t have that challenge anymore. Today, 28-year-old ElShafie is one of the few people in the country who focus on adapting storytelling strategies from the film industry to science communication. For the past year and a half, she has been leading workshops for scientists — primarily graduate students — on how to tell stories about their research that resonate with a broader audience.

State legislation aims to curb food waste

Read the full story from WXXI.

Bipartisan legislation under consideration in both the New York State Senate and Assembly would give grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, and other food industry companies an incentive to donate surplus food to local food banks or pantries through a  a tax credit.

County officials conducting health survey among neighbors of former battery-recycling plant

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

Hundreds of Los Angeles County health officials and volunteers went door to door Saturday conducting health surveys of residents who live around a shuttered battery-recycling plant near downtown, which is blamed for decades of lead emissions spread across seven southeast communities.

‘We’re still on fast-track to trial’: Kids’ climate lawsuit against Trump administration stays alive

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Late last week, a federal judge denied a Trump administration move to prevent a major climate change lawsuit from going to trial. The case, being brought by 21 young people against the federal government, is now closer to a full-fledged trial that will pit the Trump administration against children and young adults who insist the government is undermining their future through climate change inaction.

It’s a “very significant” decision, according to chief counsel for the plaintiffs, Julia Olson, executive director of advocacy group Our Children’s Trust. “This allows us to keep moving forward to trial.”

Demonstrations yield cleaner wastewater with energy benefits

Read the full story from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.

Two new clean water technologies under development by ISTC were demonstrated June 2 at the University of Illinois’ Swine Research Center.

How to Find Deleted Public Health Assessments for Contaminated Sites

Via The Memory Hole.

Click here to access the missing reports from prior to October 2004

UPDATE [June 8, 2017]: There’s a second source for these documents. Most of them exist in PDF format in the Commerce Department’s National Technical Information Service website. (These PDFs were never posted to the ATSDR’s own site.) Go here, and in the left-hand column search for either “public health assessment” or “health consultation” (in quotation marks), followed by the city, state, or site that you’re interested in. Be sure to check the box that says: “Only documents with full text.” [Thanks to Susan Maret for pointing this out.]

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) – a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – conducts health assessments and consultations for contaminated Superfund sites designated as national priorities by the EPA or “when petitioned by concerned individuals.” As ATSDR explains: “The aim of these evaluations is to find out if people are being exposed to hazardous substances and, if so, whether that exposure is harmful and should be stopped or reduced.”

ATSDR posts these reports on its website here. But in January 2017 (the time Trump assumed office), it pulled down all assessments and consultations dating prior to October 1, 2004, in order to somehow “streamline” the site. Huh?

Those 1,200 deleted reports are still technically available but in a highly inconvenient way. ATSDR has made a list(which I’m mirroring here) of all reports that it deleted. When you want one, you must email them asking for a copy, which they will then mail to you on paper. So, instead of simply leaving these reports online so they’re instantly available in full, they delete them, give us a list, make us email them for what we want, then snailmail us print-outs. That’s “streamlining”?

But all those reports are still online. They were captured by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, and you can browse them at the link at the top of the page. The link takes you to a December 2004 capture of the ATSDR site, so it almost exclusively contains the deleted pre-Oct2004 reports.

[Hat tip to Frank Vera for pointing out that the reports had been deleted.]