New Policy on TSCA Confidential Business Information Notices of Deficiency

Thirty days after publication in the Federal Register, EPA will stop sending notices of deficiency to businesses whose submissions do not meet all the statutory requirements. Instead, the Agency will provide written notice to affected business submitters that because they submitted procedurally flawed CBI claims, including unsubstantiated CBI claims, those CBI claims are invalid, and the underlying information is not protected from disclosure under TSCA Section 14.

Unlike the notice of deficiency, the written notice does not provide affected businesses 30 calendar days to remedy their deficient CBI claims. Rather, the written notice informs affected businesses that their procedurally flawed CBI claims may be disclosed to the public without further notice. TSCA section 14 requires that businesses seeking to protect information from disclosure must assert the claim for protection concurrent with submission of the information, including substantiating claims and meeting other procedural requirements. Read the Federal Register notice announcing this change


On January 19, 2017, EPA announced an interpretation of section 14 of TSCA. Under this interpretation, non-exempt CBI claims must be substantiated at the time the information claimed as CBI is submitted to EPAand non-exempt CBI claims submitted without a substantiation are considered deficient. To facilitate compliance with the change in interpretation, EPA announced it would send notices of deficiency to affected businesses that submitted non-exempt CBI claims without a substantiation, providing an opportunity to correct the deficiency.  The Agency also sent out these notices in instances where there were other procedural flaws in the submission, namely where the required CBI certification statement was not provided, or no generic name was provided when a specific chemical identity was claimed as CBI. 

For further information, see

Built to provoke, but not to last

Read the full story from the University of Pittsburgh.

In the plaza just outside Benedum Hall, University of Pittsburgh students from architecture and engineering have installed a distinctive structure. Pillars of hollow cardboard, filled with sand for weight and support, hold up a curving fence of bamboo slats, secured with shredded plastic bottles and plywood chains. A plywood bench supported by the cardboard tubes marks the center and invites passersby to sit and take a look.

But make sure to see it soon, because it won’t last forever—and that’s by design.

The structure is made from nonconventional materials to better understand how each material performs in the elements. The materials include bamboo, harvested from local yards where it grew invasively; cardboard tubes donated by Sonoco Products; teak oil-treated plywood, most of which was fabricated right on campus; and recycled plastic bottles.

Called “NOCMAT Pavilion,” the installation is the product of a collaboration between the Swanson School of Engineering, the Architectural Studies Program, the Pitt Non-Conventional Materials and Technologies Group (PITT-NOCMAT), and the Pitt Makerspace. It was constructed through a course led by Jennifer Donnelly, PhD, called NOCMAT Design-Build Studio. 

Who’s Coming? Respectful Audience Surveying Toolkit

Download the toolkit.

Most cultural and civic institutions don’t have high-quality data on participants. For many, collecting demographic data sounds intimidating, expensive, and complicated. 

It isn’t easy to capture this data. We know that firsthand. It’s expensive to work with consultants to design scientifically-valid survey methods. It’s confusing to figure out how to ask sensitive questions about race or class with perfect strangers. And most of us are trying to capture data with staff and volunteers who don’t have backgrounds in research or data analysis.

But capturing good demographic data is worth it. It can smash assumptions and stereotypes. It can change conversations with trustees and funders. It can help fuel smarter decisions and more inclusive programs. 

And so we came together—the OF/BY/FOR ALL team and researchers from Slover Linett Audience Research—to write this toolkit. 

We wrote this kit to give you a free, simple, step-by-step guide to collecting high-quality participant data. You can use it to create a plan, build a survey, and start collecting data right away.

Arsenic may interfere with pregnancy and children’s health

Read the full story in Environmental Factor.

“Arsenic is a reproductive toxicant,” said Molly Kile, Sc.D. , from Oregon State University (OSU), during a May 28 talk in the NIEHS Keystone Science Lecture Seminar Series.

Compared with other women and babies, pregnant women exposed to arsenic gained less weight during pregnancy, and their babies were born earlier. Research led by Kile showed that together, these conditions indirectly reduced birthweight.

Kile studies potential health effects of early life exposure to arsenic by following a large group of women in Bangladesh during their pregnancies and tracking health conditions that they and their children experience over time.

PepsiCo Switches to 100% rPET Packaging for Lifewatr

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

PepsiCo plans to package its bottled water brand Lifewatr in 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) starting this year, the company says. The move should help the beverage giant advance its goal of using 25% recycled plastic content in all plastic packaging by 2025.

Besides the shift to 100% rPET packaging, PepsiCo says their sparkling water brand Bubly will no longer be packaged in plastic and their Aquafina water brand will offer aluminum can packaging in US food service outlets. Altogether, the 2019 packaging changes are expected to eliminate more than 8,000 metric tons of virgin plastic and around 11,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the company.

Climate Change in the American Mind April 2019

Download the document.

This report is based on findings from a nationally representative survey – Climate Change in the American Mind – conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication ( and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication ( Interview dates: March 29-April 8, 2019.

  • About seven in ten Americans (69%) think global warming is happening. Only about one in six Americans (16%) think global warming is not happening. Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who think it isn’t by more than a 4 to 1 ratio.
  • Many Americans are certain that global warming is happening; 46% are “extremely” or “very” sure it is happening. By contrast, far fewer (8%) are “extremely” or “very sure” global warming is not happening.
  • A majority of Americans (55%) understand that global warming is mostly human-caused. By contrast, only about one in three (32%) think it is due mostly to natural changes in the environment.
  • More than half of Americans (53%) understand that most scientists think global warming is happening. However, only about one in six (17%) understand how strong the level of consensus among scientists is (i.e., that more than 90% of climate scientists think human-caused global warming is happening).
  • About six in ten Americans (62%) say they are at least “somewhat worried” about global warming. More than one in five (23%) are “very worried” about it.
  • Nearly four in ten Americans (38%) say they have personally experienced the effects of global warming.
  • About four in ten Americans (38%) think people in the United States are being harmed by global warming “right now.”
  • More than four in ten Americans (44%) think they will be harmed by global warming, while more think their family (48%), and/or people in their community (48%) will be harmed. More than half of Americans think global warming will harm people in the U.S. (59%), people in developing countries (64%), the world’s poor (64%), future generations of people (69%), and/or plant and animal species (71%).
  • More than six in ten Americans (64%) say the issue of global warming is either “extremely,” “very,” or “somewhat” important to them personally, while about one in three (36%) say it is either “not too” or “not at all” personally important.
  • About six in ten Americans (63%) say they “rarely” or “never” discuss global warming with family and friends, while 37% say they do so “occasionally” or “often”.
  • About half of Americans (51%) say they hear about global warming in the media at least once a month. Fewer (23%) say they hear people they know talking about global warming at least once a month.
  • Fewer than half of Americans perceive a social norm in which their friends and family expect them to take action on global warming. Forty-five percent think it is at least moderately important to their family and friends that they take action (an injunctive norm), and about four in ten (41%) say their family and friends make at least a moderate effort to reduce global warming (a descriptive norm).
  • About half of Americans (54%) say they have thought about global warming more than “a little.”
  • Very few Americans (12%) think it is too late to do anything about global warming, and only four in ten (40%) think the actions of a single individual won’t make any difference in global warming. About half of Americans (49%) think new technologies can solve global warming without individuals having to make big changes in their lives.
  • Majorities of Americans think of global warming as an environmental (75%), scientific (69%), severe weather (64%), agricultural (63%), health (58%), political (57%), economic (54%) and/or humanitarian (51%) issue. Fewer think it is a moral (38%), poverty (29%), national security (27%), social justice (24%), and/or religious issue (9%).
  • Six in ten Americans (60%) think global warming is affecting weather in the United States, and about three in ten think weather is being affected “a lot” (28%).
  • A majority of Americans are worried about harm from extreme events in their local area including extreme heat (69%), droughts (64%), flooding (60%), and/or water shortages (59%).

Good dill: University Library offers free herb seeds to patrons

Read the full story from Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis.

The latest University Library initiative will bring flavor to gardens, office window planters and tables citywide.

The library debuted its new seed library June 17 to an enthusiastic reception, with dozens of patrons taking advantage of free seed packets in the first few days. Through a Greening Grant from the IUPUI Office of Sustainability, the library’s “green team” acquired seven herb varieties from Baker Creek and made them available to students, staff, faculty and the community. Patrons simply fill out a survey before taking the small envelopes of seeds home or back to the office.

Each envelope contains three to five non-GMO seeds of Bouquet dill, broadleaf sage, common chives, Emily basil, Giant of Italy parsley, Rosy rosemary or vulgare oregano. Patrons can take one of each herb from the main desk.

Webinar: Early Detection of Algal Blooms in US Freshwater Systems: CyAN Mobile Application

Wed, Jul 24, 2019 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM CDT
Register here.

Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (HABs), which can appear in water bodies across the country, are an indicator of poor water quality and can potentially cause serious environmental and human and aquatic health effects. Historically, monitoring these HABs has been labor intensive and limited due to cost, time, and logistical constraints. EPA developed the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network Mobile Application (CyAN app) to help local and state water quality managers make faster and better-informed management decisions related to cyanobacterial blooms. It provides an easy to use, customizable interface for accessing algal bloom satellite data for over 2,000 of the largest lakes and reservoirs in the United States.

CyAN app is free and available for download on Google Play™. It is designed for use on Android™ devices and is compatible with versions 4.2-9.0 (API levels 18-26). It is currently being developed as a web-based app, which will be compatible with most devices.

1. Overview Presentation and Q&A Session (1:00-1:30 pm CDT). This portion of the webinar will provide a general overview of the app including what it is used for, why and how it was developed, and who it was designed for, as well as state case studies from their beta testing of the CyAN app. The research that led to the development of the app was conducted in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) through the CyAN Project.

2. Step-by-Step Training and Q&A Session (1:30-2:30 pm CDT). The second half of the webinar will be a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the CyAN app. We will walk through example scenarios and show you how to make fast and efficient initial assessments across water bodies that are roughly one square kilometer or greater. You will learn how to view cyanobacteria concentrations on a national-scale or zoom in to see data for a specific lake or reservoir, how to set queries to determine if blooms exceed your set limits, how to compare multiple water bodies at once, and how to use other functions in the app. 

EPA’s EnviroAtlas Publishes Data on Three New Urban Areas, Including Philadelphia and Salt Lake City

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

Ecosystem goods and services produce the many life-sustaining benefits we receive from nature—clean air and water, fertile soil for crop production, pollination, and flood control. These ecosystem services are important to environmental and human health and well-being, yet they aren’t always fully understood or considered when communities are making decisions. EPA’s EnviroAtlas tool aims to change that by using maps and data to help communities understand the relationship between nature, health, well-being, and the economy.

EnviroAtlas is an interactive and free web-based tool that combines maps, analysis tools, fact sheets, and downloadable data to inform state and local policy and planning decisions. EPA researchers have just added fine-scale data and maps for three new urban areas to EnviroAtlas, in addition to the 24 U.S. urban areas already included in the tool. The new featured areas are Philadelphia, PA, Salt Lake City, UT, and Sonoma County, CA, which collectively include over 300 cities and towns not previously covered. Nearly 7 million people populate the newly included communities alone.

NewsMatch and REI Co-op Partner to Expand Support for Local Environmental Reporting

Read the full story at NewsMatch.

This week the outdoor equipment and clothing retailer REI Co-op announced a $100,000 donation to NewsMatch. The gift will support and expand coverage of the environment and the outdoors in ten local communities across the country, from North Carolina to Washington state, and every dollar will be matched by individual donors in those communities during the annual NewsMatch campaign in November and December. This is the first corporate partnership for NewsMatch in 2019.