Artificial intelligence needs high-quality data to deliver on promise

Read the full story in Environmental Factor.

Experts from environmental health sciences and other fields gathered June 6-7 to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) can help solve challenges in environmental health sciences. The NIEHS-funded workshop was sponsored by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).

State-by-State Regulation of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Drinking Water

Read the full post at JDSupra.

Although the Federal Environmental Protection Agency issued its PFAS Action Plan on February 14, 2019 (see our March 27, 2019, client alert), many states have expressed frustration with EPA’s proposed plan and have started the process of regulated PFAS in drinking water themselves.  As a result, states have adopted a patchwork of regulations and standards that present significant challenges to impacted industries. This client alert focuses on the different state regulations regarding the guidance, notification, and cleanup levels for PFAS – typically PFOA and PFOS – in drinking water.

This snapshot of state drinking water regulations below is being provided, in part, to assist businesses in evaluating their PFAS risk and strategy in two contexts: (a) acquisition due diligence, and (b) to determine whether existing facilities with legacy contamination might benefit from proactive remediation in limiting any potential liability.

Health-Based Drinking Water Value Recommendations for PFAS in Michigan

Download the document.

The Workgroup undertook a methodical approach to evaluate existing and proposed standards from across the country for the 18 PFAS analytes considered under USEPA Method 537.1 (Appendix C). They focused on those PFAS that they determined had enough peer reviewed studies on which to base their conclusions. What they considered, and the logic behind their approach, has been carefully documented in individual chemical summaries for each compound.

As Federal Regulations Lag, States Take Action Against PFAS Chemicals

Read the full story from NPR.

Frustrated with federal inaction, states such as New Hampshire, are taking their own measures against a class of pollutants known as “forever chemicals”

An ‘emerging pollutant’ in the Farmington River triggers claims about misinformation, worries about burning contaminated sludge

Read the full story in the Hartford Courant.

When potentially toxic firefighting foam began flowing through the sewers into a Windsor waste treatment plant last month, MDC officials who run the facility asked state environmental officials for a list of the chemicals involved in the June 8 spill.

An MDC spokesperson said the state initially sent an incorrect chemical listing, and a week later provided a list of what was in the firefighting foam that was 25 years old “and the specific [chemical] materials were not listed due to ‘trade secrets,’ ” said MDC spokesperson Kerry Martin.

The foam spilled during a June 8 malfunction at a Bradley International Airport hangar contained PFAS compounds, hazardous substances linked to human health problems ranging from cancer to obesity. Thousands of gallons of the chemical mixture bubbled through the Windsor plant and out into the Farmington River.

Ohio universities expand clean energy degree programs amid rising enrollment

Read the full story from Midwest Energy News.

Ohio universities are expanding degree programs related to clean energy in response to growing interest from students and employers.

The University of Dayton’s new bachelor’s degrees in sustainability are the latest options for Ohio students seeking careers in clean energy. The school’s trustees approved the programs in May and aim to enroll 25 students per year.

Can climate change be made simple enough to solve?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

I’ve been fascinated and more than a little perplexed by a statistic from Suzanne Shelton, whose well-regarded marketing firm has helped shape the agenda for companies speaking up on sustainability issues.

At our recent Circularity 19 conference, Shelton shared her firm’s research showing that Americans are more concerned about plastic waste than about climate change. (The research originally was published in March, although Shelton’s terrific presentation on the closing day of Circularity helped dig it out of the pile of mind-numbing reports that regularly cross our in-boxes.)

The research was based on a survey of 1,013 Americans, who were first asked which environmental issues they’d been hearing about the most — from news, social media, family and friends. Plastics and climate change roughly were tied: 57 percent of respondents said they were aware of the problem of plastics in the ocean while 59 percent said were aware of climate change. (The survey’s margin of error was 3.1 percent.)

Awareness was one thing; concern another. 

Researchers create worldwide solar energy model

Read the full story from Aarhus University.

For any future sustainable energy system, it is crucial to know the performance of photovoltaic (solar cell) systems at local, regional and global levels. Researchers have investigated and mapped the capacities of photovoltaic generation in the European countries in four different configurations: Rooftop, optimum tilt, tracking and delta configuration, and made the data openly available. The different configurations have a strong influence on the hourly difference between electricity demand and PV generation.

Real-world test of new smokestack emissions sensor designs

Read the full story from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In collaboration with industry, researchers have completed the first real-world test of a potentially improved way to measure smokestack emissions in coal-fired power plants.

These 10 middle-schoolers are inventing new ways to change the world

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Maybe young brains really are best suited for tackling global challenges like health and environmental concerns.