Day: May 26, 2020

COVID-19, Climate Change, and Health webinar recording

The vast amounts of data being collected around the world on meteorology, air quality and human health have allowed scientists to observe the effects humans have on our climate as well as the effects of climate on human health. As the global COVID-19 pandemic changes human behavior researchers are looking into how these changes impact the climate. Lessons learned through this research could help improve air quality in the future, potentially leading to improved health in populations affected by poor air quality.


  • Don Wuebbles, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Ashish Sharma, Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute
  • Larry Di Girolamo, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

COVID-19: Safely clean and disinfect for households

With decades of experience testing the performance of safer cleaning chemicals, the Toxics Use Reduction Institute offers guidance on how to reduce your risk to the coronavirus while also avoiding unnecessary exposure to toxic chemicals. 

EPA emails reveal talks between Trump officials, chemical group before 2017 settlement

Read the full story from The Hill.

When the chemical company Brenntag received a fine in 2017, the National Association of Chemical Distributors asked for help from two new Trump administration appointees who previously worked in chemical lobbying, according to emails obtained by The Hill through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The two appointees were Mandy Gunasekara, a former NACD lobbyist who is now chief of staff at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Nancy Beck, former senior director at the American Chemistry Council. Beck, now detailed at the White House, has been nominated by President Trump to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Brenntag was ultimately fined, although the penalty it received was roughly 20 percent lower than the one initially proposed by the EPA. 

Documents state that the EPA had originally proposed a $19,410 penalty.

It was eventually settled for $15,591 according to an EPA spokesperson.

While former EPA officials told The Hill they didn’t think the changed settlement figure was out of the ordinary, the correspondence between an industry executive and former industry officials who landed jobs in the administration underscores what critics say is a cozy relationship between business groups and Trump officials.

On this World Bee Day, we ask: why are bees so fascinating?

Read the full story at Massive Science.

Is it their honey or their hive, or is it because they can jive?

The same few industrial facilities emit majority of toxic pollution year after year

Read the full story from the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Call them ‘super polluters’ — the handful of industrial facilities that emit unusually high levels of toxic chemical pollution year after year. There are only a few of them, but together they account for the majority of annual industrial pollution.

Smart Energy Stimulus Means Thinking Small

Read the full story in Bloomberg Opinion.

Renewables can create more jobs and fewer of the headaches of massive projects of the past.

Webinar: Pollution Prevention Opportunities in the Metal Finishing Sector

Wed, May 27, 2020 1-20 pm CDT
Register here.

The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) will cover their recently completed metal finishing pollution prevention (P2) work funded under EPA Region 5’s Source Reduction Assistance Grant Program. The focus of the presentation will be the Rinsing Manual that was developed through the project; an overview of the project will also be provided. The Rinsing Manual is a new on-line resource developed under the project for evaluating and improving rinsing systems in the metal finishing sector. During the P2 project, the manual was used to help a Michigan metal finishing shop reduce water use and sludge generation and these results will also be discussed.


  • Lisa Stobierski, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences
  • George Cushnie, CAI Resources, Inc (NCMS contractor)

The end of plastic? New plant-based bottles will degrade in a year

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Beer and soft drinks could soon be sipped from “all-plant” bottles under new plans to turn sustainably grown crops into plastic in partnership with major beverage makers.

A biochemicals company in the Netherlands hopes to kickstart investment in a pioneering project that hopes to make plastics from plant sugars rather than fossil fuels.

The plans, devised by renewable chemicals company Avantium, have already won the support of beer-maker Carlsberg, which hopes to sell its pilsner in a cardboard bottle lined with an inner layer of plant plastic.

Webinar: Delivering a ‘New Normal’: Financing a Sustainable Future

Thu, May 28, 2020 8-9 am CDT
Register here.

Could the Covid-19 pandemic spur a green recovery? The push for business to help deliver a low carbon economy, adapt to the changing climate and understand the potential financial and social risks of climate change has never been greater. How do we “build back better” and succeed in delivering a sustainable future?

These are some of the business-critical discussions we’ll be covering in this webinar, hosted in partnership with the World Gold Council Speakers:

  • Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever
  • Devina Rankin, Chief Financial Officer, Waste Management
  • Terry Heymann, Chief Financial Officer, World Gold Council
  • Claus Aagaard, Chief Financial Officer, Mars

Moderated by Helle Bank Jorgensen, CEO & Founder, Competent Boards

Synthesis, Characterization, Evaluation of Interfacial Properties and Antibacterial Activities of Dicarboxylate Anacardic Acid Derivatives from Cashew Nut Shell Liquid of Anacardium occidentale L.

Kahtib, SK, et al (2020). “Synthesis, Characterization, Evaluation of Interfacial Properties and Antibacterial Activities of Dicarboxylate Anacardic Acid Derivatives from Cashew Nut Shell Liquid of Anacardium occidentale L.” Journal of Surfactants and Detergents 23(3), 503-512.

Abstract: Anacardic acid, 2‐hydroxy‐6‐[(8Z,11Z‐pentadeca‐8,11,14‐trienyl]‐benzoic acid, extracted from cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL), has been structurally modified to obtain the 2‐(O‐carboxymethyl)‐6‐[(8Z,11Z)‐pentadeca‐8,11,14‐trienyl]‐benzoic acid and its disodium carboxylate salt. Our separation method allows to easily obtain anacardic acid, which has been of interest for the fabrication of green products. These methods proposed for the first time to synthesize these derivatives are short and cheap, and with a high yield. The elucidation of its structure was carried out by means of infrared spectroscopy (IR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques. Interfacial rheology properties of surfactant‐air‐water and surfactant‐heptane‐water systems were determined by using a new oscillating spinning drop rheometer apparatus. Physicochemical characterization was performed with a salinity scan in a surfactant‐heptane‐brine system, obtaining a value of the surfactant characteristic parameter σ = −4.3 for the disodium salt and a critical micellar concentration (cmc) of 0.08 wt%, showing high surface activity. The biological activity of both compounds was determined and measurements of their potential antimicrobial activity against Gram‐positive and Gram‐negative bacteria were performed, exhibiting high effectiveness, especially for the disodium salt against Gram‐positive bacteria.

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