Day: March 8, 2021

Coal’s Dirty Secret

Read the full story in Q Magazine.

Coal combustion residuals, commonly known as coal ash, are non-combustible components of coal — powdery substances accounting for roughly 10 percent of the weight of coal burned. This includes airborne particles caught in the smokestack filters (fly ash) and material left over in the furnace after coal is burned (bottom ash and boiler slag). Coal is an extremely impure fuel, and the toxins and carcinogens it contains are concentrated into coal ash when it is burned.

Coal ash poses an undeniable human health hazard. It contains particles up to 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair, so it is easily ingested or trapped in the lungs. Once in the body, its chemical cocktail can lead to cancer, heart damage, lung disease, kidney disease, and birth defects — with especially severe damage to children. The EPA found that living within a single mile of a coal ash disposal site causes a 1-in-50 lifetime risk of cancer.

This raises the crucial, life-and-death question: Where is coal ash stored?

Are plastics and microplastics in the Ocean on the increase?

Read the full story from the University of Malta.

A new study reviews a plethora of marine litter monitoring survey and modelling data available for different regions of the world ocean in order to determine if microplastic pollution in the ocean is increasing.

5 cool measurement tools attempting to quantify regenerative agriculture

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Many practices are associated with regenerative agriculture — anything from no-till practices to pesticide-free farming. What’s more, the concept means different things for different crops in different regions. What is considered regenerative in one location might not qualify for the same label under other agricultural conditions. 

It’s clear the food and agriculture sector needs to start defining regenerative agriculture specifically and measuring it quantitatively — it’s essential for the concept to scale. Some practitioners and regenerative ag pioneers are piloting new technologies to help with that process. These new tools — under development or in the early phases of testing — are helping put numbers to the abstract concept of regenerative agriculture and helping measure metrics such as biodiversity, carbon sequestration and other soil health considerations. 

Following is a list of five emerging options, focused on two primary concerns, measuring biodiversity on agricultural land and gauging soil health and carbon levels. 

Impact Of “Hazardous Substance” CERCLA Designation On State Superfund Laws

Read the full story at JD Supra.

We’ve discussed in our previous posts the process that EPA will likely use to designate PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances,” how that designation will impact responsible parties, and what effects it may have on current EPA-lead investigations and remediations. In this article we discuss how the process may impact states that are also addressing PFAS. Many states have “superfund” laws modelled on CERCLA that allow those states to respond to contamination and to seek cost recovery from responsible parties for a release of a “hazardous substance” into the environment.

Agreeing on Research and Counting Carbon

Read the full story at Progressive Farmer.

Multiple policy groups are issuing recommendations on where federal policy needs increased research or investment on agriculture and climate change.

A small flurry of policy white reports and reports came out this week from the policy group AGree, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and Solutions from the Land. Each offered some recommendations on where federal policy should move when it comes to research and investment in agriculture and climate change.

The three publications summarized in the article are:

Webinar: Behavioral Strategies To Ditch Desktop Printers

March 25, 2021, 203 pm CDT
Register here.

Replacing individual desktop printers with shared ‘multi-function’ printers (MFPs) is one of the most impactful ways campuses can reduce paper use. It also generates a suite of other benefits, including cost savings on paper, energy, ink/toner, increased security, and reduced demand on IT staff time. Drawing on AASHE and Root Solution’s recent publication, Ditching Desktop Printers: A Behavior Change Guide to Cutting Paper Use, Energy Consumption and Costs, this webinar will provide step-by-step guidance for implementing a printer consolidation campaign, including potential intervention ideas based on the results of these surveys.

Ditching Desktop Printers: A Behavior Change Guide to Cutting Paper Use, Energy Consumption, and Costs

Download the document.

Replacing individual desktop printers with a shared office or department ‘multi-function’ printer (MFP) is one of the most impactful ways campuses can reduce paper use. It also generates a suite of other benefits, including cost savings on paper, energy, ink/toner, increased security, and reduced demand on IT staff time.

This report examines some of the barriers to and motivators for making the switch as uncovered in surveys given to staff and faculty across six higher education campuses. It provides step-by-step guidance for implementing a printer consolidation campaign, including potential intervention ideas based on the results of these surveys.

Safer Alternatives to PFAS in Food Packaging: Report to the Legislature

Download the document.

Ecology’s Legislative Report on Safer Alternatives to PFAS in food packaging fulfills the requirements of RCW 70A.222.070, which restricts the manufacture, distribution, and sale in Washington of “food packaging to which per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals have been intentionally added in any amount” if safer alternatives to PFAS in food packaging are identified.

Submitting this report begins a two-year timeline that will restrict PFAS in four types of food packaging beginning in early 2023.

Firefighters face lies, ‘phony’ studies on PFAS exposure

Read the full story from E&E News.

Firefighters attempting to uncover the truth about carcinogens in their protective clothing are confronted with the same playbook chemical companies have used for decades: twisting science to deny and downplay the dangers of their products.

The True Cost of Nutrition Neglect — And How Regenerative Agriculture Can Tip the Scale

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Today’s industrial farming practices have made it difficult to find nourishment. Industrial farming practices have taken a toll on the crops we’re growing, starting with the soil — which could carry grave implications for health and development across the country. “Poor soils can impede a nation’s progress to improve incomes and nutrition by increasing the likelihood of crop and livestock failures,” reads a 2016 report commissioned by the Barack Obama administration.

The report goes on to suggest, in detail, the need for regenerative farming practices, but its recommendations were ultimately tabled. Kickstarting regenerative agricultural practices requires both patience and funding. A growing group of regenerative farming advocates believe funding for sustainable USDA initiatives today will lead to a reduction in the need for HHS spending in the future. That is, if the USDA pushes for a shift back to heritage farming practices. 

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