Watchdog: Lack of DOD action may have caused ‘preventable’ risks from ‘forever chemicals’

Read the full story at The Hill.

A report from an internal watchdog says that a lack of action from the Defense Department may have led to people being exposed to “preventable” risks from toxic chemicals. 

The department’s inspector general (IG) said in a report issued last week that in 2011, Defense officials issued an alert saying that firefighting foam that had a type of chemicals known as PFAS in it contained “chemicals that present human health and environmental risks and require special handling and disposal.”

JetBlue signs new sustainable aviation fuel partnership for LAX flights

Read the full story at ESG Today.

JetBlue announced today an expansion of its Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) program, with the launch of a new partnership with World Energy and World Fuel Services. The new agreement will enable JetBlue to begin using SAF on flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), starting this month.

A Proof-of-Concept Case Study Integrating Publicly Available Information to Screen Candidates for Chemical Prioritization under TSCA

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Regulatory agencies world-wide are looking to efficiently integrate information on chemical substances in order to inform priorities for decisions and data requests. This document updates the long-term strategy described in the Working Approach and presents the Public Information Curation and Synthesis (PICS) approach that integrates publicly-available hazard, exposure, persistence, and bioaccumulation information for chemical substances. This approach is not designed to replace the prioritization process described in TSCA but aims to increase efficiency and focus expert review on substances that may have a greater potential for selection as a high- or low-priority candidate.

Full document citation: U.S. EPA. A Proof-of-Concept Case Study Integrating Publicly Available Information to Screen Candidates for Chemical Prioritization under TSCA. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-21-106, 2021.

Wolf wars: As Michigan packs grow, a battle brews over killing the predators

Read the full story at Bridge Michigan.

While the governor-appointed Michigan Natural Resources Council prepares to decide whether to allow wolf hunting in Michigan, advocates and foes of the iconic and deeply divisive canid are locked in a struggle for influence over the next era of Michigan’s wolf management program.

EPA researchers evaluate electrostatic sprayers for disinfectant application

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

While the latest research shows that COVID-19 is primarily caused by airborne transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, there is still some risk that people may be exposed to the virus from contact with contaminated surfaces. Therefore, CDC still recommends routine cleaning and disinfection of potentially contaminated surfaces. Businesses and institutions, including some airlines, schools, and transit agencies, have been using electrostatic sprayers to clean and disinfect large surface areas quickly and effectively that are frequently touched by many people. EPA researchers, at the request of stakeholders, were asked to evaluate how  these sprayers worked.

DOE working to develop building materials from carbon ore

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

The US Department of Energy is working to develop and commercialize a new class of building materials made from carbon ore. The materials could be used in both the precast and cast-in-place construction markets as a cementitious substitute for Portland cement, the world’s predominant building material. The DOE selected C-Crete Technologies as a partner.

Large-scale CO2 conversion to bioplastic: Dutch Photanol factory in Delfzijl takes first step

Read the full story at Innovation Origins.

For the first time, the Photanol Factory in Groningen is working with special bacteria that convert CO2 into raw materials for bioplastics.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professor Ting Lu jointly presented with 1 million euro Future Insight Prize for converting waste into food

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

Ting Lu, a professor of bioengineering at The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign received the 2021 Future Insight Prize. Established by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, the Future Insight Prize aims to stimulate innovative solutions to solve some of humanity’s greatest problems and to realize dreams for a better tomorrow in the areas of health, nutrition and energy. The prize comes with €1 million ($1.19 million) of research funding to incentivize winners whose work has enabled significant progress towards making this vision a reality.

This year, the theme of the Future Insight Prize is food generation with a target to convert non-edible biomass to edible biomass. Lu shared the prize with Stephen Techtmann, an associate professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University. The duo were presented with the prize by Mrs. Anja Karliczek, the Federal Minister of Education and Research of Germany, and Dr. Belén Garijo, the Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, during the 2021 Future Insight Days conference. Lu and Techtmann are recognized for their work which uses microbes and chemicals to break down end-of-life plastics and transform them into edible food.

UK grocery chain slashes energy consumption by 35% with data monitoring, optimization

Read the full story at Energy + Environment Leader.

Asda, one of the UK’s largest grocery store chains, has slashed energy costs at its refrigeration plants by reducing energy use by five GWh over the past five years; the chain has also reduced CO2 emissions by 1,100 metric tons over the same period, by optimizing energy efficiency across nine chilled distribution centers.

What will it take for brands to design products that aren’t disposable?

Read the full story at Fast Company.

The new book Meaningful Stuff: Design That Lasts examines how product design can move from planned obsolescence to a new model of repair, reuse, and longevity.