A win for science: EPA releases formaldehyde study the chemical industry tried to suppress

Read the full story at Clean Technica.

The EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) draft assessment found that breathing even small quantities of formaldehyde throughout a person’s lifetime is associated with an increased risk of leukemia and the development of head, neck and sinus cancer; asthma; allergies; decreased lung function; and even reproductive issues.

Here’s what the EPA’s new rule on gas power plants might look like

Read the full story at Inside Climate News.

The Environmental Protection Agency released a draft white paper Thursday that gives the public a glimpse into the possible requirements the agency might include in a highly-anticipated new rule that seeks to rein in climate-warming emissions from natural gas power plants, the nation’s leading source of electricity.

The agency is seeking public comment on the paper, which explores a host of different technologies and other options that states, Tribes and power companies could be required to adopt under a new rule to make their gas-fired power plants more efficient and cleaner—something the agency said is critical for battling climate change as projections of natural gas use point to continued growth for the foreseeable future.

Despite new regulations, US faces major asbestos problem

Read the full story at The Hill.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently took a big step toward curbing asbestos use, but experts say that even with the new regulations exposure to the substance is expected to remain a problem for years to come.

It has been estimated the substance lingers in more than 700,000 public and commercial buildings in the U.S., leaving millions of people potentially vulnerable, particularly maintenance workers, construction crews and firefighters.

Sustainable Baking Guide


King Arthur Baking has created a sustainable baking guide to help home cooks choose better ingredients, reduce waste, embrace plant-based baking, and reduce single use plastic.

Indiana DEM seeks engineers for two pollution prevention and compliance assistance positions

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), Office of Program Support,  Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance Section is hiring for two Senior Environmental Management positions.  Both are regional positions that cover pollution prevention voluntary programs as well as provide compliance and technical assistance to businesses and others needing confidential regulatory assistance. 

One is located in the  IDEM Northwest Regional Office in Valparaiso, Indiana (Close to Chicago, IL) and the other is in the IDEM Southwest Regional Office in Petersburg, IN (near Evansville, IN)

Anheuser-Busch funds recycling competition

Read the full story at Waste Today.

St. Louis-based brewer and beverage producer Anheuser-Busch has launched a program involving Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Football League (NFL) teams designed as a “multi-sports league coalition aiming to reduce waste on game day.”

The beverage maker says its National Recycling League “will leverage the scale and reach of the brewer’s professional sports team and league partnerships to elevate how the beverage industry encourages recycling. The National Recycling League aims to create meaningful connections between Anheuser-Busch’s brands including Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, its league and team partners, and sports fans nationwide to raise awareness of the need for recycling and drive key recycling behaviors among consumers wherever they cheer on their favorite team – whether it’s in-stadium, at home or at a neighborhood bar.”

Charlie Brown and friends celebrate the environment

Read the full story at Treehugger.

Charlie Brown has had a bit of a frustrating relationship with the Earth. There’s that aggravating tree that always eats his kite. And one time his friends turned his beloved baseball field into a garden.

Through the years in the comic strip and in TV specials, the Peanuts gang has long cared for the Earth. And now this month, there are two new nature-related specials featuring Charlie and his pals for Earth Day and Arbor Day.

Food pantries that give away stuff people can’t or won’t cook have an ‘acorn squash problem’

Not everyone’s up for converting this vegetable into a side or main dish. duckycards/E+ via Getty Images

by Diana Cuy Castellanos, University of Dayton and John C. Jones, Virginia Commonwealth University

A major problem with how food donation currently works in the United States is that a lot of the calories in those boxes and bags come from items that aren’t particularly healthy, such as packaged snacks.

This arrangement is troubling in part because of the high rates of nutrition-related illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes, among low-income people who rely on donated food.

As a result, food banks and pantries around the country have been trying to boost the nutritional value of the food they give away. Their clients are going home with more leafy greens and less processed cheese.

That shift affects millions of people. About 1 in 5 Americans obtained food at no cost from a food bank, food pantry or a similar program in 2020.

Providing healthier food may sound like a worthy goal. But what happens if the people receiving it lack the ability to prepare, say, acorn squash? What if they would prefer more boxes of mac-and-cheese rather than a hard-to-slice winter vegetable that has mild, buttery taste when roasted in a hot oven? What if someone sees an acorn squash not as something to eat but as a fall-themed decorative item?

Food pantry volunteers wearing masks organize boxes of produce.
Food pantries, like this one in rural Virginia, are increasingly making produce a priority. AP Photo/Steve Helber

Boiling it down to eight questions

As a dietitian who studies food insecurity and an environmental studies scholar who examines food-based inequalities, we have researched what we’re calling an “acorn squash problem.” It happens when certain foods are given to people who don’t like them or can’t cook them.

We’ve identified eight main reasons donated food can be undesirable. If someone visiting a food pantry wouldn’t say yes to all eight of these questions, the food may go to waste.

  1. Is this edible?
  2. Is it something I want to eat?
  3. Would I know how to cook this?
  4. Do I have the tools required?
  5. Can I store it safely until I’m ready?
  6. Do I have the time to prepare something with this ingredient?
  7. Do I have time to consume it?
  8. Will I be able to get all this food home?

Researchers have found that people are about half as likely to eat the turnips, beets and other root vegetables they get from food banks as more familiar and more easily prepared veggies. If donated food goes to waste, it isn’t helping people get enough to eat – undercutting its entire purpose.

Distributing recipes and holding cooking classes

Roasted acorn squash slices strewn with nuts and pomegranate seeds
An acorn squash serving suggestion. Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post

The government provides much of this food, but individuals, nonprofits, restaurants and grocery stores also contribute. All told, these donations add up to about 6.6 billion meals a year. But how high is the quality of all this donated food and how much is actually eaten?

Some food banks and food pantries are making changes to ensure that the people who visit them leave with items that they will eat. They are distributing cookbooks, making recipe apps available and offering cooking classes. And some let people make choices when they obtain free food instead of receiving an already packaged selection.

But it remains to be seen whether these efforts can resolve the acorn squash problem.

Diana Cuy Castellanos, Assistant Professor of Dietetics and Nutrition, University of Dayton and John C. Jones, Assistant Professor of Urban Food Systems, Virginia Commonwealth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

DOE eyes hydrogen, thermal storage to shrink carbon footprint of fossil fuel plants

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management is investing $2.4 million in three projects that are exploring the potential of energy storage technologies to shrink the carbon footprint of existing fossil fuel plants.

The technologies — including high-temperature thermal energy storage and hydrogen storage — could help bolster grid reliability and affordability, while also potentially supporting the Biden administration’s goal to decarbonize the electric grid by 2035, according to DOE.

As the grid is increasingly powered by non-emitting resources, storage will play a role in matching variable generation with load, Haresh Kamath, the Electric Power Research Institute’s program manager for energy storage, said. “This [effort] puts it in place in locations already connected up to the grid” and creates a pathway for these assets to be transitioned from fossil fuels to storage, he added.

This timber company sold millions of dollars of useless carbon offsets

Read the full story at Bloomberg.

Now Lyme Timber CEO Jim Hourdequin wants to fix a broken system to create a market that actually helps slow climate change.