Wrap-up of federal and state chemical regulatory developments, May 2022

Read the full round-up of actions at JD Supra. The article includes links to podcasts, meeting recordings, and Federal Register notices.

EPA launches modernized Design for the Environment logo for disinfectant and other antimicrobial products

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new, modern Design for the Environment (DfE) logo that will appear on antimicrobial products like disinfectants and sanitizers within the next year. EPA’s DfE logo helps consumers and commercial buyers identify antimicrobial products that meet the health and safety standards of the normal pesticide registration process required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) as well as other rigorous criteria required by the agency

An image displays: On the left, the old DfE logo, featuring a globe; in the middle, a right-pointing arrow; and on the right, the new logo, featuring text, a web address, and an image.

“Protecting the health and safety of our families and our homes is central to EPA’s mission,” said Michal Freedhoff, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “EPA is excited to take the DfE program to the next level with a bold, new logo to further empower consumers to make environmentally and health-conscious buying decisions.”

To further EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment, in 2009, the DfE program began including products that sanitize and disinfect, including wipes and sprays used to treat surfaces like countertops, tubs, tile, and toilets. To qualify for the DfE logo, every ingredient in a product must meet a rigorous set of chemical and toxicological standards.

EPA has seen a surge of engagement in the last few years from consumers, schools, and other organizations who want to know more about how the products they use affect their health and the environment—and who are eager to make the most responsible purchasing choices they can. The updated logo released today should make DfE-certified products easier for purchasers to find, which in turn will encourage companies to seek certification for their products.

Companies who make products carrying the DfE logo have invested heavily in research and reformulation to ensure that their products meet the DfE certification requirements. Pursuing DfE certification provides an opportunity for companies to work toward their sustainability goals.

DfE products meet criteria that evaluate human health and environmental effects, product performance, packaging, and ingredients. The requirements are intended to:

  • minimize any possible risks to human health by excluding ingredients that might have the potential to negatively impact young children, cause cancer, or have other negative effects;
  • further protect fish and other aquatic life;
  • minimize pollution of air or waterways and prevent harmful chemicals from being added to the land; and
  • ensure products have no unresolved compliance, enforcement, or efficacy issues.

EPA does not consider the logo to be an endorsement. Similar to saying a pesticide is “EPA-registered” because EPA has found it meets the registration standard, the DfE logo indicates that the product has been reviewed and meets the FIFRA registration standard as well as the standards for the DfE program.

To learn about the process for seeking DfE certification for antimicrobial products, see EPA’s website.

This rooftop coating uses sunlight to actively cool your house

Read the full story from Fast Company.

SolCold designed a four-layer material that absorbs some particles of light—then uses them to conduct a reaction that turns heat into a cooling mechanism.

Four Pillars opens green distillery

Read the full story at The Spirits Business.

Australian producer Four Pillars has opened the doors to its AU$7 million (US$5.2m) distillery, the country’s first carbon-neutral gin site.

A quiet revolution: Southwest cities learn to thrive amid drought

Read the full story at e360.

Facing a changing climate, some southwestern U.S. cities such as San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas have embraced innovative strategies for conserving and sourcing water, providing these metropolitan areas with sufficient water supplies to support their growing populations.

Sharing what you see outside could help research. Here’s how to do that in 3 steps

Read the full story from NPR.

If you’ve been forced to stay close to home and spend more time outside like millions of Americans in the past couple of years, you might have noticed a lot more of what happens – naturally – in your neighborhood. From the songs of sparrows outside your apartment window to the purple crocuses bursting into bloom in a nearby park – all that nature you’re observing could actually be helpful to scientists.

Regular people like you and me can share what we see with scientists through apps and websites. That’s called “citizen” or “community” science. With our observations, we can help professional scientists study everything from the migratory patterns of birds to neighborhood air quality.

Why would scientists want to crowdsource? “A single scientist can work for years trying to collect as many observations as a crowdsourced project could collect in a month,” explains Maiz Connolly, the community science coordinator at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

There are thousands of community science projects out there, and if you’ve got a smartphone or computer, you can participate in them. Here’s how to get started:

Diageo partners with ecoSPIRITS for circular packaging solutions

Read the full story at Beverage Daily.

Diageo is partnering with tech company ecoSPIRITS to pilot a sustainable packaging format for Smirnoff and Captain Morgan.

A community of seed savers has a recipe to revive rare varieties of collard greens

Read the full story from NPR.

Ira Wallace ambles around the butcher block countertop in the kitchen she shares with a community of farmers in central Virginia. She has separated a single leaf from the large baskets of unusual, parti-colored collard greens she got from a friend’s farm. Its creamy-white veins stretch upward across the green leaf, narrowing as they reach purple-tinged tips.

“Purple is a color that develops in the winter much more strongly,” Wallace explains, as she probes the frost-damaged leaf. “But look at that color! And that’s anthocyanins. They’re supposed to make you healthier.”

These aren’t commercially produced collard greens typically sold in supermarkets or restaurants. Many of the heirloom varieties Wallace and her friends grow are rare, some once teetering on extinction. Other types can likely be found in backroad gardens of aging stewards, but countless varieties have vanished in the U.S.

There was once a kaleidoscope of diversity in collards, as people diligently collected and replanted seeds, passing them from one generation to the next to preserve the qualities they found most important. Collards — an inexpensive, nutrient-rich vegetable — became a staple for many Southern families, especially African Americans trying to feed their families healthy food year-round.

Youth climate activists say community helps with mental health strain

Read the full story from Teen Vogue.

It makes sense that the stakes feel so high for young climate activists. Climate activism centers on an existential crisis — the end of the world as we know it. But these same activists are also human. All that pressure can test the limits of their mental health. And when that happens, they turn to the people who can understand what they’re going through — their peers who are going through the very same thing.

Working out the details of a circular solar economy

Read the full story from NREL.

A new software model helps researchers consider what to do with end-of-life solar modules, guiding society toward a circular economy for these materials.