Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Monday, August 25, 2014
Questionable additive okay for toothpaste but not hand soap?
Starting in 2017, the state of Minnesota will ban the use of an antibacterial chemical in consumer products. Triclosan has been found in the waters and fish of the Great Lakes, and a number of health organizations in Canada are urging their government to ban the chemical as well. Recently Bloomberg looked at the process of how triclosan was considered for use in some brands of toothpaste. Current State's Melissa Benmark speaks with article's author, Tiffany Kary, to learn more about the potential dangers of triclosan. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 8/24/14

Saving Money Is No. 1 Sustainability Driver
Saving money is the no. 1 reason executives give for moving towards more environmentally sustainable business practices, according to a Grant Thornton report. Source: Envrionmental Leader, 8/25/14

How business can keep clean water flowing
Private investments productively and profitably can be diverted toward improving agricultural and urban watersheds, says TNC. Source: GreenBiz, 8/25/14

Finding the Money for Water Infrastructure
A new federal loan program, patterned after a successful one for transportation, has a lot of potential for badly needed water projects. Source: Governing, 7/21/14

Study: Cutting emissions pays for itself
Lower rates of asthma and other health problems are frequently cited as benefits of policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions from sources like power plants and vehicles, because these policies also lead to reductions in other harmful types of air pollution. But just how large are the health benefits of cleaner air in comparison to the costs of reducing carbon emissions? MIT researchers looked at three policies achieving the same reductions in the United States, and found that the savings on health care spending and other costs related to illness can be big -- in some cases, more than 10 times the cost of policy implementation. Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 8/24/14

Chromium-Free Coatings Technology Nets National Innovation Award
A chromium-free paint developed through research at North Dakota State University, Fargo, and licensed to Elinor Specialty Coatings, Inc., is a 2014 TechConnect National Innovation Awardee. Elinor licensed the technology through the NDSU Research Foundation, and developed Aluma45 MgRP, a chromium-free magnesium-rich primer for use on aluminum-alloys and composites in ship, automotive and construction materials manufacturing. Aluma45 can be used directly on bare metal, eliminating chromium-based pre-treatments, which reduces weight, manufacturing time and costs, while eliminating toxic chromium coating procedures and disposal. Source: North Dakota State University, 8/22/14

Friday, August 22, 2014
Seafood substitutions can expose consumers to unexpectedly high mercury
New measurements from fish purchased at retail seafood counters in 10 different states show the extent to which mislabeling can expose consumers to unexpectedly high levels of mercury, a harmful pollutant. Source: University of Hawai'i Manoa, 8/18/14

Antibacterial Soap Exposes Health Workers to High Triclosan Levels
Handwashing with antibacterial soap exposes hospital workers to significant and potentially unsafe levels of triclosan, a widely-used chemical currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to a study led by researchers from UC San Francisco. Source: University of California San-Francisco, 8/19/14

BPA-Free Plastic Containers May Be Just as Hazardous
Animal studies find that a replacement compound for the estrogen-mimicking chemical bisphenol A may also be harmful to human health. Source: Scientific American, 8/11/14

Scientists Discover 56 Active Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater Treatment Plants
Scientists have identified 56 active pharmaceutical ingredients in effluent samples from 50 large wastewater treatment plants across the USA, according to a report published in Environmental Pollution. Source: Elsevier, 8/22/14

Can Urban Agriculture Work on a Commercial Scale?
An urban farm in Montreal is scaling the industry "with more software than farmers." Source: CityLab, 8/22/14

Understanding the origin of products is key to ending supply chain scandals
Knowing the ingredients in, and origin of, a product is not just ethically right, it makes business sense too Source: The Guardian, 8/22/14

Just too many toxic tubes
Thinking about recycling that old behemoth television or computer monitor gathering dust in the basement? You might want to hold off for a while. A glut of now-obsolete technology -- the glass cathode ray tube used in multiple millions of televisions and computer monitors -- has turned into a toxic millstone threatening to drag down the state's four-year-old consumer electronics recycling law. Source: Albany Times-Union, 8/9/14

Thursday, August 21, 2014
Conflict minerals reports are filed, but what do they say?
Most filers in this initial disclosure year were unable to determine the origin of conflict minerals (tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold, known collectively as 3TG) in their products. They described their conflict minerals status as "undeterminable" or made no declaration. While some stakeholders were anxious to see what companies had to say, those participating in efforts to comply with the SEC's new conflict mineral rule know well the challenges of completing these first-year filings. The complexity of supply chains created challenges for most companies. And there is still a long way to go. Ernst & Young's recent study of conflict minerals filings -- which may help serve as an early guide to the 3TG disclosure landscape and help facilitate an assessment of how companies compare -- found data about reporting across all SEC reporting companies. Source: GreenBiz.com, 8/19/14

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Upcoming report tracks P2 results at U.S. public agencies
The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable and the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange collaborate on an ambitious effort to grow and maintain a national database of P2 Results. The database focuses on a variety of measures with a goal to document the efforts of some 90 U.S. government agencies and technical assistance providers to improve environmental performance. Such efforts include activities by government and technical assistance providers; behavior changes by industry; reductions in waste, energy consumption and water usage; and economic gains achieved through these activities. The tri-annual NPPR report of these results is to be released next month during National P2 week. Source: GreenBiz, 8/20/14

Water Utilities Are Starting to Take Their Own Conservation Advice
Wastewater treatment plants are often the biggest consumers of electricity in their areas. Gresham, Ore., and Washington, D.C., are making moves to change that. Source: Governing, August 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Illinois coal plant owners say they've done their part
Owners of coal- and natural gas-fired power plants in Illinois told regulators Monday that they should look to other generators to reduce the state's carbon footprint. Source: Chicago Tribune, 8/19/14

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