Be Safe

epa

EPA Adds Two, Proposes Six Hazardous Waste Sites to Superfund’s National Priorities List

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Cleaning up hazardous waste sites protects human health, raises property value, and facilitates the economic restoration of communities

Release Date: 03/24/2015 Contact Information: George Hull (News Media Only), hull.george@epa.gov202-564-0790

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding two hazardous waste sites that pose risks to human health and the environment to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites, reducing health impacts, including protecting infant health, and encouraging economic revitalization of a formerly toxic site. In addition, the agency is proposing to add sixadditional sites to the list.

“By updating the NPL, we continue to fulfill our mission to protect public health and the environment by cleaning up contaminated land and returning formerly toxic sites to communities for productive use,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Superfund cleanups help advance the economic well-being of communities by turning contaminated properties into productive community resources that can enhance property values, create jobs and broaden tax bases.”

Recent academic research contributes more evidence that Superfund cleanups help protect public health. An academic study,Superfund Cleanups and Infant Health, demonstrated that investment in Superfund cleanups reduces the incidence of congenital abnormalities for those living within 5,000 meters (or 5,468 yards) of a site.

Today, more than 800 Superfund sites across the nation support some type of continued use, active reuse or planned reuse activities. EPA found at 450 of the 800 sites, at the end of fiscal year 2014, there were ongoing operations of approximately 3,400 businesses, generating annual sales of more than $65 billion and employing more than 89,000 people. Another study conducted by researchers at Duke and Pittsburgh Universities, concluded that making a site final on the NPL may increase housing prices by signaling that a site will be cleaned up. Furthermore, the study found that once a site has all cleanup remedies in place, nearby properties have a significant increase in property values as compared to pre-NPL proposal values. The following two sites have been added to the NPL:

  • Indiana – Kokomo Contaminated Ground Water Plume (ground water plume) in Kokomo, Ind.
  • Michigan – DSC McLouth Steel Gibraltar Plant (steel finishing operation) in Gibraltar, Mich.

The following six sites have been proposed for addition to the NPL:

  • Illinois – Estech General Chemical Company (pesticide manufacturer) in Calumet City, Ill.
  • Louisiana – Colonial Creosote (wood treatment plant) in Bogalusa, La.
  • Massachusetts – BJAT LLC (various industrial operations) in Franklin, Mass.
  • Montana – Anaconda Aluminum Company Columbia Falls Reduction Plant (aluminum smelter) in Columbia Falls, Mont.
  • Texas – Main Street Ground Water Plume (ground water plume) in Burnet, Tex.
  • Washington – Grain Handling Facility at Freeman (grain handling facility) in Freeman, Wash.

The Superfund program, a federal program established by Congress in 1980, investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country and converts them into productive community resources by eliminating or reducing public health risks and environmental contamination associated with hazardous waste sites.

The sites announced today have characteristics and conditions that vary in terms of size, complexity and contamination. As with all NPL sites, EPA first works to identify the parties responsible for the contamination at a site, and requires them to conduct or pay for the cleanup. For the newly added sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting substantial cleanup at the site.

Past and current uses of the sites announced today include pesticide manufacturing, aluminum smelting, grain handling, wood treatment and steel finishing operations. Improper hazardous waste management associated with these activities, led to the release of numerous site contaminants into the environment, including lead, mercury, zinc and other metals; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and chlorinated solvents, such as vinyl chloride. Contamination affects surface water, ground water, soil and wetlands.

The Kokomo Contaminated Ground Water Plume is in an area with facilities that handle chlorinated solvents, however no source has been identified. The plume is approximately 294 acres and encompasses several municipal wells in the city. Approximately 55,000 Kokomo residents rely on drinking water from the affected well field.

The DSC McLouth Steel Gibraltar Plant Area site is a former steel processing facility which ceased operations in the mid- 1990’s where mismanaged leachate control systems have resulted in contamination to adjacent creeks and drains leading to the Detroit River.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the enactment of the Comprehensive Environmental, Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program. Superfund’s passage was a giant step forward in cleaning up industrial waste sites to help ensure human health and environmental protection. The Superfund law gives EPA the authority to clean up releases of hazardous substances and directs EPA to update the NPL at least annually. The NPL contains the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites. The list serves as the basis for prioritizing both enforcement actions and long-term EPA Superfund cleanup funding; only sites on the NPL are eligible for such funding.

Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm

Information about how a site is listed on the NPL: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/npl_hrs.htm

Superfund sites in local communities: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/index.htm

More information about the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program, can be found at: http://epa.gov/superfund/policy/cercla.htm

5-My-Little-Pony-Getty

Toys from the Seventies and Eighties could be poisoning your children

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Nostalgia can be dangerous! Before passing on old toys to your children, consider new research that has found contaminants like arsenic, lead and cadmium in plastic toys from decades ago.

Read More.

EWG

Take action for safer chemicals

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The San Francisco Chronicle recently discovered that the new bill intended to regulate the chemical industry was written by… the chemical industry.

That’s right. The American Chemistry Council, the leading trade organization and lobbying arm of the chemical industry, has left its fingerprints all over the very legislation that is supposed to regulate it.

Click here to take action right away and call for REAL toxics reform.

It would almost be laughable if there were not so much at stake – but this could not be more serious, Friend. This bill would fail to ensure that chemicals are safe, fail to set meaningful deadlines for safety reviews, fail to provide the Environmental Protection Agency with adequate resources and deny states the ability to enforce their own laws to protect public health and the environment.

Earlier this week I testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and presented the facts in opposition to this reprehensible bill. Now it’s your turn to speak up, too.

Click here to stand with EWG right now: Tell President Obama and your senators to reject the chemical industry’s bogus bill and support REAL reform!

If we don’t act quick, the first major, comprehensive environmental protection bill to emerge from Congress in almost a generation will be one that originated in the chemical industry – the very industry the bill purports to regulate.

We need to do everything we can to make sure that Congress enacts real chemical safety reform – not a bill blatantly written to protect the profits of the chemical industry. It’s time to shut down the bill written by the chemical industry and to protect the health of the American people!

Please speak up right now and tell President Obama and your senators that we need real chemical reform that protects the American people, not the chemical industry.

frackingwell

New Rule On Fracking Wells

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The rules only apply to all fracking on land owned by the US government.  However, they are the first federal standards to regulate the process – by which a mix of chemicals and water are injected into the ground in order to drill for oil and natural gas. Read more.

Ohio Fracking Protest

No Fracking In Ohio Parks

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In a surprising move for a polarized Ohio legislature controlled by far-right Republicans cozy with fossil fuel interests, its House Energy and Natural Resources committee voted 12-0 Tuesday to ban fracking in state parks. The full bill, which aims to speed up the drilling permitting process, was then passed unanimously on the House floor Wednesday. It now heads to the Senate. Read more.

congress

Chemical Industry Gets Free Pass in Vitter-Udall Bill: NYU Study Links Toxic Chemicals to Billions in Health Care Costs

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Contact: Kathy Curtis, Clean and Healthy New York and the Workgroup for Public Policy Reform, (518) 708-3922kathy@cleanhealthyny.org

(New York, NY) A new bill that claims to update how chemicals are regulated in the United States, introduced today by Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Tom Udall (D-NM), is a sweet deal for the chemical industry that would keep exposing Americans to harmful chemicals while exposing the nation to billions in health care costs, a coalition of community, environmental and health groups said today.

The groups pointed to a new study by New York University that documents over $100 billion a year in health care costs in the European Union for diseases associated with endocrine disrupting chemicals, including IQ loss, ADHD, infertility, diabetes and other disorders that have been rising in the U.S.


The Vitter-Udall bill, introduced on Tuesday, March 10th, purports to update the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, which was meant to protect the public from harmful chemicals but which has allowed tens of thousands of chemicals – including chemicals that cause cancer and other problems noted above – into the marketplace with little or no health and safety testing.

“New research links toxic chemicals with a range of illnesses and billions of dollars in health care costs, yet Senators Udall and Vitter are proposing a bill that doesn’t address major problems with current policies and would give the chemical industry a free pass to keep exposing Americans to harmful chemicals for decades to come,” said Katie Huffling, RN, CNM, Director of Programs for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, a network of nurses across the U.S. who have been working to reform TSCA.

“The chemical industry should not be allowed to draft the very laws meant to regulate them,” said Richard Moore from Los Jardines Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, also with the Environmental Justice Health Alliance.  “We need serious chemical reform that protects the health of all people including those who are living in ‘hot spots’ or ‘sacrifice zones’ – typically communities of color — that are highly impacted by chemical factories.”  Moore continued,  “It seems that my own Senator, Senator Udall, has forgotten the needs of his constituents in favor of meeting the needs of his industry friends.”  The New York Times reported last week that Sen. Udall has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the chemical industry.

Dorothy Felix from Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN) in Louisiana, said, “Because of the failure of TSCA, our community is faced with extensive toxic pollution that is causing us to consider relocating.  Senator Vitter and other legislators are well aware of these toxic impacts yet they are proposing a bill that would be even worse than current law. Let’s be clear: Senator Vitter’s bill is good for the chemical industry, not for the people who live daily with the consequences of toxic chemical exposures.”

“Chemical industry influence over the Vitter-Udall bill is unacceptable and the authors need to come back to the table and listen to the huge community of environmental and health groups that have been working on TSCA reform for decades,” said Martha Arguello, Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles.

“The regulatory framework for chemicals must protect health, especially the most vulnerable members of our society, and also must allow states to regulate toxic chemicals in order to protect their communities,” said Kathy Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York.  “State actions to protect their own residents are the only thing prompting federal action, and states should not lose that right.”


“We need 21st century, solution-based laws that empower agencies and people to live in a society that safeguards our health and environment.  This bill falls short of that goal,” said Jose Bravo, Executive Director of the Just Transition Alliance.   “The bill is called the ‘Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act’ but unfortunately it is a horrible reminder of what industry special interests can do to undermine our personal and environmental health.”

The groups are part of the Coming Clean coalition’s Workgroup for Public Policy Reform, which is advocating for TSCA reform to include the six principles outlined in the Louisville Charter for Safer Chemicals:


  • ·         Require safer substitutes and solutions;
  • ·         Phase out persistent, bioaccumulative or highly toxic chemicals;
  • ·         Give the public and workers the full right to know;
  • ·         Act on early warnings;
  • ·         Require comprehensive safety data on all chemicals;
  • ·         Take immediate action to protect communities and workers

The Charter, in effect since 2004, provides a framework for comprehensive chemical policy reform in a manner that protects public health, preserves the environment and supports innovation for safer chemical solutions.


For more information on the Louisville Charter and federal chemical policy reform, including statements from other organizations on the newly-introduced TSCA bill, see www.smartpolicyreform.org.

- See more at: http://smartpolicyreform.org/for-the-media/news-items/chemical-industry-gets-free-pass-in-vitter-udall-bill-nyu-study-links-toxic-chemicals-to-billions-in-health-care-costs?f=87#sthash.P5EFY7Sf.dpuf

plasticbottles

EU Commission plans to restrict phthalates

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The European Commission has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it intends to restrict the phthalates DEHP, BBP, DBP and DiBP under the revised EU Directive on the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS2) in electrical and electronic equipment (CW 7 February 2014).

Read More!

CDC

New data – Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals

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CDC’s Division of Laboratory Sciences released the Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, an ongoing biomonitoring assessment of the U.S. population’s exposure to environmental chemicals.

The Updated Tables, February, 2015 provides nationally-representative biomonitoring data from CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that have become available since the publication of the Fourth Report in 2009.

The Updated Tables, February 2015 presents data for a total of 265 chemicals, of which 65 are new and 139 have been updated since the release of the last version. This release includes previous updates to the tables and provides new data for some metals, pthalates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

For a complete list of the chemicals included in this update visit the Report Web Page.

couch

Nation’s biggest furniture retailer drops flame retardants

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The nation’s largest furniture retailer is purging flame retardants from its product lines, the strongest evidence yet that the toxic, ineffective chemicals are on the way out of household couches and chairs.

In an emailed statement, Wisconsin-based Ashley Furniture said its factories and outside suppliers stopped adding flame retardants to foam cushions at the beginning of the year. The company also said it is labeling new furniture to indicate that it doesn’t contain the chemicals.

Read more from Michael Hawthorne at the Chicago Tribune

110922_gavel_ap_328

Did Chemical Company Author New Chemical Bill

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In recent days, a draft of the bill — considered the product of more than two years of negotiation and collaboration between Sen. David Vitter, R-La., Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and both chemical industry and environmental groups — was circulated by Udall’s office ahead of the hearing. The draft bill, obtained by Hearst Newspapers, is in the form of a Microsoft Worddocument. Rudimentary digital forensics — going to “advanced properties” in Word — shows the “company” of origin to be the American Chemistry Council.   Read full story here.