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50 million tons of e-waste generated every year — and it is increasing
The developing world is becoming the west's digital dumping ground. Every year around 50 million tons of unwanted electronic devices make their way to vast e-waste dumps in Guiyu in China and Agbogbloshie in Ghana – often illegally.
Some of them will be repaired and resold. Others will be broken into their components, at considerable expense to the environment and people's health, and sold as raw materials to manufacturers. Yet more will be left as piles of toxic litter.
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California's revolutionary Green Chemistry Initiative moves forward
California's revolutionary Green Chemistry Initiative is moving ahead, having decided on the first three priority product categories that will be scrutinized under the California Safer Consumer Products law. California's Department of Toxic Substances Control chose these categories because there's widespread concern about them and non-toxic substitutes are readily available.
Water crisis not over after West Virginia chemical spill
It’s been called one of the most serious episodes of drinking water contamination in U.S. history. Four months after thousands of gallons of the coal-washing chemical MCHM spilled from an unregulated above-ground storage tank into the Elk River, many people in and around Charleston, W. Va., are still using bottled water.
Synthesizing textiles from sugar
In the future, the clothes you wear could be made from sugar. Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have discovered a new chemical process that can convert adipic acid directly from sugar.
Adipic acid is an important chemical used to produce nylon for apparel and other everyday products like carpets, ropes and toothbrush bristles. Commercially, adipic acid is produced from petroleum-based chemicals through the nitric acid oxidation process, which emits large amounts of nitrous oxides, a major greenhouse gas that causes global warming.
Why it's so important to define 'solid waste'
Did you know that chemical companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers and the industrial waste industry are exempt from a law requiring companies handling hazardous waste to protect public health and the environment?
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act was enacted in 1976, but in 2008 the Bush Administration exempted these companies handling the most dangerous substances from complying. This new rule was called "The Definition of Solid Waste".
Furniture groups oppose fire retardant label bill: Goes too far
Despite opposition from two furniture groups, a California Senate Committee has approved a bill that dictates fire retardancy point-of-purchase signage in home furnishings stores, in addition to substantial declaration labels on upholstered furniture.
The bill has been re-referred to the state's Senate Rules Committee.
Both the American Home Furnishings Alliance and the North American Home Furnishings Association said SB 1019, proposed by California State Senator Mark Leno, places an unfair burden on retailers.
New recycling standards could affect Vermont's e-waste program
Flat screen TVs and sleek computer screens have all but replaced the boob tube and boxy computer monitors. And with those disappearing vestiges of 20th century technology, a market for their recycled components also has evaporated.
There’s little option left but the landfill, even for Vermont’s flagship electronics recycling program.
States eye toxic chemical reform as Washington fails to act
In Vermont, the Senate has just passed a bill potentially empowering the Green Mountain State to ban chemicals it deems harmful to consumers. Some 3,000 miles away, in Washington State, environmental reformers weren’t as successful: a bill to ban six toxic flame retardants died in the Senate, beaten back by industry opposition and politicians’ cries of state overreaching.
Refrigerant in cars: Refreshingly cool, potentially toxic
The refrigerant R1234yf is being considered for use in air conditioning systems in cars. Chemists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich now show that, in the event of a fire, it releases the highly poisonous carbonyl fluoride, and urge that its safety be reassessed.
According to EU guidelines, the new compound R1234yf should in the future be used as the refrigerant in air-conditioning systems for automobiles.
EPA: 1,000 containers of hazardous materials found at Green Lake home
The EPA is working a potentially dangerous situation at a home in the Green Lake neighborhood where hazardous chemicals were found.
Officials say a man was using toxic chemicals for research. The EPA says this is a safety issue — not a criminal case.
Authorities say there were 1,000 plastic and glass containers filled with chemicals in the house and yard.
Lowe's to pay $18.1 million in settlement of hazardous waste handling case in California
The Sacramento Bee
North Carolina-based home-improvement retailing giant Lowe’s Home Centers has agreed to pay $18.1 million to settle California claims that it illegally disposed of hazardous wastes at more than 100 of its stores throughout the state.
The settlement, approved in Alameda Superior Court, closed a civil environmental prosecution following a joint investigation by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s Office of Criminal Investigations, more than 30 California district attorneys and the city attorneys of Los Angeles and San Diego.
Exide receives approval on cleanup plan in California
The battery recycling company Exide Technologies, based in Milton, Ga., has announced that the state of California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has approved an operational plan for Exide’s battery recycling plant in Vernon, Calif. The agency approved the plan on March 19.
Exide says it has been working with the SCAQMD for the past seven months to develop a plan that will reduce emissions and protect public health.
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