June 28, 2021
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham petitioned the EPA to include per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act as a listed hazardous waste, which would set a clear regulatory path for New Mexico and dozens of other states grappling with PFAS contamination.
“In the absence of a federal framework, states continue to create a patchwork of regulatory standards for PFAS across the U.S. to address these hazardous chemicals. This leads to inequity in public health and environmental protections,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “This petition seeks swift EPA action to create a federal framework that will equally protect all communities across the U.S. by declaring PFAS what it is – a hazardous waste under federal law.”
New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Cabinet Secretary James Kenney delivered the same message during testimony
before the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works last week. The Governor’s petition was also shared with the full Committee and entered into the hearing docket.
“The federal government sued New Mexico to prevent having to clean up PFAS in 2019 and continues its litigation today, saddling New Mexicans with the cost of litigation and the cost of clean-up,” said Secretary Kenney. “This Department will not back down nor tacitly agree with the federal government in abandoning communities that need our help in protecting their health, environment, property values and economy. PFAS is a hazardous waste and must be federally regulated as such so states can protect communities.”
The state is currently working to address two plumes of PFAS groundwater contamination at Cannon and Holloman Air Force Bases caused by decades of the bases’ use of a PFAS-containing firefighting foam. NMED’s attempts to require the U.S. Department of Defense to clean up the contamination at Cannon Air Force were met with a lawsuit from the federal government challenging the state’s authority to do so. The lawsuit, initiated in 2019 under the last federal administration, continues today.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) was passed by Congress in 1976 and provides a regulatory framework for managing hazardous wastes. By clearly defining discarded PFAS as a listed hazardous waste, the EPA would set a clear path for states and the regulated community to responsibly manage PFAS. This would also allow states – not the Department of Defense – to manage PFAS clean-up under existing state programs authorized by the EPA. While the EPA received and has yet to act on two citizen petitions to list PFAS as hazardous waste, the EPA is required to act on a Governor’s petition within 90 days of receipt pursuant to RCRA. Therefore, the EPA must act on New Mexico’s petition on or before Sept. 21, 2021.
Known as “forever chemicals,” PFAS do not degrade in the environment and can contaminate groundwater. When ingested, PFAS can have adverse effects on human health, including decreased vaccine response in children, increased cholesterol levels, small birth weights and increased risk of kidney and testicular cancers. PFAS can also impact the reproductive cycles of animals, leading to a higher risk of endangerment and extinction.
The Governor’s petition can be found here
. Further information on NMED’s response to PFAS can be found here.
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New TSCA Reporting Requirements for PFAS Proposed
In the June 28 Federal Register
, EPA has proposed reporting and recordkeeping requirements for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In accordance with obligations under TSCA, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, EPA proposed to require persons that manufacture (including import) or have manufactured these chemical substances in any year since January 1, 2011, to electronically report information regarding PFAS uses, production volumes, disposal, exposures, and hazards. EPA is requesting public comment on all aspects of this proposed rule and has also identified items of particular interest for public input. In addition to fulfilling statutory obligations under TSCA, this document will enable EPA to better characterize the sources and quantities of manufactured PFAS in the United States.
Carpets and Rugs Containing Per- or Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Are a Priority Product in California as of July 1, 2021
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC has) finalized regulations
to list carpets and rugs containing per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) as a Priority Product. The regulations will become effective July 1, 2021.
Domestic and foreign carpet and rug manufacturers whose products contain any member of the class of PFASs in their carpets or rugs must submit a Priority Product Notification
(PPN) for those products by August 30, 2021. The PPN must name all the products that contain PFASs and are sold in California. After submitting the PPN, manufacturers will have the option to submit one of the following, as specified in our regulations:
Manufacturers of carpets and rugs that do not contain PFASs do not need to take any action. More information on this Priority Product and how to comply with the new regulation can be found here
Short-Term Exposure to Air Pollution May Impede Cognition; Aspirin Could Help
Exposure to air pollution, even over the course of just a few weeks, can impede mental performance, according to a new study led by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. However, these adverse effects were lessened in people taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin. The study is among the first to explore short-term air pollution exposures and the use of NSAIDs to mitigate their effects. The results are published in the journal Nature Aging.
Examples of events that would increase someone's exposure to air pollution over the short term could include forest fires, smog, second-hand cigarette smoke, charcoal grills, and gridlock traffic.
The researchers examined the relationship between exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon, a component of PM, and cognitive performance in 954 older white males from the Greater Boston Area enrolled in the Normative Aging Study. They also explored whether taking NSAIDs could modify their relationships. Cognitive performance was assessed using the Global Cognitive Function (GCF) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scales. Air pollution levels were obtained from a site in Boston.
Elevated average PM2.5 exposure over 28 days was associated with declines in GCF and MMSE scores. Men who took NSAIDs experienced fewer adverse short-term impacts of air pollution exposures on cognitive health than non-users, though there were no direct associations between recent NSAID use and cognitive performance. The researchers postulate that NSAIDs, especially aspirin, may moderate neuroinflammation or changes in blood flow to the brain triggered by inhaling pollution.
"Despite regulations on emissions, short-term spikes in air pollution remain frequent and have the potential to impair health, including at levels below that usually considered hazardous," says senior author Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. "Taking aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs appears to mitigate these effects, although policy changes to further restrict air pollution are still warranted."
The link between long-term PM exposure and impaired cognitive performance in the aging population is well-established. Reported effects include reduced brain volume, cognitive decrements, and dementia development. Air pollution has also been associated with poor cognition of children and adults. Until now, however, little was known about the effects of short-term exposure to air pollution.
The researchers say future studies should investigate the specific effects of chemical components of air pollution on cognitive performance, exposure sources in the environment, and whether cognitive impairments due to short-term air pollution exposures are transient or persistent. Randomized clinical trials of NSAID use are needed to validate their protective effects.
Proposal to Restore Superfund Tax
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced the Superfund Reinvestment Act
to require polluters to pay for the cleanup of toxic and hazardous waste sites throughout the United States.
According to Blumenauer, for nearly three decades, petrochemical industry polluters have enjoyed environmental liability protections without paying into the Superfund Trust Fund, which has depleted the fund, unfairly shifted costs to taxpayers, and brought some Superfund cleanup efforts to a near stop. The legislation introduced by Blumenauer would reinstate this tax, something that President Biden identified as a top priority as part of a major infrastructure package.
“This administration understands that we cannot rebuild and renew America in an equitable way when we have hundreds of Superfund sites that are not getting cleaned up, most of which are in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. With the support of President Biden, the landscape is more favorable than it has been in 30 years to revoke the unjust handout that Republicans gifted to some of the country’s most egregious polluters,” Blumenauer said. “By renewing the Superfund tax, the industries that had a hand in creating the problem – not taxpayers – will once again be held accountable for cleaning it up. More importantly, we can put tens of thousands of people to work by investing in the cleanup of these polluted sites. It’s a common-sense and long-overdue way to benefit the environment, local communities, and the economy.”
Superfund, the federal government’s program for cleaning up the nation’s worst hazardous waste sites, was originally financed primarily through taxes on petroleum products, chemicals and corporate income. Since Republicans allowed these “polluter pays” taxes to expire in 1995 – while continuing to allow companies to enjoy liability protections – the Trust Fund has been depleted and the funding for the cleanup of sites has been shifted to the American taxpayer. The lack of adequate funding has led to delays in remediation and further harm for communities.
The Superfund Reinvestment Act would, among other things:
- Restore Superfund taxes at inflation adjusted rates, including excise taxes on crude oil or refined oil products, excise taxes on certain chemicals that have hazardous characteristics or may generate hazardous wastes, and a tax based on a corporation’s taxable income if it exceeds $4.7 million.
- Expand the definition of crude oil to include unconventional crude, such as tar sands and oil shale.
- Ensure that money from the Trust Fund is only spent on Superfund cleanup.
A 2010 estimate found that revenue garnered from these taxes would be about $1.7 billion per year and $18.9 billion over 10 years.
The EPA estimates that one in four Americans lives within four miles of a hazardous waste site. Superfund sites are some of the most contaminated of these waste sites in the nation, and often threaten exposure to toxic waste such as arsenic, benzene, PCBs, mercury and a range of solvents, leading to health problems such as infertility, low birth weight, birth defects, leukemia and respiratory difficulties. Communities adjacent to these sites can face restrictions on water use and recreational activities as well as economic losses as property values decline due to contaminated land.
In addition to Blumenauer, the legislation is supported by Reps. Grijalva (AZ), Pallone (NJ), Jayapal (WA), Barragan (CA), Jones (NY), Newman (IL), Cartwright (PA), Cleaver (MO), Cohen (TN), Kildee (MI), Norton (DC), Sires (NJ), Garcia (IL), and Huffman (CA).
“Superfund sites threaten public and environmental health across the country, and those sites could be cleaned up faster with adequate funding,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. “Americans should not be paying for the mistakes of corporate polluters with their tax dollars and their health. Congress must force corporate polluters to replenish the necessary funds by holding them accountable for environmental degradation. I’m thankful for Congressman Blumenauer’s work on this important issue. Together, we can protect hardworking families from having to pay for the misdeeds of corporate polluters and protect the health of all Americans for generations to come.”
It is also endorsed by 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, Climate Mobilization, Earthworks, Friends of the Earth, League of Conservation Voters, Progressive Democrats of America, This is Zero Hour, Portland Harbor Community Coalition, Human Access Project Portland, Willamette Riverkeeper, Portland Audubon, Environmental Working Group, Environment America, and Public Interest Research Group.
“For decades now, oil and gas companies and other polluters have escaped responsibility for cleaning up their messes after Congress allowed the Superfund fee to expire, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill and too many communities suffering impacts to their health and environment from hazardous pollution,” said Madeleine Foote, Deputy Legislative Director for the League of Conservation Voters. “It is way past time to reinstate the Superfund fee, and we thank Representative Blumenauer for his leadership and commitment to ensuring polluters pay and all communities have clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, and healthy environments to live in. We urge Congress to take swift action on this legislation and finally hold polluters accountable.”
Polystyrene Foam Ban Begins July 1 in Maine
Implementation of a state law that prohibits restaurants, stores, and a wide variety of other eating establishments including places in the entertainment, hospitality, recreation, and tourism industries; catering establishments; correctional facilities; hospital cafeterias; mobile eating places; public and private schools; and workplace cafes from using polystyrene foam disposable food containers will take effect on July 1, 2021.
The ban on polystyrene foam containers was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2021. However, the ban's enforcement was delayed in December of 2020 due to concerns regarding a disruption in packaging supplies and logistical effects caused by COVID-19 Pandemic. The DEP has encouraged businesses and other entities that utilize polystyrene foam products for processing, preparing, containing or serving food to use the additional time provided by enforcement delays to procure alternatives to these products. Disposable food service containers are service ware designed for one-time use, and include bowls, plates, trays, carton, cups, lids sleeves, or other items for containing, transporting, and serving foods.
Recently, emergency legislation was passed by the 130th Maine Legislature making several changes to the original law. The new law will exempt raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from the polystyrene foam ban until July 1, 2025 and remove an exemption in the original law that allowed items prepackaged at wholesale in another state to be purchased by Maine retailers and resold in polystyrene foam packaging to Maine consumers. As of July 1, 2025, all food and beverage products sold in Maine, whether prepackaged out of State or not, cannot be packaged in polystyrene foam. The bill was signed into law by Governor Mills on June 15.
DEP advises the regulated community to take caution when procuring replacement containers for polystyrene foam. Many products that claim to be compostable, plant based, or biodegradable may still be made with a styrene additive to provide extruded foam properties to the product. However, products with a styrene additive, even if plant based or compostable, are not exempt from the ban.
Plastic Recycler Cited for Violating Safety Standards After Worker Sustains Fatal Injuries from a Fall
A 56-year-old worker at a Toccoa plastic processing facility could never have known he would spend Christmas Day in a hospital and die from a head injury after falling more than 6 feet from an elevated platform.
An OSHA inspection of the Dec. 21, 2020, incident found that while Scrap Masters Inc. had installed some fall protection on the platform, it failed to meet federal safety standards. OSHA cited
the company for failing to equip stairs and platforms with guardrails to prevent falls.
In addition, OSHA determined that the employer failed to:
- Mount and mark fire extinguishers, exposing workers to fire hazards. The employer also did not implement a training program for the use of the extinguishers.
- Repair powered industrial trucks and ensure workers wore a seatbelt when operating a forklift.
- Provide a training program on powered industrial trucks that consists of formal and practical training, as well as an evaluation of the employee’s performance in the workplace.
- Develop and utilize specific procedures for employees performing service and maintenance activities on machines, exposing them to amputation hazards.
- Prevent workers from being exposed to occupational noise levels above the allowable time-weighted average.
OSHA cited Scrap Masters with eight serious and five repeat violations, and proposed $164,308 in penalties. “When employers fail to put safety programs in place, the results can be fatal,” said OSHA Acting Area Director Michael Hejazi in Atlanta-East. “Implementing required safety procedures can mean the difference between a tragic incident and everyone going home safely to their families.”
Scrap Masters Inc. recycles plastic automobile gas tanks and has a sister office in Manchester, Michigan. OSHA has inspected the company five times in the past five years, with four of the inspections occurring in the Toccoa facility. Of those four inspections, three resulted in citations issued.
Live Training Resumes in July
If you prefer live face to face training, we have good news for you. Environmental Resource Center is resuming its schedule of live nationwide training. We’ll be following the current CDC recommendations for a safe environment and work hard to ensure that you remain safe throughout the sessions. Here’s a list of classes that you can choose from:
Tire Additives Proposed as Priority Products by DTSC
California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has proposed to list motor vehicle tires containing N-(1,3-dimethylbutyl)-N'-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine (6PPD) as a Priority Product. In support of this proposal, a draft product-chemical profile
is now available.
6PPD is an antidegradant used to prevent cracking in tires. 6PPD-quinone, a recently discovered reaction product of 6PPD, is acutely toxic to coho salmon, including juveniles, and kills fish a few hours after exposure. The confirmed presence of 6PPD-quinone in California's waterways threatens the state's remaining coho salmon populations, which are endangered or threatened, and may jeopardize the recovery of this species. While little is known about the effects of 6PPD-quinone on other organisms, it may also be toxic to closely related species such as steelhead and chinook.
Public Comments on on Zinc, 6PPD, and other chemicals in tires are now being accepted:
- A public comment period is now open to receive feedback on the draft product-chemical profile for motor vehicle tires containing 6PPD.
- A public comment period for the proposal to list motor vehicle tires containing zinc as a Priority Product was previously opened, and the deadline for submitting comments has been extended.
- DTSC has conducted preliminary screening research on several other tire-derived chemicals that may be of concern to the aquatic environment and has identified data gaps related to their potential adverse impacts. We have released a draft document highlighting our initial findings and questions and have opened a public comment period for this document a well.
All three comment periods will close on August 6, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.
Dynamic Cleaning, Inc. Cited for Asbestos Violations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced that it has assessed a $40,280 penalty on Dynamic Cleaning, Inc. of Plainville for violations of asbestos regulations that occurred during work it conducted at a multi-family residence in Worcester.
In response to a complaint, MassDEP inspectors investigated work by Dynamic Cleaning, Inc. at a multi-family residence on Oak Street in Worcester. The inspector observed that asbestos-containing flooring materials had been improperly removed and managed, including numerous pieces of asbestos-containing materials on the basement floor and in an open-top dumpster.
Dynamic Cleaning also violated multiple regulations by failing to conduct an asbestos survey before beginning work to identify potential asbestos-containing materials and by failing to notify MassDEP of the asbestos removal work. The company was required to notify MassDEP 10 working days before beginning any asbestos removal work so the Department would have the opportunity to conduct inspections to ensure compliance with the regulations. Additionally, Dynamic Cleaning did not follow the proper removal, handling, packaging, and labeling procedures required by MassDEP.
“As a cleaning and restoration contractor, Dynamic Cleaning, Inc. should know about the required survey for asbestos-containing materials before beginning work, and of the need to ensure that those materials are properly handled and removed by licensed personnel in accordance with the regulations,” said Mary Jude Pigsley, Director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and by failing to follow required work practices, the company put workers and the public at risk. Failure to follow asbestos requirements will result in significant penalties, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination and monitoring costs.”
Dynamic Cleaning must pay $25,000 of the assessed penalty, with the remaining amount suspended as long as the company does not further violate state asbestos regulations.
Consultant Sentenced for Theft of Federal Program Funds
U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that Marc A. Victoriano, age 46, of Covington, Louisiana, was sentenced before United States District Court Judge Lance M. Africk to five years probation with 8 months of home confinement for theft from a program receiving federal funds. He was also ordered to pay a mandatory $100 special assessment fee and $212,618.00 in restitution to the victim, Terrebonne Parish School Board.
According to court records, from 2015 to 2017, Victoriano and his company, Professional Safety Consultants, LLC, (PSC) provided asbestos inspections for the Terrebonne Parish School Board (TPSB) as mandated by the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). Victoriano submitted 56 invoices to TPSB with fraudulent asbestos laboratory reports including false air monitoring and false asbestos testing reports. Victoriano also submitted nine invoices to TPSB for AHERA reports with forged signatures and accreditation information. As a result, TPSB paid Victoriano approximately $212,618.26 to which he was not entitled, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(A).
“Financial Crime is a despicable felony that impacts many citizens, said U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans. “However, this scheme to defraud Terrebonne Parish Schools, that placed students and staff in a potentially dangerous situation and financially victimized taxpayers, exponentially aggravated this crime. Our office commits to continue our local, state and federal partnerships to seek justice for our community, especially our most vulnerable populations.”
“The defendant was responsible for the safe and legal removal of material containing asbestos,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher Brooks of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Louisiana. “The defendant knowingly ignored regulations on the safe management of asbestos, putting workers, the general public, and most alarmingly school children, at risk. This resulted in the Terrebonne Parish (Louisiana) School Board being defrauded out of $212,618.”
U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division; the Louisiana State Police; Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Criminal Investigation Section and the Louisiana Environmental Crimes Task Force, for their investigation of matter. Assistant United States Attorney Julia K. Evans is in charge of the prosecution.
Seal Shield, LLC Ordered to Stop Selling Unregistered Pesticides and a Misbranded Pesticide Device
EPA issued a second Stop Sale, Use, or Removal Order (SSURO) to Seal Shield, LLC (Seal Shield) in Orlando, Florida, requiring the company to immediately halt the sale/distribution of unregistered pesticides and a misbranded pesticide device. EPA issued a SSURO to Seal Shield for similar Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) violations in April 2020.
“Unregistered pesticides can pose a serious risk to human health. EPA is committed to ensuring that pesticides sold to citizens, businesses and governmental agencies are safe and effective.,” said Acting EPA Region 4 Administrator John Blevins. “It is critical that companies follow federal pesticide laws to protect human health.”
The SSURO is being issued to Seal Shield because it is making unqualified public health claims for certain products it sells. Seal Shield is making public health claims that its products prevent infections and protects patients and healthcare workers from hospital acquired infections. In order for Seal Shield to make these claims, the products would need to be registered under FIFRA. These products include, but are not limited to keyboards, computer mice and screen protectors.
The SSURO further requires Seal Shield to stop the sale and distribution of the pesticide device, the ElectroClave UV-C Disinfection System, because Seal Shield is making claims on its website in connection with sales of the device that the device is recommended or endorsed by EPA. Under FIFRA, any statement directly or indirectly implying that a pesticide or a device is recommended or endorsed by any agency of the Federal Government is false and misleading, and the pesticide or device is considered to be misbranded. EPA does not recommend or endorse pesticide devices.
While pesticide devices are not required to be registered, they must be in compliance with certain other requirements of FIFRA including requirements pertaining to labeling. For additional information about pesticides, visit: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/.
Concern About Health Impacts from Toxic Chemicals in Hair Straightening Products
California could be among the first states to regulate harmful chemicals in hair straightening products used by millions of people, many of them women of color.
There is evidence that some chemicals in hair straightening products may be harmful and could pose a risk to consumers and salon workers. As an example, this study
cited at the workshop detected 35 endocrine-disrupting or asthma-associated chemicals in the components of three hair straightener kits.
The Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products Program is charged with accelerating the quest for the use of safer chemicals in consumer products. To do this, the program requires manufacturers of products that contain chemicals which cause or contribute to adverse human health or environmental impacts to find safer alternatives by using safer chemicals or minimizing exposures. Ahead of a final decision to regulate chemicals in hair straighteners, the program held a virtual workshop
on Wednesday and Thursday to learn more from industry experts, researchers, advocacy groups, and academia through presentations and panel discussions.
At the workshop, DTSC scientists detailed their research in this area, including findings summarized in a technical document
. Many of the presentations focused on potential health impacts on women of African descent who face a higher risk because they tend to use these products more often and often start at a younger age.
When children are exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals, it can present serious complications to their development, such as puberty and reproduction, said DTSC Senior Environmental Scientist Michelle Romero-Fishback. “Continuous application of these products may also damage the scalp, which could make it more susceptible to skin conditions,” she said.
Several outside scientists and experts provided input and presented information. Those included: Janette Robinson Flint, executive director of Black Women for Wellness; Robin Dodson, research scientist at Silent Spring Institute; and Lesliam Quiros-Alcala, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University. Their presentations highlighted potential health impacts of chemicals in hair products used by Black women and occupational exposures among hairdressers of color.
DTSC Public Participation Specialist Michelle Banks-Ordone provided context to the two-day discussions by presenting the social, historical, and cultural significance of hair. “It is viewed as a personal and public reflection of our identity,” she said.
Banks-Ordone explained that individuals may feel social and economic pressure to change their hair. Research in advance of the CROWN
(Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act showed that Black women are 80 percent more likely than white women to change their hair from its natural state to fit in at the office.
Individuals who are interested in providing information or commentary on the chemicals in hair straightening products proposal may do so until July 9. To view documents and submit comments, please visit the CalSAFER
In the coming weeks, DTSC will continue its research, summarize findings in a product profile, and identify specific products for possible regulation. Those who would like to receive updates on this initiative can sign up here.
Muscle Cramp? Drink Electrolytes, Not Water
If you reach for water when a muscle cramp strikes, you might want to think again. New research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) has revealed drinking electrolytes instead of pure water can help prevent muscle cramps.
, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, found that people who drank electrolyte enhanced water during and after exercise were less susceptible to muscle cramps than those who drank pure water.
Muscle cramps are a common painful condition affecting many people, including around 39 per cent of marathon runners, 52 per cent of rugby players and 60 per cent of cyclists.
Lead researcher Professor Ken Nosaka, from ECU's School of Medical and Health Sciences, said the study builds on the evidence that a lack of electrolytes contributes to muscle cramps, not dehydration.
"Many people think dehydration causes muscle cramps and will drink pure water while exercising to prevent cramping," he said.
"We found that people who solely drink plain water before and after exercise could in fact be making them more prone to cramps. "This is likely because pure water dilutes the electrolyte concentration in our bodies and doesn't replace what is lost during sweating."
Professor Nosaka began researching the causes of muscle cramps after regularly suffering from them while playing tennis.
The study involved 10 men who ran on a downhill treadmill in a hot (35ºC) room for 40 to 60 minutes to lose 1.5 to 2 per cent of their body weight through sweat in two conditions. They drank plain water during and after exercise for one condition and took a water solution containing electrolytes in the other condition.
The participants were given an electrical stimulation on their calves to induce muscle cramp. The lower the frequency of the electrical stimulation required, the more the participant is prone to muscle cramp.
"We found that the electrical frequency required to induce cramp increased when people drank the electrolyte water, but decreased when they consumed plain water," said Professor Nosaka. "This indicates that muscles become more prone to cramp by drinking plain water, but more immune to muscle cramp by drinking the electrolyte water."
Electrolytes are minerals including sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride. They are essential for muscle health and help the body to absorb water. Oral rehydration solutions contain electrolytes in specific proportions and can be made with water, salt and sugar. They are commonly found in supermarkets and pharmacies.
Professor Nosaka said electrolytes have many benefits for both athletes and the general population. "Electrolytes are vital to good health - they help the body to absorb water more effectively than plain water and replace essential minerals lost through sweat or illness," he said.
"People should consider drinking oral rehydration fluids instead of plain water during moderate to intense exercise, when it's very hot or when you are sick from diarrhoea or vomiting."
Professor Nosaka is planning further research to find out the optimal amount of electrolytes to prevent muscle cramps as well as how they could help the elderly and pregnant women.
Fertilizer Maker Fined $25,500 for Air Quality Violations
A Pasco, WA fertilizer manufacturer was fined $25,500 by the Washington Department of Ecology for operating a mobile fertilizer reactor without an air quality permit. Fertilizer production can release ammonia and fluoride, both toxic gases that can be dangerous to people.
The penalty is the third in the past two years for Pacific Northwest Solutions. The company was previously fined $5,000 in 2019 and again in 2020, both times for failing to properly test their equipment to ensure it met air quality emissions standards.
“Protecting air quality is not optional for businesses in our state – it’s the law,” said David Knight, Air Quality manager for Ecology’s Eastern Region. “We hope Pacific Northwest Solutions takes this penalty seriously and brings its operations into compliance.”
The $25,500 penalty was issued after an Ecology inspector found a Pacific Northwest Solution’s mobile fertilizer reactor operating without a permit on March 8, 2021 at a site near Moses Lake. An investigation found that the reactor produced a total of 650 tons of ammonium polyphosphate liquid fertilizer over three days.
Over $199K Fine for CAA and EPCRA Violations
“Companies must take actions such as replacing corroded pipes and training staff on emergency shutdown procedures to reduce the risk of releases of hazardous substance to nearby communities and the environment,” said Amy Miller, EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Director of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Facilities that do not comply with chemical accident prevention requirements will face significant fines.”
In January 2020, EPA performed an inspection of the facility and found violations of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program requirements and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. Many of the violations were associated with insufficient documentation, reporting, and proper labeling of the plant’s anhydrous ammonia system. The inspection also found failures associated with process hazard analysis and physical distance safeguards, as well as problems with corroded piping and equipment. Other failures included insufficient staff training, as employees were not provided written normal and emergency shutdown procedures.
In addition to paying the civil penalty as part of the settlement, AES has addressed the violations at the facility.
Another Company Busted for Selling Emission Control Defeat Devices
EPA announced that East Coast Diesel, a vehicle parts distributor in Jonestown, Pennsylvania, will pay a $20,000 penalty for allegedly selling aftermarket devices that were designed to defeat the emissions control systems of heavy-duty diesel engines.
The company’s actions allegedly violated the Clean Air Act’s prohibition on the sale of so-called “defeat devices,” which are designed to “bypass, defeat or render inoperative” a motor vehicle engine’s air pollution control equipment or systems. The facility is located at 529 Shirksville Road in Jonestown, and the company also operates a website for sales of aftermarket diesel truck performance upgrade products.
Illegally modified vehicles and engines contribute substantial excess pollution that harms public health and impedes efforts by EPA, tribes, states and local agencies to attain air quality standards.
Clean Air Act penalties take into account various factors such as the seriousness and duration of the violations, size of the business, the penalty’s impact on the business, compliance history, good faith efforts, and economic benefit of past non-compliance.
As part of the settlement, the company has certified it is now in compliance with applicable requirements.
This enforcement action is part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative for Stopping Aftermarket Defeat Devices for Vehicles and Engines.
Today’s vehicles emit far less pollution than vehicles of the past. This is made possible by careful engine calibrations, and the use of filters and catalysts in the exhaust system. Aftermarket defeat devices undo this progress and pollute the air we breathe. EPA testing has shown that a truck’s emissions increase drastically (tens or hundreds of times, depending on the pollutant) when its emissions controls are removed.
California to Require Zero-Emissions Vehicles for Ridesharing Services
The transportation sector accounts for almost 50% of GHG emissions in California and is responsible for the majority of the state’s air pollution.
Though rideshare vehicles are a relatively small portion of California’s vehicle fleet, they often travel many miles beyond the average of other vehicles, so electrifying them can provide significant environmental benefits.
Therefore, in accordance with the implementation of SB 1014 of 2018, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has adopted a regulation requiring that rideshare companies begin electrification of their California fleets starting in 2023 – another step towards meeting the state’s 2030 climate goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels, achieving statewide carbon neutrality by 2045, aligning with Governor Newsom Zero Emission Vehicle Executive Order (N-79-20) and fulfilling the state’s air quality goals.
The Clean Miles Standard
, as implemented by SB 1014, requires that rideshare companies operating in California meet annual GHG and electrification targets, which will align ridesharing companies with other corporate fleet requirements. By 2030, the regulation would require that rideshare companies achieve a level of zero greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure 90 percent of their vehicle miles are fully electric.
“This move is yet another piece of the comprehensive program California has developed to protect public health from harmful emissions,” said CARB Chair Liane M. Randolph. “The transportation sector is responsible for nearly half of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, the vast majority of which come from light-duty vehicles. This action will help provide certainty to the state’s climate efforts and improve air quality in our most disadvantaged communities.”
The GHG target can be met in several ways, including by increasing electric miles beyond the 90 percent electric miles target, reducing deadhead miles (miles driven without a passenger), or increasing the number of passengers per trip (pooling). Rideshare companies can also earn optional GHG credits by investing in sidewalk and bike lane infrastructure that supports active transportation and connecting to transit through integrated trip booking apps.
This regulation aligns with commitments that ridesharing companies like Uber
have made to transition to zero-emission vehicles by 2030,
as well as state and federal incentive programs available to support the transition to zero-emission vehicles. Governor Newsom’s May revision of the state budget provides hundreds of millions of additional dollars for the state programs.
The Clean Miles Standard aligns with Governor Newsom’s Executive Order
ending sales of internal combustion passenger vehicles by 2035. SB 1014 (2018) – the Clean Miles Standard and Incentive Program – requires CARB and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to develop and implement new requirements for rideshare companies to quickly curb their GHG emissions as new mobility options rapidly become available.
The Clean Miles Standard also aligns with the Advanced Clean Cars II
program now under development to set more stringent vehicle emissions reduction and electrification requirements for new passenger vehicles after 2025.
Food and goods delivery services are not included in the Clean Miles Standard. Small ridesharing companies with less than five million statewide annual vehicle miles traveled are exempt from compliance with GHG and electrification targets, but not exempt from data reporting requirements.
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