Envirobytes - Archive
EnviroBytes, a Summary of Issues and Events for weeks ending June 17, 2011 and June 24, 2011
EPA OFFERS ADVICE TO HELP ASTHMATICS DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS
EPA's asthma program is offering useful advice to asthma sufferers and other vulnerable populations to reduce their exposure to asthma triggers and prevent unnecessary admission to hospitals and emergency rooms. Asthma affects 25 million people in the United States and one out of every 10 school-age children. It helps to keep aware of rising air pollutant levels through EPA's Air Quality Index website (http://www.airnow.gov/) and limit strenuous outdoor activities when pollution levels are high. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/asthma/asthma.htm and http://www.epa.gov/asthma/awm/.
EPA IMPROVES INFORMATION ON TOXICITY AND EXPOSURE TO INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS
EPA announced the release of two new chemical safety databases to improve public access to the toxicity and safety of chemicals. ToxCastDB (data from screening 1,000 chemicals) facilitates prioritizing chemicals requiring further testing. (ToxRefDB) (30 years of animal toxicity studies) provides data on exposure statistics including amounts found in food, drinking water, air, dust, indoor surfaces and urine. They are connected through the ACToR online resource that collects, links and compares data on more than 500,000 chemicals from more than 500 public sources.
EPA SEEKS SMALL BUSINESS PARTICIPATION ON WASTEWATER DISCHARGE RULE FOR STEAM ELECTRIC POWER PLANTS
EPA is inviting small business representatives to participate in a panel to give EPA input to develop a stricter wastewater discharge rule for nuclear-fueled and fossil-fueled steam electric power generating plants. The new regulations will help reduce lethal discharges containing nitrogen, total dissolved solids, and toxic metals (mercury, arsenic and selenium) that can build up in fish, water fowl and humans. Self-nominations for the Small Business Advocacy Review panel must be submitted to EPA by June 30, 2011 at: http://www.epa.gov/sbrefa/steamelectric.htm
For information about the steam electric power plants rule, go to http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/guide/steam_index.cfm
FEDERAL RADON ACTION PLAN BRINGS AWARENESS OF THE DANGERS OF RADON TO LOW-INCOME FAMILIES
EPA joined forces with other federal agencies to reduce exposure to radon -- a naturally occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas -- to protect Americans from the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and of an estimated 21,000 deaths each year. The Federal Action Plan promotes awareness of radon's dangers to approximately 7.5 million buildings and homes and helps low-income families protect their homes and loved ones. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/radon/action_plan.html
EPA HONORS WINNERS OF 2011 PRESIDENTIAL GREEN CHEMISTRY CHALLENGE AWARDS
The Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony took place on June 20 in Washington, D.C. to honor pioneering chemical technologies developed by researchers and innovators who contributed to the design, manufacture and use of pollution prevention technologies that protect the public from harmful chemical exposure. The awards are bestowed in five categories: academic, small business, greener synthetic pathways, greener reaction conditions, designing greener chemicals. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/greenchemistry/pubs/pgcc/past.html
Listen to podcasts about this year's winners: http://www.epa.gov/greenchemistry/pubs/2011_podcasts/index.html
EPA, HUD, DOT CELEBRATE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
On June 16, EPA, HUD and DOT celebrated the second anniversary of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities which helps communities nationwide access affordable housing, increased transportation options and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment and people's health. Since the partnership's inception, the agencies have dedicated more than $2.5 billion in assistance to more than 200 communities in 48 states with $238 million of these funds focused on rural communities. For more information, go to http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov/
EPA EXTENDS PUBLIC COMMENT ON A PROPOSED DRAFT RULE TO REDUCE MERCURY AND OTHER TOXIC POLLUTION FROM POWER PLANTS
On June 21, EPA extended the comment period on the proposed draft mercury and air toxics standards rule by 30 days from July 5 to Aug. 4 while not altering the final issuance of the standards in November 2011. More than half of all coal-fired power plants already use widely available pollution control technologies to meet the standards and protect public health. The remaining roughly 44 percent of coal-fired plants are also expected to follow suit to reduce pollutants, prevent heart attacks, and premature deaths. For more information, go to http://epa.gov/airquality/powerplanttoxics/
EPA GRANTS $1 MILLION TO UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH TO BETTER UNDERSTAND AND IMPROVE YOUNG ASTHMA SUFFERERS' QUALITY OF LIFE
EPA awarded more than $1 million to the University of Pittsburgh as part of an $8 million EPA STAR (Science to Achieve Results) grant to conduct a study to improve the quality of life of asthmatic children in underserved communities and to develop ways to educate communities and improve children's overall health. The goal is to study the effects of air pollution on childhood asthma and to understand how/why social stressors such as poverty, crime, poor nutrition and violence affect asthma. For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/ncer/cumulativerisk.
For more information on asthma visit http://www.epa.gov/asthma/awm/index.html.
EPA GRANTS $3 MILLION TO SUPPORT CHEMICAL TOXICITY RESEARCH TO PROTECT HUMAN HEALTH
On June 22, EPA awarded a nearly $3 million EPA STAR (Science to Achieve Results) grant to four academic institutions (including Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Va.) to work closely with EPA scientists to see how chemicals disrupt cells in the liver, and lead to disease. This research will enhance the agency's Virtual Liver (v-Liver) chemical toxicity prediction model to better predict the risk of liver toxicity due to these chemicals more efficiently than laboratory-based animal models. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/ncct/virtual_liver/ and http://epa.gov/ncer/about/
HEALTHY WATERS BLOG CURRENT HIGHLIGHTSThe Chesapeake's Shelter from the Storm(water)Stormwater is a rising threat to the nation's water bodies as more and more areas are paved over with concrete and asphalt rather than with forests or grassy areas. Water runoff runs over paved surfaces into storm drains, and into waterways carrying debris and toxic substances with it. How do you see stormwater affecting the Chesapeake Bay or your local waterways? Share your ideas at http://blog.epa.gov/healthywaters/
Healthy Waters… there could be an app for that!-- EPA's Apps for the Environment Challenge is a contest challenging you to create an innovative “app” using EPA data or other useful resource promoting protection of human health and the environment. Besides addressing one of former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's Seven Priorities, there is no limit to what you can create! You have until Sept. 16 to submit your application. Share your ideas at http://blog.epa.gov/healthywaters/