EPA’s new Collaborative Research Program – A step toward improving new chemical reviews under TSCA
Authors: Maria Doa, Lauren Ellis, Lariah Edwards

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently filed comments on EPA’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Collaborative Research Program to Support New Chemical Reviews (Collaborative Research Program). The Collaborative Research Program is a multi-year scientific partnership between the agency’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) and Office of Research and Development (ORD) aimed at modernizing the methods, approaches, and tools used to evaluate new chemicals under TSCA.  On April 20-21, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a virtual public meeting to provide an overview of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) New Chemicals Collaborative Research Program and give stakeholders an opportunity to provide input.

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EU unveils plan for ‘largest ever ban’ on dangerous chemicals
Source: The Guardian
Author: Arthur Neslen

Thousands of potentially harmful chemicals could soon be prohibited in Europe under new restrictions, which campaigners have hailed as the strongest yet.

Forget microplastics: we may have a much smaller problem
Source: The Guardian
Author: Anna Turns

In 2019, Ikea announced it had developed curtains that it claimed could “break down common indoor air pollutants”. The secret, it said, was the fabric’s special coating. “What if we could use textiles to clean the air?” asked Ikea’s product developer, Mauricio Affonso, in a promotional video for the “Gunrid” curtains.

After explaining that the coating was a photocatalyst (“similar to photosynthesis, found in nature”), Affonso is shown gazing up at the gauzy curtains while uplifting music plays. “It’s amazing to work on something that can give people the opportunity to live a healthier life at home.”

Puzzled by these claims – how could a mineral coating clean the air? – Avicenn, a French environmental nonprofit organisation, investigated. Independent laboratory tests of the Gunrid textile reported that samples contained tiny particles of titanium dioxide (TiO2) – a substance not normally toxic but which can be possibly carcinogenic if inhaled, and potentially in other forms – which supposedly gives “self-cleaning” properties to things such as paint and windows when exposed to sunlight.

Turning waste into gold drugs
Source: Ars Technica
Author: John Timmer

Countless things we use in modern societies, from food to food containers, rely on industrial-scale chemistry. That chemistry often produces materials that aren't useful to us—and in some cases, they're hazardous or toxic. Not only are these materials wasteful, but paying to dispose of them safely can add to the costs of materials.

Early developments in green chemistry have mostly focused on finding reaction pathways that limit the production of unwanted byproducts and the use of toxic solvents. But researchers are looking beyond that, trying to find ways to better integrate chemistry into a circular economy, where source materials are either sustainable or recycled.

Chemicals in everyday products are spurring obesity, warns a new review
Author: Grace van Deelen

Many years ago, endocrinologist and medical doctor Robert Lustig had a patient, a 5-year-old girl, who was suffering from obesity. Unable to determine the cause of her obesity, Lustig scanned her for tumors.

The culprit was not a tumor, nor the girl’s diet, exercise, or family history. Rather, it was her body wash, said Lustig, a professor emeritus of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco. A Victoria’s Secret bath gel, labeled “For Adults Only,” had been the source of a chemical — phytoestrogen — in the girl’s blood known to spur obesity.

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Groundbreaking Report Reveals Vinyl Flooring's "Dirty Climate Secret"

new report by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) with Material Research L3C and Autocase Economic Advisory uncovers the true carbon footprint of vinyl flooring made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), sometimes called “luxury vinyl tile.” The report shows the carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from producing this flooring, which manufacturers have been underreporting by up to 180%. 

The report also provides the first-ever published estimates of the rate of use of notoriously harmful substances such as mercury, PFAS, and asbestos. These toxic substances used in PVC production both in the U.S. and in China, endanger workers and fenceline communities along the entire global supply chain

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The secret life of ESG ratings
Source: GreenBiz
Author: Joel Makower

The letters E, S and G have become so intertwined with the world of sustainability that the three-letter acronym ESG can mean almost anything and, at times, nothing at all. But when it comes to the ratings of companies’ environmental, social and governance policies and performance, those definitions can determine the fate of trillions of dollars of capital.

So, what exactly are ESG ratings? Who creates them and on what basis? What do they mean? How are they used?

Children's products labeled water- or stain-resistant may contain PFAS
Source: Science Daily

Seems like kids are always getting into something, so products marketed toward them often claim to repel liquids. Some items contain potentially harmful per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to accomplish this feat, but companies aren't required to disclose these 'forever chemicals' on labels. Now, researchers show that some children's products advertised as water- or stain-resistant contain PFAS, even items labeled 'green' or 'nontoxic.'

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People of color more likely to be harmed by pesticides, study show
Source: The Hill
Author: Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech

People of color from low-income communities are more likely to be harmed by pesticides, a new study found.  

The study, published earlier this week in BMC Public Health, reviewed data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency in addition to other existing pesticide research. 
Biomarkers for a dozen toxic pesticides, tracked over the past 20 years, were found in blood and urine samples of Black Americans and Mexican Americans at an average amount that was five times higher than in white Americans, according to the report. 

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Source: Fast Company
Author: Adele Peters

By one estimate, more than 350,000 synthetic chemicals are now in use around the world. That’s a major challenge both for the environment and for public health: Industrial chemicals, including known carcinogens, now show up everywhere from the deep ocean to breast milk in nursing mothers.

Sudoc, a startup that spun out of research by Carnegie Mellon University chemists and winner of the On the Rise (0-4 years in business) category of Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards, is working on one corner of the challenge—chemicals used for heavy cleaning. “It’s our mission to outperform these chemicals so we can remove them,” says CEO Roger Berry.

This is the bulletin of the TURI Library at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Greenlist Bulletin provides previews of recent publications and websites relevant to reducing the use of toxic chemicals by industries, businesses, communities, individuals and government. You are welcome to send a message to info@turi.org if you would like more information on any of the articles listed here, or if this email is not displaying properly.
May 2022