Thursday, April 17, 2008

World Environment Day
by Earth 911 Staff on June 5th, 2008

1 Comment World Environment Day, commemorated each year on June 5, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.

World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of UNEP.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Plastic bottle chemical may be harmful

A boy carries used plastic bottles in a shop which will be sent to recycling plants in Dhaka January 29, 2007. (Rafiqur Rahman./Reuters)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A chemical in some plastic food and drink packaging including baby bottles may be tied to early puberty and prostate and breast cancer, the U.S. government said on Tuesday.

Based on draft findings by the National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, senior congressional Democrats asked the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its view that the chemical bisphenol A is safe in products for use by infants and children.

The chemical, also called BPA, is used in many baby bottles and the plastic lining of cans of infant formula.

The National Toxicology Program went further than previous U.S. government statements on possible health risks from BPA.

It said: "There is some concern for neural and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures." The findings expressed concern about exposure in these populations, "based on effects in the prostate gland, mammary gland, and an earlier age for puberty in females."

Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat and chairman of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, said the draft cast doubt on the FDA's position that BPA was safe.

"I hope the FDA is willing to reconsider their position on BPA for the safety of our infants and children," he said.

The National Toxicology Program said laboratory rodents exposed to BPA levels similar to human exposures developed precancerous lesions in the prostate and mammary glands, among other things.

"The possibility that bisphenol A may impact human development cannot be dismissed. More research is needed," the agency said.

Bisphenol A is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins and can be found in food and drink packaging as well as compact discs and some medical devices. Some dental sealants or composites contain it as well.

The National Toxicology Program expressed "negligible concern" that exposure of pregnant women to BPA causes fetal or neonatal death, birth defects or reduced birth weight and growth in babies. It also had "negligible concern" that exposure causes reproductive problems in adults.

The American Chemistry Council industry group said the conclusions confirmed that human exposure to bisphenol A is extremely low and noted no direct evidence that exposure adversely affects reproduction or development in humans.

In Canada, the Globe and Mail newspaper said the Canadian health ministry was ready to declare BPA a dangerous substance, making it the first regulatory body in the world to reach such a determination. The newspaper said the ministry could announce the decision as soon as Wednesday.

Environmental activists long have warned about health concerns regarding the chemical. They praised the draft findings of the National Toxicology Program, which cited more potential worries about the chemical than did a panel of experts that advised the program last year.

"NTP's decision corrects the scientific record. It reflects a significant body of science showing that BPA may play a larger role than previously thought in a host of common health problems," Anila Jacob of the Environmental Working Group said in a statement.

(Editing by Alan Elsner and Maggie Fox)
The Recycling Advocate - April 16, 2008 - Volume 13, Number 3

Bottle Bill Expansion Advances

CAW sponsored legislation that aims to update the state's Bottle and Can Recycling Law by expanding the program to include all plastic bottles among other measures, passed out of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee 5-2. SB 1625 (Corbett) now heads to the Appropriations Committee.

Toughest Plastic Bag Reduction Measure in Nation Moves Out of Committee

CAW sponsored AB 2058 (Levine) passed out of Assembly Natural Resources committee April 14 with a 5-3 vote. The bill will require retailers to meet a tough plastic bag diversion mandate--as high as 70%--if they wish to continue freely distributing plastic bags. If the benchmark is not met, retailers will only be able to hand out bags if they charge a fee of not less than 15 cents. A similar approach has reduced plastic bag consumption in Ireland by over 90%.

Other CAW Bills Pass Out of Committees

CAW sponsored AB 2505 (Brownley) passed out of Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee April 15. The bill proposes to phase out the use of PVC resin in certain consumer packaging. Consumer packaging represents the largest segment of PVC in the solid waste stream, as it is virtually non-recyclable. PVC consumer packaging also presents a human health threat as it can contain high levels of phthalates and heavy metals, and is a costly and potent contaminant in the recycling stream of other, non-toxic alternative plastics.

AB 2640 (Huffman) passed out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee April 14 with a 5-3 vote. The bill will assist in reaching the CIWMB's goal to divert 50% of organics from landfills by 2020 by creating a program to support and handle this organic waste. AB 2640 will next be heard in the Appropriations Committee.

Vote in our Poll! Question: Plastic bags cost $250/household in retail costs and taxes. What fee level will motivate consumers to bring their own bag?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Apr 14 - San Francisco Expands Curbside Recycling to Include More Plastics
Submitted by Recycling News on April 14, 2008 - 10:17.
Starting Earth Day, April 22, San Francisco residents will be able to dump more plastic items into their recycling bins. Almost all types of plastic, including buckets, disposal utensils and see through plastic cups and take out containers will be accepted. The only plastic items that are not included are bags, film wrap, bubble wrap and any polsytrene. Bags and film are not included because those items usually get tangled in the recycling equipment.

Read an article.

What You Can Do

Learn more about CAW's work on plastic issues.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Earth Day

Earth Day
by Earth 911 Staff on April 22nd, 2008

3 Comments Earth Day is a time to celebrate gains we have made and create new visions to accelerate environmental progress. Earth Day is a time to unite around new actions. Earth Day and every day is a time to act to protect our planet.


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