Tag Archive for 'Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)'

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Each year, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) develops a list of substances to be considered for Toxicological Profile development. The nomination process includes consideration of all substances on ATSDR’s Substance Priority List (SPL), as well as new substances nominated by the public. That public nomination window is open again, until May 20, both to suggest reviews for substances already on the list and to add new ones.  The Agency establishes and maintains an inventory of literature, research, and studies on the health effects of toxic substances, to respond to requests for consultation, and to support the site-specific response actions conducted by ATSDR, as otherwise necessary.  ATSDR has specific EPA guidelines for selecting which substances get placed on the SPL.
*  The Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) is an interdisciplinary research and consulting organization at the University of Technology Sydney. About 10 days ago ISF released a report titled “Responsible Minerals Sourcing for Renewable Energy,” for Earthworks, an environmental group focusing mineral and energy development.  The ISF Report notes that renewable energy technologies are now the most cost-competitive technologies for new installations – and recent investment in new renewable energy infrastructure globally has been double that of new energy investment in fossil fuels and nuclear. Recycling of metals from end-of-life batteries was found to have the greatest opportunity to reduce primary demand for battery metals, including cobalt, lithium, nickel, and manganese.  As demands grow, however, recycling won’t cover all needs.  The Report develops a number of key findings deserving close review, especially regarding responsible sourcing.
 
*  DOT/Federal Highway announced the availability of the Environmental Assessment (Draft) for the Washington, DC to Baltimore Loop Project.  The Loop Project envisions construction of approximately 35.3 miles of parallel, twin underground tunnels (Main Artery Tunnels) between Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD.  It’s a “private project,” completely funded by The Boring Company.  According to DOT “the purpose of the proposed action is to construct an alternative, high speed option for traveling between Washington, District of Columbia, and Baltimore, Maryland.”  The proposed project would extend beneath public right-of-way of Route 50 and Baltimore-Washington Parkway, with termini at 55 New York Avenue Northeast in Washington, DC and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 333 Camden Street, Baltimore, MD. Battery-powered, autonomous electric vehicles, traveling at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour, would transport passengers in the Main Artery Tunnels.  Comments on the Draft EA are due by June 10.
Tom Ewing

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Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), is seeking comments on its Draft Toxicological Profile for Glyphosate, “a phosphonoglycine non-selective herbicide, first registered for use by the EPA in 1974.”  Roundup is one common product containing glyphosate in concentrations ranging from 0.96% to as much as 71%.  In 2007, U.S. agricultural use of glyphosate was approximately 82,800 tons and non-agricultural use was approximately 9,300 tons. In 2014,  agricultural use was approximately 124,953 tons and non-agricultural use approximately 13,260 tons.  All toxicological profiles issued as ‘‘Drafts for Public Comment’’ represent ATSDR’s best efforts to provide important toxicological information on priority hazardous substances.  ATSDR wants comments and additional information about the health effects of glyphosate for review and potential inclusion in a final profile. Comments are due on or before July 8, 2019.
*  In a somewhat related development the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART), established within Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), selected three experts to work with a Science Advisory Workgroup to recommend PFAS drinking water standards.  PFAS = per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of industrial compounds used in production and on finished consumer products, e.g, non-stick cookware.  The Workgroup is developing health-based recommendations for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to consider as part of a rulemaking process for Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for PFAS in drinking water.  The new members of the team are specialists in toxicology, epidemiology and risk assessment.  The Workgroup’s recommendation is due July 1, 2019.
*  Have you ever heard of Nature’s Notebook Plant and Animal Observing Program, run by the Department of Interior?  Neither had I.  It’s sponsored by the US Geological Survey using standardized forms for tracking plant and animal activity. Nature’s Notebook forms are used to record phenology (e.g., the timing of leafing or flowering of plants and reproduction or migration of animals) as part of a nationwide effort to understand and predict how plants and animals respond to environmental variation and changes in weather and climate.  DOI wants to know: Is this worthwhile?  Should we keep it going?  The bigger question – who knows about this?  Last October DOE asked the same questions.  They received one comment, from a science educator who wrote: “This program provides critical data on changes in seasonality and plant and animal patterns. Phenology is incredibly important to understand—for people, wildlife, and industry—and the USA–NPN is the best resource for compiling, analyzing, and distributing this information.”  A year ago I wrote a report on challenges faced by wild bees and honeybees.  One big problem: observational data.  Could this Notebook effort teamed with citizen science help establish critical bee data…?   Comments are due May 13.
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Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Exposure to Polyfluoroalkyl Substances – PFAS – is an emerging issue at state and federal levels.  Michigan has had to move quicker than most states or localities because of reports of high PFAS levels or the stuff is actually threatening public water supplies.  PFAS compounds are used in thousands of applications including firefighting foam, food packaging, and many other consumer products, by industries such as tanneries, metal platers, and clothing manufacturers.  Last week, Michigan announced reaching the mid-point in collecting samples statewide of PFAS levels in public water supplies.  Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has collected samples from 892 of the state’s 1,841 public water systems and schools that operate their own wells. Pretty good news, so far, luckily.  To date, of 341 laboratory test results only the City of Parchment’s (just north of Kalamazoo) test results exceeded the EPA Health Advisory of 70 ppt for PFAS in drinking water and the DEQ’s action level of 70 ppt in groundwater; 318 samples were between 0 and 10 ppt, 22 between 10 and 70 ppt.
*  The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is one of the federal agencies taking a close look at PFAS and health risks.  In June, ATSDR published a Draft Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls.  The Agency is seeking public review and comment as well as additional information, reports, and studies about the health effects of PFAS.   The comment period closed on August 20 and the Agency received 65 sets of comments from a range of reviewers – including state environmental agencies, the American Water Works, trade associations, and individuals.  This work is linked to the formal toxicological profiles prepared for hazardous materials most commonly found at facilities within the National Priorities List, the set of hazardous waste sites that make up the Superfund list, top priorities for EPA’s enforcement and clean up.
*  EPA released its proposed “Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule” last week.  This is the successor to the Clean Power Plan presented by the Supreme Commander to Moses on stone tablets, actually a couple hundred of them.  Because of its sacrosanct Origin, the CPP could not be questioned by the rabbis, priests and holy people writing and instilling the catechism in those ancient times.  Many ages later, though, because of lightning from Zeus, the CPP was cast from the Temple of Righteousness and replaced by the Tweeted One’s ACE.  Is ACE better than CPP?  Worse?  You’d think the Scribes would have questions and maybe even seek answers – What?!.  But no, there are no emojis created yet for “best system of emission reduction (BSER)” or New Source Review and so Darkness Dogma remains, and reigns.  [Hey c’mon, my Peeps, it’s Monday – lighten up! *:D big grin]
Tom Ewing
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Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*   The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), has a Draft report available addressing the Draft Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls (PFAS).  ATSDR is seeking public comments and additional information, reports, and studies about the health effects of PFAS, used by industry in production and in a wide range of consumer products.  Lately, this has been another big groundwater issue in Michigan.  ATSDR solicits any relevant, additional information and studies; comments are due by July 23. This set of compounds is the focus of a new EPA national initiative to determine what’s going on and what needs to be done regarding PFAS.  EPA has a two-day set of public meetings on PFAS in New Hampshire today and tomorrow, one of a number of “community engagements” to help the Agency address challenges with PFAS and help with planning for next steps.

*  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) uses a “collision risk model” (CRM) to predict the number of golden and bald eagles that may be killed at new wind facilities. The model incorporates existing information on eagle exposure and collision probability in the form of “prior distributions” (priors). FWS has undertaken an analysis to update the priors using “all available data” that meet specific criteria for both eagle species. FWS has a summary report of its analysis, which generates new exposure and collision priors for both species of eagle.  FWS is seeking public comments on the summary report, which will be considered by the Service before using the new priors in the CRM.  Comments are due on or before August 20, 2018.

*   Remember Burning Man last year, Dude?!  It’s just soooo cool that the Bureau of Land Management plans to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement as it considers a 10-year special recreation permit for Pershing County, NV.  What are the issues?  Well, you know, 100,000 people all having fun in a non-city: spiritual, creative and detritus.  BM requires a total land area covering 14,714 acres.  Using approximately 16.5 million gallons of water per year for dust abatement (in Nevada!) and in support of event activities.  Increased airborne dust and air quality impacts.  Solid waste and how it will be disposed of when, you know, peeps leave.  Then there’s monitoring to watch for degradation of federal land and how BLM (read taxpayers) is compensated for its work.  Don’t forget traffic and load capacity on public roads.  Don’t let the Man bring you down, man.  Send comments by August 6.

BTW… Holiday next week!  Hollah atcha again on July 9!  Have a GREAT 4th!
Tom Ewing
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