SETAC MultiBrief
Jul. 11, 2013

Review: US system for flagging hazardous chemicals is flawed
A 27-year-old U.S. program intended to warn the public of the presence of hazardous chemicals is flawed in many states due to scant oversight and lax reporting by plant owners, an examination finds. Under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, private and public facilities must issue an inventory listing potentially hazardous chemicals stored on their properties. But facilities across the country often misidentify these chemicals or their location, and sometimes fail to report the existence of the substances altogether.More

Industry tells EPA: 'Withdraw sulfur rules'
Environmental Leader
The American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers have called upon the EPA to withdraw its proposed Tier 3 rule, which would require lower sulfur content in gasoline. API says Tier 3 is a "reckless" and "unnecessary" regulation that won't do much to improve air quality and will impose about $10 billion in new capital costs on refiners, increasing gasoline manufacturing costs by between six and nine cents per gallon.More

To clean the air, Dutch scientists invent pavement that eats smog
Los Angeles Times
Scientists in the Netherlands have found that installing special air-purifying pavement on city streets can cut air pollution nearly in half. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology, after taking measurements for a year, found that a street outfitted with smog-eating paving blocks, also called photocatalytic pavement, reduced nitrogen oxide air pollution by up to 45 percent in ideal weather conditions and 19 percent over the course of a day.More

Study: North China lives cut 5 years by coal burning
People in northern China may be dying five years sooner than expected because of diseases caused by air pollution, an unintended result of a decades-old policy providing free coal for heat, a study found. Coal burning leading to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and respiratory illnesses may cause the 500 million Chinese living north of the Huai River — a rough line dividing the country's north and south — to lose an aggregate 2.5 billion years of life expectancy, according to the research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.More

EPA's abandoned Wyoming fracking study 1 retreat of many
When the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly retreated on its multimillion-dollar investigation into water contamination in a central Wyoming natural gas field last month, it shocked environmentalists and energy industry supporters alike. Industry advocates say the EPA's turnabout reflects an overdue recognition that it had over-reached on fracking and that its science was critically flawed. But environmentalists see an agency that is systematically disengaging from any research that could be perceived as questioning the safety of fracking or oil drilling.More

Michigan State gets $14.1 million grant to study dioxins
Scientists from Michigan State University scientists will use a $14.1 million grant to lead a research effort into dioxins. The team of researchers will investigate how dioxins affect human health and try to identify new ways of removing them from the environment.More

Pepsi plans to drop disputed cancer chemical
Bloomberg Businessweek
In a response published in a Center for Environmental Health report, PepsiCo said its "coloring suppliers have been working on modifying the manufacturing process to reduce the amount of 4-MEI," adding that drinks sold the U.S. beyond California will have reduced levels of the chemical, 4-methylimidazole, "by February 2014."More

Great Barrier Reef now rated 'poor'
The Age
The health of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef has been downgraded to "poor" as the Australian government quietly pushed some of the pollution targets that were supposed to be achieved this year back five years. In 2009, former environment minister Peter Garrett approved a plan to cut the chemical and fertilizer runoff that is poisoning the reef by a minimum of 50 percent by this year — a level then seen as essential for saving the reef. But the fresh plan, announced by new environment minister Mark Butler recently in a bid to avoid having the reef's World Heritage status downgraded, shifts some of the targets back to 2018.More

Air pollution linked to higher risk of lung cancer and heart failure
The Guardian
Air pollution, chiefly from traffic exhaust fumes in cities, is having a serious and sometimes fatal effect on health, according to two studies that link it to lung cancer and heart failure. Air pollution increases the risk of lung cancer even at levels lower than those recommended by the European Union, which are also standard in the U.K., says a paper in the Lancet Oncology journal. Although smoking is a far bigger cause of lung cancer, a significant number of people will get the disease because of where they live.More