In recent weeks, warning signals arriving from transportation companies about increasing freight rates have been getting louder.
Fuel costs have steadily climbed since 2016. Diesel has stayed at around $3 per gallon nationally, nearly 17% higher than January 2017.
Weather, of course, has much to do with the changes, but not in the typical short-term way storms and snow often have. In this case, the 2017 hurricanes have created the prospect for rebuilding damaged structures. That creates a longer-than-normal demand curve for transport of building materials to affected areas.
In a recent letter to its customers, JB Hunt Transport Services wrote, “This is one of the highest periods of turbulence and volatility in supply [that] we’ve ever experienced, and we don’t think it will abate anytime soon.”
In the “unintended consequences” department, starting December 18, 2017 the U.S. Department of Transportation began implementing its Electronic Logging Device mandate. In addition to new hours-of-service restrictions, the intent is that instead of over-the-road truck drivers recording their duty status by hand using pencil and paper, while collecting “supporting documents” such as toll collection tickets and fuel receipts to back up their logbooks, a device connected to their truck’s engine will do it automatically.
Problem is that compliance costs money. Smaller owner-operators are often unable to invest in the hardware and software, which means they cannot operate at all, or they are unable to operate within the constraints and remain profitable. Moreover, since drivers will have to account for every minute of their working day, productivity loss is estimated at around 4% for the overall industry, according to FTR Intelligence, a research firm. All of this reduces the supply of drivers and driving time.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) says that “reduced driving time means reduced productivity for the industry. It also means more drivers being stranded when the hour clock runs out short of their destination. It may mean that more drivers are needed during a time when we have a driver shortage." ATA stated that there is a current shortage of 48,000 drivers, which is expected to grow to nearly 900,000 by the year 2025.
Bottom line: according to Truckstop.com, a “load board” that matches drivers and trucking companies with shippers, truckers “should plan to raise (their) asking price by at least 1% per mile”, which would represent an average load cost of over $1000. Stifel Capital Markets, a transportation industry investor and research firm, predicted a 5%-10% hike on contract freight rates in 2018.
As Bette Davis famously said, “fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride”.
Everyone has enjoyed a snow cone with shaved ice at least once in their lifetime whether as a small kid hearing the ringing of the bell and the neighborhood kids yelling “Snow Cone Lady, Snow Cone Lady” or simply enjoying a snow cone as an adult with friends and family at a ball game. Snow cones are a delicious treat for the summer months and if you live in states where the weather is hot all year round these treats can suffice your taste.
At Hypothermias, located in Tucson, Arizona, selling all the proper snow cone equipment is their business. Jameson Powers started the business back in 1994 when he was going to college in Florida. After dating a girl in college from Hawaii, Powers learned of her love for snow cones – not only learned but listened to her rave of how Hawaiian shaved ice is unique, different and just simply amazing. Powers decided to take a trip to Hawaii and found he loved the taste of the shaved ice so that’s where his business adventure began.
The name Hypothermias wasn’t in existence though until 2000 when they needed a name to trademark. All the popular names Powers could think of were already taken – so one night when listening to a news report on hypothermia Powers had the idea he needed “Hypothermias” and his trademarked name was founded.
Now Hypothermias has grown to help others start up their business providing the right tools and equipment needed to succeed in the shaved ice business. One thing Hypothermias does is make and develop their own snow cone syrups. From flavors such as banana and lime to unique flavors like cheesecake and rock and roll, Hypothermias makes sure to use the finest ingredients no matter the cost. “We try to go as natural as we can,” Powers explained when discussing the unique flavors of their snow cone syrups. Not only do they sell the syrups, but they also personally make and take pride in their syrups ensuring an authentic taste with every mouthful.
Hypothermias not only make their own snow cone syrup – they also developed and designed their very own flower cup. Customers have been amazed at how quickly their sales and profits have maximized since switching over to the flower cup. According to Powers, “Customers thought we were crazy!”, but the benefits of this flower cup quickly outweigh the price. Compared to a paper cup, the flower cup is comprised of plastic and features a ledge that catches drips and spills for a cleaner eating experience. The modified design with a flat base now allows servers to set down the snow cone and quickly pour the syrup over the shaved ice creating more efficiency to serve customers.
To make the shaved ice, Hypothermias uses Sun West Containers’ 1 gallon pails, which is a pretty simple process as Powers explains. Since water expands as it freezes, the team simply fills the pail three-quarters of the way full with distilled water and then puts the 1 gallon pails in the ice chest freezer. Then they are converted into plastic bags and stored in the freezer for later use.
Powers has even collaborated with some big-time names including Cold Stone Creamery. During the downturn in the economy, Cold Stone Creamery approached Powers about a cheaper price point for their customers and the result was ice cream on the bottom with shaved ice and flavor on the top – one tasty treat! This was just the big hit they needed in California, Colorado and Arizona areas to boost their sales.
Sun West Container, a BASCO Company, is proud to supply 1 Gallon Pails and Lids and 1 Gallon Round Bottles to Hypothermias
For more information on Hypothermias, visit Hypothermias.com or call 1-888-368-3017.
Who remembers the Ice Bucket Challenge that swept the nation back in the summer of 2014?
No one ever would have thought that a bucket or pail full of ice would go viral on social media channels, but it did! The social media craze sensation known as the Ice Bucket Challenge swept the country with individuals pouring buckets or pails of ice water over their heads on video and then challenging two or three friends to do the same while donating money to the ALS Foundation. This viral campaign of dumping an ice bucket or pail over your head raised more than $115 million for the ALS Association. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease which causes nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to gradually deteriorate. This campaign brought millions of individuals close together as well as communities that capitalized on fundraising and activism. You would never think that a bucket or pail of ice cold water could create such as buzz and sense of activism for such a significant cause, but it did! Not only did this ice bucket campaign bring awareness, but it also had long-lasting benefits.
According to the ALS Foundation, due to the Ice Bucket Challenge donations scientists have been able to discover a new gene, NEK1, which is known to be among the most common genetic contributors of the disease – now researchers have an exciting new target for drug development!
Next time such a fad goes viral with ice bucket pails, BASCO has you covered – We might even throw in the ice too!
Fluorescent Bulb & Lamp Recycling
Most individuals assume “why should I recycle fluorescent bulbs when I can throw them in the trash?” What most people do not realize is that when fluorescent bulbs are thrown into a dumpster or trash can once they arrive at the landfill or incinerator those bulbs release mercury into the environment. With recycling fluorescent bulbs, it allows the reuse of the glass, metals and other materials that make up the light bulb to be reused. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and state environmental agencies have worked recently to bring awareness of these problems associated with the mismanagement of mercury and increase enforcement of the mishandling of mercury found in fluorescent lamps. There are no 100% mercury-free fluorescent lamps, but some contain reduced amounts of mercury or a chemical that binds with the mercury. Other lamp types such as high-intensity discharge (HID), neon, mercury vapor, high pressure sodium, compact fluorescent and metal halide lamps are classified as hazardous waste. To be on the safe side, check with your state on rules and guidelines for disposing of fluorescent lamps and other types of bulbs – each state differs. Recycling is the best way to dispose of fluorescent bulbs properly. Using lamp recycling boxes that provide accumulation documentation as well as closing instructions for easy disposal helps keep mercury out of the environment and keeps companies like yours in regulatory compliance.
Hazardous Waste Management
According to the EPA, hazardous waste that is improperly managed poses a serious threat to human health as well as the environment. Needing to address today’s complex solid hazardous waste disposal challenges? As more and more issues continue to arise - shrinking disposal capacity, rising disposal costs and increases in solid waste generation – strategies must be implemented to manage safe and cost effective waste management. One major issue when it comes to waste management from health and environmental damages is the fact that improper disposal is cheap compared to best practices for the environment. How can we fix these issues? Waste management programs should be implemented in various facilities – cubic yard boxes or HAZMAT boxes are used to store, transport and dispose of hazardous waste properly and can help you get started. Many HAZMAT boxes have multi-use purposes whether you are disposing construction materials, pesticides, resins, paints and medical waste HAZMAT boxes provide the efficient storage and disposal solution you might need. Most medical waste gets transported to an incinerator or some facilities have on-site disposal. Small hospitals, clinics, physician/dental offices and other health agencies can take advantage of lab packs for small pharmaceutical bottles and other hazardous lab waste that needs to be disposed of properly.
Regardless of what type of facility looking to achieve improved methods of waste disposal, facilities need to make waste management programs a priority in order to stay compliant with regulations and keep the environment clean.
Recently, Marc Nichols, Acting Director of Field Services, Eastern Region, of DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) explained to a gathering of hazardous materials professionals the importance of attention to details in the US-DOT Closure Instruction requirement (CFR 172.2(c)).
One example of how details can trip up manufacturers and shippers is that during facility inspections DOT inspectors examine the scheduled calibration of torque tools used to close the drums. Another critical aspect is that Closure Instructions aren’t generic; they’re specific to each drum manufacturer, and in some cases, to a particular model of drum. Therefore, packaging from different manufacturers, even if similar, must be closed in accordance with the Closure/Closing Instructions from each specific manufacturer.
All this means is that shippers must make sure they have current closing instructions from all of their suppliers of DOT-specification packaging, that they are exactly following the appropriate instructions for the specific package or drum they are closing, and that the tools they use for closing have documented torque calibration.
Shippers and transporters should be aware that non-compliance with the Closure Instructions can result in significant fines. For guidance on selecting and properly closing packaging for Hazardous Materials visit www.bascousa.com, or call BASCO at 1-800-776-3786.
The far-reaching reforms of the 2016 “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act” will significantly impact the chemical industry. Primarily, it gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the power to determine how a chemical is made, processed, distributed, used and disposed of.
The Act expands the authority of the EPA to order testing of a new or existing chemical to determine its risk to public health. EPA will establish its process for conducting risk evaluation within a year of enactment of the new law. Among other factors, EPA must consider hazard and exposure potential, persistence and bioaccumulation, and storage near significant sources of drinking water.
Importantly, EPA must designate chemicals as high-priority if it concludes, without consideration of costs or other non-risk factors, that the substance may present an unreasonable risk because of a potential hazard and a potential route of exposure under the conditions of use, including an unreasonable risk to a potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation identified as relevant by EPA.
In regulating a chemical, the new law requires EPA to consider and publish a statement concerning various aspects, including: the effects and magnitude of exposure; the benefits of the chemical; the reasonably ascertainable economic consequences of the rule; the costs and benefits of the regulatory action, and of one or more primary alternative regulatory actions considered by EPA. EPA is required to consider these aspects in making its selection among the available risk management options, including whether technically and economically feasible alternatives will be available when the proposed action takes effect.
Although under previous law, a new chemical could be manufactured if EPA did not provide within 90 days a response to pre-manufacture notices or significant new use notices. Under the new Act, a chemical producer cannot proceed with manufacture without EPA’s formal determination.
The new law requires EPA to have an annual plan for risk evaluations, which will identify the chemicals expected to be assessed that year. This may have an impact on the use of listed chemicals even before the assessment begins.
There are new Confidential Business Information sections of the Act concerning information not protected from disclosure. A critical aspect in this regard is information from health and safety studies. While the Act does not prohibit the disclosure of such information on chemicals offered for commercial distribution or for which testing or notification is required, it takes care to state that it does not authorize the disclosure of any information, including formulas (including molecular structures) of a chemical substance or mixture, that discloses processes used in the manufacturing or processing of a chemical substance or mixture or in the case of a mixture, the release of data disclosing the portion of the mixture comprised by any of the chemical substances in the mixture.
Meeting all the Right safety requirements for OSHA and EPA standards may seem difficult. Do you know if your facility could pass the test?
Making sure your facility and workplace are complaint and hazard-free should be a number one priority for your own safety as well as the safety of others. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) standards mean serious business these days. No one wants to be faced with a penalty that comes with serious and costly repercussions. With OSHA fines having increased approximately 78% in August 2016, employers should be focusing on improving standards in the workplace not to just avoid these high fines, but to provide a safe, compliant working environment. In order to meet these standards and avoid serious fines, sometimes you need the Right equipment to comply with these codes and regulations.
Make sure you these areas off your list:
Steel and Plastic Drums
Do your drums sit directly on the ground floor, on wooden transportation pallets or sit open without a lid? Accidents are bound to happen in these conditions and during the handling of drums so it is important to practice proper procedures. Drums sitting on the ground or on pallets should have spill protection since spills cause slips, trips and falls. The use of spill decks helps with drum waste collection by capturing the spills and leaks, then a spill bladder will deploy when the sump fills up, preventing a messy, dangerous overflow. Also, an adequate amount of absorbents should be kept near certain areas where major drum spills could occur.
Fuel, Solvent Cans and Containers
Are your gas cans labeled correctly? Do you have open gas cans containing flammable liquids? These are common mistakes with very simple fixes within your facility. It is important to understand the dangers present and the type of storage needed to ensure safe usage of flammable liquids. Safety cans are metal cans that are designed to offer both convenience and safety when facilitating the storage and transfer of flammable liquids. They are approved by DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) and should be physically labeled as such “Safety Cans” under OSHA standards. Solvent cans and other containers should not be left open. Original containers of flammable liquids are allowed by OSHA if the container is in a quantity of one gallon or less. Open containers are not approved and allow VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the air. Some VOC’s can be dangerous to human health as well as the environment which is why they are regulated by law.
Flammable Safety Cabinets
Are the safety cabinet doors in your facility capable of latching? Are there hazardous materials on open shelves or stacked on or around the cabinet? Improper storage and handling of flammable liquids is one of the leading causes of industrial fires. Liquid containers such as safety cans must be kept in storage cabinets with the appropriate label on the outside of the cabinet - “FLAMMABLE – KEEP FIRE AWAY.” Doors should be well fitted, shelf closing and equipped with a latching device. Any additional drilled holes, screws or padlock hasp added to the safety cabinet are not acceptable. Making sure you have the adequate amount of storage space is vital; there should not be extra containers stacked on top or around cabinets and no more than three cabinets may be located in a single fire area.
Not sure if your facility meets some of these standards? Contact your BASCO Representative and schedule a free facility survey today.
OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, https://osha.gov
Although most pesticide users are quite knowledgeable in the use and handling of agricultural chemicals, they must also be adequately prepared to handle a pesticide spill or any accidental release of a hazardous chemical. The spill might be a minor problem with a leaking container or a major accident such as an equipment malfunction where the contents of a fully loaded spray tank are suddenly released. If you’re not prepared to respond properly to such an emergency—no matter how minor the problem—you could seriously endanger public health and environmental quality.
All users of hazardous chemicals must be familiar with the laws and guidelines governing chemical spills. All pesticide wastes, including spilled material, must be disposed of in accordance with federal, state, and local laws. The U.S. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates the disposal of hazardous wastes and is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state environmental protection agencies. The Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act establishes procedures for emergency planning preparedness and reporting of specific quantities of stored and spilled hazardous chemicals, including pesticides. This act is administered by the U.S. EPA and your state’s emergency management agency.
Response basics are the “Three C’s: Control the spill, Contain the spill, and Clean up the spill."
First and foremost, do not expose yourself to the spilled chemical; put on personal protective equipment, including chemical-resistant gloves, before attempting to control the spill. Also, do not attempt to rescue someone in an unknown environment without first properly protecting yourself, or you may become another victim.
Control the Spill
Act quickly—the sooner the spill is controlled the less damage it can cause. Immediate steps should be taken to control the flow of the material being spilled, regardless of the source. For example, if a one-gallon can on a storage shelf has rusted through and is leaking, a sprayer has tipped over, or a hazardous chemical is leaking from a damaged tank truck, do everything possible to stop the leak or spill at once. For instance, smaller containers up to 55 gallons can be put into larger containers to prevent further release of the chemical. However, stopping larger leaks or spills may not be as simple.
If the spill is large or dangerous, do not leave the site unattended, and have someone get help.
Isolate the Area
Rope off the contaminated area; keep people at least 30 feet away from the spill. Avoid contact with any drift or fumes that might be released. Do not use road flares if you suspect the leaking material is flammable. At times, evacuating people that are downwind from the spill may be necessary.
Do not leave the spill site unattended. Someone should be present at the spill site continuously until the danger is removed, the chemical is cleaned up, and the area is decontaminated.
Contain the Spill or Leak
At the same time the leak is being controlled, contain the spilled material in as small an area as possible and keep it from spreading. In some situations, a shovel or power equipment may be needed to construct a dam.
Liquid spills can be further contained by spreading absorbent materials such as fine sand, vermiculite, clay, or pet litter over the entire spill. CAUTION: Avoid using sawdust or sweeping compounds if the material is a strong oxidizer (check the label or MSDS) because such a combination presents a possible fire hazard.
Use a spill kit containing non-selective, universal sorbents packed in porous fabric pillows, pads, and socks. They can be placed directly on the spill or used to dike around the spill area. Waste disposal also is simplified since the contaminated pillows can be placed into heavy-duty disposal bags without loss of waste material.
The spread of spilled products formulated as dusts, wettable powders, or granular materials can be reduced by lightly misting the material with water or covering the spill with some type of plastic cover. However, if a plastic cover is used, it will be contaminated and should be discarded according to the disposal instructions on the product label.
The most important point to remember: Do not get any spilled material into any body of water, including storm sewers or drains, no matter how small the spill. If the chemical does contaminate a stream, pond, or any other waterway, contact your state Department of Environmental the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture immediately. Discharge of chemical substances into waterways also must be reported to the U.S. EPA under the authority of the Clean Water Act.
Clean up the Spill
Be sure to wear protective equipment when cleaning up any spill. If absorbent material has not yet been used to control the spill, it must now be spread over the contaminated area. Then sweep it up and place in a steel or fiber drum lined with a heavy-duty plastic bag. Keep adding the absorbent to the spilled area until all the liquid is absorbed.
Once the spill has been cleaned up, decontaminating or neutralizing the area may be necessary. Certain pesticides can be neutralized with bleach, others with lye or hydrated lime. Do not use bleach and lime together as this is a hazardous combination. CAUTION: check the MSDS for the correct method for decontaminating your specific spilled chemical. Work this cleaning material into the spill area with a coarse broom. Then add fresh absorbent material to soak up the now contaminated cleaning solution. This material should be swept up and placed in a plastic bag or drum for disposal. Repeat this procedure as needed to ensure that the area has been thoroughly decontaminated.
Remove absorbent since all saturated materials are classified as hazardous waste. Disposal of all hazardous wastes generated by the cleanup must be done in strict accordance with state and federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act laws. If you have a question or problem relating to pesticide waste disposal, contact the U.S. EPA Regional Office nearest you.
The only effective way to decontaminate soil saturated with a hazardous chemical is to remove the top 2 to 3 inches of soil. This contaminated soil must be disposed of at a proper hazardous waste disposal site. The decontaminated area should be covered with at least 2 inches of lime and then topped with fresh topsoil.
Soils contaminated as the result of application errors or minor spills can sometimes be cleaned by applying activated charcoal to the contaminated surface immediately after the misapplication or spill. The charcoal can absorb or tie up enough chemical to avoid significant plant injury and long-term contamination. However, applying activated charcoal is not effective on large spills and will do little to reduce soil contamination and subsequent plant damage.
Clean the Equipment and Vehicles
Clean any vehicles and equipment that were contaminated either as a result of the original accident or during the clean-up procedure. Before you begin, however, be sure you are properly clothed and protected to avoid contact with the chemical. Use ordinary household bleach in water (approximately 30 percent bleach) or an alkaline detergent (dishwasher soap) solution to clean your equipment. Do not mix bleach and alkaline detergent together as this is a hazardous combination.
Porous material and equipment such as brooms, leather shoes, and cloth hats cannot be effectively decontaminated and must be discarded or destroyed. Also, do not save disposable garments and gloves or badly contaminated clothing. These items should be properly disposed of immediately after completing the cleanup.
The best way to handle a spill is to prevent it from happening. Review and evaluate your methods for storing, mixing, loading, and transporting pesticides to identify areas for additional precautions and modifications.
Storing Pesticides Safely
Select a storage site to minimize the potential for runoff and contamination of surface water or groundwater in case of a spill or leak. The floor in the storage area should have an impermeable surface that is free of cracks. Check containers regularly for leaks, tears, or corrosion. Maintain an inventory of all pesticides stored and keep a copy in at least two separate locations (for example, at the storage facility and at the office). Keep a spill kit at the storage area. For more information, see the Pesticide Safety Fact Sheet: Pesticide Storage and Security.
Mixing and Loading Safety
Mix pesticides on a concrete containment pad to facilitate cleanup and prevent soil and water contamination. Equipment should be calibrated prior to use and checked for leaks, cracked hoses, loose connections, and faulty valves. Do not leave the sprayer unattended when filling. Keep a spill kit in the mixing and loading area.
Vehicle operators should be trained in basic emergency response procedures. Have product labels and MSDSs in the vehicle. Secure pesticide containers from moving during transit. Regularly inspect sprayer tanks, fittings, lines, booms, and nozzles. Each vehicle transporting pesticides should contain a spill kit.
All the previously mentioned areas include a spill kit, which should be available wherever pesticides are stored or handled. A ready-to-use spill kit should contain the following items:
You can find more information about spill kits HERE
Knowing how to handle accidental chemical spills and leaks safely is as important as knowing how to use the material correctly. Individuals using or distributing pesticides and other hazardous chemicals have a responsibility to protect the public and the environment. Knowledge of a few basic guidelines involving hazardous chemical spills and leaks can go a long way toward meeting that responsibility.
1. National Drug Take Back Days
Don’t flush those old pills down the toilet or throw them in the garbage – they could find their way into your water!
Now, there’s a safe place to dispose of old prescription pills before they lose their effectiveness or the wrong person takes one by mistake - sites for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This popular community program is supported by special sites across the country. The public can dispose of their unused, unwanted prescription medicines at one of 4,700 collection sites nationwide, operated by 3,800 local law enforcement agencies and other community partners during these events. The service is free of charge, no questions asked.
The public can also find a nearby collection site, in addition to the "Take Back Day" sites, by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the "Got Drugs?" icon, and following the links to a database where they enter their zip code. This is a great tool for locating what is in your area. Or, anyone can call 800-882-9529. (Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites—liquids and needles or other sharps will not be accepted.)
2. Would You Drink the Water You Used for Your Shower?
It's not as strange an idea as you might think...
In Arizona, for instance, scientists and newspapers have been reporting for some time about potential water shortages starting in 2017. Long term forecasts are not predicting rainfall/snowfall in amounts that will relieve the predicted drought any time in the next few years. These shortages might result in new water use regulations which might surprise you.
Thoughts about how we will clean ourselves, prepare our food, water our lawns, and grow our trees and vegetables with less water have many people thinking about possible solutions.
One topic of discussion addressing this issue concerns the recycling of water. While recycling is a term generally applied to aluminum cans, glass bottles, and newspapers, water can be recycled as well. Water recycling refers to reusing treated wastewater for beneficial purposes such as agricultural and landscape irrigation, industrial processes, toilet flushing, and replenishing a ground water basin (referred to as ground water recharge).
Water recycling can offer savings both in resources and in dollars. Wastewater treatment can be tailored to meet the water quality requirements of a planned reuse. For example, recycled water for landscape irrigation requires less treatment than recycled water for drinking water. No documented cases of human health problems due to contact with recycled water which has been treated to standards, criteria, and regulations, have been reported.
Water is sometimes recycled and reused on-site. For example, sometimes an industrial facility recycles water and uses it for cooling processes. A common process involves recycled water which has been reclaimed from municipal wastewater, or sewage. The term "water recycling" is generally used synonymously with water reclamation and water reuse.
Recycled water can save valuable potable water resources, since recycled water can be used for activities such as:
These uses offer the potential saving of tremendous quantities of potable water that can be used for personal (human) or pet consumption. Arizona’s drought should make us all stop and think: Is possible that before long Arizona might have homes constructed or retrofitted with gray water reuse systems?
Water treatment technology has advanced so much over the past few years that it now allows for the clean-up of waste water to any needed level of consumption required. What do you think of swallowing a glass of drinking water which was previously used to shower off the sweat and grime of a hard day’s work? Perhaps it is time to prepare and accept a new thought process on the way we consume water - will you be ready?
Source: Editor and EPA
3. New "Mega-drought" Warning Raises the Stakes Along the Colorado River.
Source: David DeMille , firstname.lastname@example.org October 7, 2016
Are you considering relocating or retiring to any of the southwestern states? Barring a sudden slashing of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, rising temperatures and a drier climate are likely to lead to decades-long "mega-droughts" hitting the southwestern U.S. over the next century, according to a new study.
In a report published this week in the journal Science Advances, researchers use computer modeling to calculate that the region faces between a 70 and 90 percent chance of experiencing a mega-drought later this century based on expected rates of temperature increases.
Lead researcher Toby Ault of Cornell University said the risk jumps to 99 percent if precipitation is below normal, explaining that even if precipitation increases the higher temperatures still dry out the region because of evaporation.
"The likelihood of a mega-drought is already increasing, and that risk will continue to go up as long as temperatures keep rising," Ault told the Associated Press.
Studies of tree rings and other data suggest past mega-droughts have lasted between 20 and 35 years, including one that some have linked to the 13th-century collapse of the Puebloan civilization that thrived in places like Mesa Verde.
If global temperatures rise below 2 degrees Celsius this century, the goal set in the Paris climate agreement reached earlier this year, then the risks are cut nearly in half, according to the report, but that’s something Ault and three other co-authors contend could be difficult.
"A constellation of adaptation policies, such as demand reduction and increased efficiency strategies, inter-basin water transfers, shifts to groundwater reliance, increased surface irrigation and other management measures, could serve to offset some of this increased moisture requirement," according to the report. "However, the feasibility, sustainability and implementation of these measures and the extent to which they could reduce mega-drought risk remain critical open questions."
A multi-year mega-drought could put unprecedented stresses on the region’s already limited water resources, according to the report.
More than 40 million people across seven states depend on water from the Colorado River basin, where years of dry conditions, combined with fast-paced development and population growth, have contributed to Lake Mead dropping some 130 feet in the past 16 years.
The river is already overdrawn, sucked dry before it reaches its delta in Mexico, and by 2060 it is forecast to fall well short of supplying the demands put on it by the growing demand, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.
4. Colorado River History: Western Water Managers Move Toward Collaborative Approaches to Water Management.
Source: Waterworld October 2016
The 1992 Colorado River Compact divided the river into an upper and lower basin and provided for the allocation of water among seven western basin states. This compact excluded Mexico and the Indian Tribes and did not consider environmental issues.
In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court apportioned the lower half of the Colorado River among California, Arizona and Nevada after no interstate agreement could be reached.
In 2012, the U.S. and Mexico signed an agreement (Minute 319) to better manage Colorado River water across the international border and to dedicate a portion of the River’s water, to the environment. Over the past few decades the states have shown a willingness to collaborate on water issues.
5. Nitrates in Water May Be More Harmful Than We Thought
Source: The Des Moines Register
Elevated nitrates in drinking water — a persistent problem in Iowa and agricultural areas — have been linked to health concerns that include birth defects, cancers and thyroid problems, according to a state environmental groups review of dozens of health studies.
The studies reinforce the need to work harder to reduce nitrates and other Pollution in the state’s rivers and streams, the Iowa Environmental Council said. Iowans "are particularly vulnerable to the potential health impacts from nitrate pollution," according to the group’s report, released Thursday.
"Concentrations of nitrate in Iowa’s streams and groundwater have been found to rank among the highest in the U.S., even higher than elsewhere in the Corn Belt and Northern Great Plains," said the group, which emphasized the need to learn more about nitrates’ health impacts.
The Iowa Environmental Council said most health concerns associated with high nitrate levels in drinking water have centered on blue baby syndrome, a condition that can be fatal to infants 6 months and younger if not treated.
But federal drinking water standards, which require nitrate levels to be below 10 milligrams per liter, have made deaths from blue baby syndrome rare and prompted some state leaders to question whether acceptable nitrate levels should be raised, the group said.
Here’s a roundup of the health concerns the group identified in reviewing up to 200 health studies:
Birth defects: Studies conducted in Iowa, Texas, Canada and Australia found statistically significant links between elevated nitrate in drinking water and neural tube defects of the brain and spinal cord, including spina bifida, some oral cleft defects and limb deficiencies.
Bladder cancer: Researchers who followed a large group of post-menopausal women in Iowa over many years found an increased risk for bladder cancer as nitrate concentration in water supplies increased. Other likely influences, including exposure to nitrate and nitrite through dietary and other sources, also were considered. Studies in Spain, Germany and Taiwan reported similar findings.
Thyroid cancer: One of the most rapidly increasing cancers in the United States,thyroid cancer, also has been associated with extended exposure to high nitrate levels in drinking water in two large U.S. studies.
On May 12, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published new final rules on discrimination and injury and illness reporting. First, a new anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation rule will come into force on August 10, 2016, for all employers. Employees must be informed about the requirements of the anti-retaliation rule relating to reporting injuries and illnesses by that date. OSHA interprets this rule broadly to prohibit mandatory post-accident drug testing, concluding that such tests discriminate against employees on the basis of injury and illness reporting. OSHA further explains that incentive programs are retaliatory if they offer benefits to employees or workforces who do not report injuries and illnesses. Finally, OSHA uses the rule-making to allow compliance officers to issue citations for retaliation, upending the current statutory employee retaliation enforcement framework under Section 11(c) of the Act.
The regulations further require employers to post workplace recordable injury and illness information electronically. OSHA will release this employer injury and illness information publicly on its website, believing that its disclosure will “shame” employers into improving workplace safety and health. The electronic data submission requirement will also ease OSHA’s data analysis, presumably to ramp up citations against employers based on the frequency of certain types of injuries (such as OSHA’s renewed focus on “ergonomics” injuries) or injuries caused by exposures to certain chemicals or toxic materials. The remaining provisions of the final rule, including the electronic reporting provisions, will take effect on January 1, 2017.
My husband and I love to go to the movies. We will see 4-5 movies per month, on average. Action adventure is one of our favorite genres. It’s a great way to “zone out” for 2 hours.
Recently, though, we’ve had a problem.
In the middle of the chase scene in an old factory (there’s ALWAYS at least one chase scene , and it’s usually in an old factory because after all nobody would drive around like a maniac in a shiny new building), there on the factory floor, lo and behold, are IBC’s! Sure, IBC’s aren’t as colorful as drums, but they are GREAT TO HIDE BEHIND!
Well, of course, I yell out “LOOK, IBC’s!!!” Because, after all, isn’t that what a dedicated sales professional does - get excited every time she sees her product on the big silver screen? Who cares about the chase?
And my husband crawls under the seat. Suddenly he doesn’t want to know me. What’s wrong with enthusiasm for your product?
Someday, I’m sure this is going to be a great Jeopardy movie trivia question. Answer: “Hollywood’s favorite container for a criminal to hide behind”. Question: “What is an IBC?”
Just call me Agent Marla, enthusiastic IBC salesperson by day, secret movie buff by night.
Our nation’s main law governing chemical safety — the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) — has been revised for the first time since it was adopted, in 1976.
In 2016, Congress has adopted far-reaching reforms of TSCA. After years of debate President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act –
The Lautenberg Act gives EPA expanded powers to regulate the safety of chemicals and significantly strengthen health protection for the public. Some highlights:
The law also blocks states from taking action to control chemicals, a provision that was important to get the chemical industry to support the bill but is controversial among states that had taken the lead in regulating substances.
The bill had strong, bipartisan support in Congress. It passed the House, 403 to 12, and the Senate by voice vote. It also has the support of major business groups such as the American Chemistry Council and the National Association of Manufacturers, as well as safety and health groups like the Environmental Defense Fund.
You can see a copy of the Act, a summary of the key provisions and FAQ HERE