How the EU’s new ‘toxic-free’ vision could shape your safer chemicals strategy

January 14, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

How the EU’s new ‘toxic-free’ vision could shape your safer chemicals strategy Bob Kerr Thu, 01/14/2021 – 01:00 For the last two decades, the European Union has played a leadership role in tackling the risks hazardous chemicals pose to our health and environment. It has now proposed a new vision for a “toxic-free environment” and published a strategy for moving the EU towards that goal. Just as its current policies have inspired imitation, it’s likely that these new policies will drive significant changes in the U.S. and elsewhere. While EU chemical restrictions have gained limited traction in U.S. federal statutes and regulations, many state laws increasingly rely on the chemical hazard criteria and analyses from REACH (the principal European chemical regulation) and other EU laws and regulations. California legislation, for example, prohibits sale of electronic products that would be subject to the EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive if amounts of cadmium, lead, mercury or hexavalent chrome in those products exceed EU RoHS limits . Many U.S. companies base their restrictions on hazardous chemicals on EU lists or restrictions such as the Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) under REACH — even where unregulated in the U.S. The EU plans to promote safer substitutes or eliminate the need for chemical additives in some products altogether, so they do not end up being circulated indefinitely in commerce. The EU chemical regulation footprint is also strong in the rest of the world. Several countries in Asia, including China, the world’s largest chemical producer, have developed national chemical regulatory programs strongly influenced by the EU’s design. As the EU moves toward adopting specific legal and regulatory measures to begin to realize its vision, government agencies in the U.S. will look closely at the potential for adopting elements of the new EU programs. Beyond the regulatory world, many leading companies already at the forefront of looking to provide safer chemicals — including Walmart , Apple and Ahold Delhaize USA  — are likely to move toward adoption of components of the new EU policies, with ramifications for supply chains and potential competitive benefits in the consumer marketplace. EU’s new chemical policy vision Despite the successes of its current regulatory framework, the European Commission has found that “the existing EU chemicals policy must evolve and respond more rapidly and effectively to the challenges posed by hazardous chemicals.” In October, the commission published ” Chemical Strategy for Sustainability: Towards a Toxic-Free Environment .” To meet that vision, the EU plans a fundamental change in how chemical regulations manage the production and use of chemicals.  As explained by Frans Timmermans, commission vice president responsible for EU’s Green Deal, the EU intends to move away from an approach to chemical regulation that depends primarily on tracking down substances that are hazardous only after they’re already being used in products, even when similar to previously restricted substances. Rather, it will focus on prohibiting their use in the first place: One of the first actions we will take is to ensure that the most harmful chemicals no longer find their way into consumer products. In most cases, we now assess these chemicals one-by-one — and remove them when we find out that they are unsafe. We will just flip this logic on its head. Instead of reacting, we want to prevent. As a rule, the use of the most harmful substances will be prohibited in consumer products. Further, the new EU chemical strategy identifies a wide array of initiatives for realizing its goal of a toxic-free environment. Some are specific to the EU, including EU support for development of innovative green chemistry materials. Others are measures with general applicability for government regulatory agencies or company sustainable chemistry initiatives. Among the key measures are: Extending hazard-based approach to risk management for consumer products: The goal is to ensure consumer products, such as toys, cosmetics, cleaning products, children’s care products and food contact materials, do not contain chemicals that may cause cancer, gene mutations, neurological or respiratory damage or that may interfere with endocrine or reproductive systems. Grouping of chemicals for assessment of hazards and restrictions: Under most regulations, both in the EU and U.S., chemicals are usually assessed and regulated one-by-one. The European Commission plans to address PFAS and other chemicals of concern with a group approach. New hazard categories: The commission plans to finalize a legally binding hazard definition of endocrine disruptors and, to address classes of chemicals recognized as posing serious environmental risks, introduce two new categories of substances of very high concern (SVHCs): persistent; mobile and toxic (PMT); and very persistent and very mobile (vPvM) substances. Accounting for combinative impacts of multiple chemicals on health: Increasing evidence points to the risks from simultaneous exposure to multiple chemicals. The commission plans to integrate requirements for information on the impacts of chemical mixtures more formally into chemical risk assessment requirements. These above approaches are in some leading corporate safer chemical programs and, with clarity from the EU, they should be considered by more companies. IKEA , for example, bans use in its products of some chemical groups (PFAS, organic brominated flame retardants) and hazard classes of chemicals (carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxins and any REACH SVHCs). Beyond its direct effects on protecting health of consumers and reducing toxic chemicals in the environment, the chemical strategy is a key component in the EU’s path towards a circular economy that conserves materials and reduces waste. A critical barrier to circular production models for many products and materials is contamination with hazardous chemicals — either inadvertently added during sourcing and processing or intentionally added to change the product. Through the chemical strategy, the EU plans to promote safer substitutes (the replacement of ortho-phthalates with non-hazardous plasticizers) or eliminate the need for chemical additives in some products altogether, so they do not end up being circulated indefinitely in commerce.  The EU has outlined a leading safer chemicals strategy that companies can begin to apply to their own operations. Tools such as the Chemical Footprint Project survey and other benchmarking tools can help support these initiatives. Companies that take the lead in adapting their planning to the EU strategy will be ahead of EU requirements, mitigate future supply chain and product risks and operate in the best interest of consumers and the environment. Pull Quote The EU plans to promote safer substitutes or eliminate the need for chemical additives in some products altogether, so they do not end up being circulated indefinitely in commerce. Topics Chemicals & Toxics Circular Economy Policy & Politics European Union Collective Insight The Right Chemistry Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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How the EU’s new ‘toxic-free’ vision could shape your safer chemicals strategy

How to host Thanksgiving dinner in a tiny home or small apartment

November 9, 2018 by  
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If you live in a tiny home or apartment, the idea of hosting Thanksgiving dinner can seem like a daunting task. A few hundred square feet, no dining furniture, small appliances and limited seating can definitely present some challenges. But if you have a plan, you can throw a successful, delicious feast, even in a tiny house or micro apartment. Here’s how to do it. Make a detailed plan for the menu, and keep it simple The items you need for your Thanksgiving dinner can overwhelm your small space, so you want to plan ahead and develop a strategy for your shopping and cooking . Private chef Amanda Elliott says to keep things simple and stick to four homemade dishes, including the turkey. Make a list of all the ingredients you will need for your menu, and think about your refrigerator and pantry space. If you have a large oven, the turkey is going to take up this space for most of the hours before the meal. Choose side dishes that you can make ahead of time and reheat just before the dinner or ones that you can prepare on the stove. You can also choose menu items that can be served at room temperature, like salad. Related: How to cook and enjoy 10 types of squash other than pumpkin If you have a small oven, you can purchase a prepared turkey from a local restaurant or grocery store to avoid cooking the turkey yourself. There are amazing options out there, just be sure to order it well in advance if that’s the route you want to take. If you have your heart set on making your own turkey, you can cook it outside in a deep fryer or on the barbecue, so you can use your oven for other things. If you would like to have more than four items on your Thanksgiving menu, ask your guests for help. There is no shame in requesting assistance with your menu items. Consider asking one guest to bring a dessert and another to bring an appetizer. Just remember to be specific about what you need, and avoid saying “bring whatever you want.” You don’t want to end up with multiple green bean casseroles or macaroni and cheese dishes. When it comes to serving the food, make your kitchen counters and stove a buffet, and let guests serve themselves. Get creative with seating If you don’t have a large dining table and a lot of seating, don’t panic. A casual dinner where guests can eat wherever they please is just fine. People can sit on the couch and the floor — just be sure to provide guests with trays to hold their plates, cutlery and glasses. Use things like step stools, ottomans, lawn chairs, desk chairs and pillows for extra seating. If you still don’t have enough tables or chairs, you can try renting some from a local party store. Be sure to remove all of the clutter from the space. Clear off all flat surfaces, so people have a place to put their drinks. If you want to do some decorating for the occasion, one statement piece with a couple of decorative elements works well for the festivities without adding clutter. Have a plan for coats and bags. The easiest solution is to keep them all in the bedroom, so your guests aren’t taking up valuable living room space with their bulky outerwear. Have everyone help with the clean-up When you send out invitations, ask guests to bring their own containers to take some food home at the end of the celebration. This will prevent you from getting sick of leftovers, and it keeps food waste to a minimum. Consider asking your guests to help take care of their finished plates. You can do the scrubbing later, but getting help with clearing the tables and throwing away the trash will quickly free up space and give you a little time to make room in your belly for dessert. Experts also agree that the key to keeping your sanity in a tiny home at Thanksgiving is to clean as you go. While you are preparing your food, tidy up the work space throughout the process, and don’t let dishes pile up in the sink. If cleaning as you cook doesn’t work for you, hide the mess by piling all of your dirty dishes in the bathtub and draw the curtain. Then, clean everything after your guests leave. Finally, don’t stress! Sit back, relax and enjoy the day. If you are super stressed, your guests aren’t going to have any fun, either. Put together your plan of attack, and if things don’t go perfectly, it’s okay. Just smile and enjoy some red wine (white wine takes up too much space in the fridge!). Happy Thanksgiving! Images via Shutterstock

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How to host Thanksgiving dinner in a tiny home or small apartment

9 Simple Steps to a Good Clean Closet

April 20, 2010 by  
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Image credit: Good It’s getting to be late spring and that means the floors and windows, carpets and kitchen, have probably been cleaned already. But what about the closet?

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9 Simple Steps to a Good Clean Closet

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