A hand-shaped robot called Pepe, developed by Scottish and Indian researchers, was deployed as part of a pilot project at a Kerala, India, school to promote proper hand-washing among children. Pepe helped improve the rate at which children washed their hands by 40% and doubled the amount of time they spent washing.
Richard Sedlak will retire at the end of the year from his role as the executive vice president of technical and international affairs at the American Cleaning Institute, wrapping up a career within the association that's covered more than four decades. James Kim, who is currently the organization's associate vice president of science and regulatory affairs, will take on the role of leading ACI's technical and regulatory team beginning January 1, 2020.
Symrise has joined the RE100 Initiative and pledged to procure 100% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2025. RE100 also counts Unilever, International Flavors & Fragrances, Procter & Gamble and Givaudan among members.
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act on Wednesday, with Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., commenting during the hearing that he's developing "a comprehensive solution bill" to address marine plastic debris. Plastics are used in many applications and critics of the measure should consider how alternatives such as glass, aluminum and steel can have a bigger environmental impact, says Keith Christman of the American Chemistry Council.
Congress' work on the federal budget for fiscal 2020, the National Defense Authorization Act and the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement is being delayed by proceedings to potentially impeach President Donald Trump. "[I]mpeachment's consuming everything, no one's talking anything else," said Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill.
Negotiators from the House of Representatives and Senate are making progress on aligning their respective versions of the National Defense Authorization Act and have agreed to some provisions for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, including requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to set standards for PFAS in drinking water, said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash. Whether the substances should be designated hazardous substances remains a point of contention.
The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing more than 600,000 comments on its proposal to change how science is used when crafting rules and expects to release a supplemental proposal in early 2020, said EPA official Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta during a House panel hearing on Wednesday. The rule won't be retroactive, and the EPA will be able to make exceptions for certain studies of high importance and the agency is taking confidential business information concerns into consideration, she said.
The Environmental Protection Agency has refused an American Chemistry Council request to reopen public comment periods for its chemical data reporting and confidential business information proposals, but the industry will still have the opportunity to weigh in on proposed changes. The EPA "intends to promulgate a final rule ahead of the next submission period" for its CDR proposal in 2020 and issued a supplemental proposal for its CBI rule in October that the ACC may comment on.
The South Korea Ministry of Environment's complicated process and short timeframe for K-REACH implementation is causing "severe difficulty" for companies and complications "ensuring reliable supply to downstream customers and Korea's domestic manufacturing industry," says the American Chemistry Council. ACC has asked the MoE to clarify its guidance for polymer registration and remove a provision that requires companies to provide continuous updates after pre-registering a substance.
The Surface Transportation Board has received dozens of comments on five proposed changes that would enact the Final Offer Rate Review and alter how it handles market dominance and demurrage, and is expected to reply in December. Since the FORR doesn't include a methodology for determining rate reasonableness, the STB must allow "a reasonable opportunity for shippers to obtain crucial information to develop methodologies that are workable and supportable," according to comments filed by a coalition including the American Chemistry Council.
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