Tag Archives: plastics

‘Welcome News’: EPA Starts Process of Vinyl Chloride Risk Assessment

“This is one of the most important chemical review processes ever undertaken by the EPA,” said one of the agency’s former regional administrators.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 12-14-2023 by Common Dreams

Aerial photo of East Palestine derailment site taken 02-24-23. Twelve rail cars remained on site. Photo:: Governor Mike DeWine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it had begun the process of prioritizing vinyl chloride for evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Vinyl chloride, which is primarily used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, was one of five chemicals the agency earmarked for a risk assessment. The move comes eight months after a disastrous train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which included five cars carrying 115,000 gallons of the dangerous chemical.

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Companies Pushing Weak UN Plastics Treaty Dump Millions Into US Elections

“The only way to curb our catastrophic plastic pollution problem is to cut plastic production, but the industry is spending big to block action at every level to protect their profits,” said one campaigner.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 11-17-2023 by Common Dreams

Hundreds have marched in Nairobi, demanding action against plastic pollution Photo: Emeka Gift Official/X

Major multinational corporations attending negotiations for a global plastics treaty in an effort to weaken the agreement spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and political contributions during the 2022 election cycle, revealed an analysis published Friday by the Center for Biological Diversity.

As Common Dreams reported this week, 143 fossil fuel and chemical industry lobbyists registered to attend the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) in Nairobi, Kenya, which is scheduled to run through Sunday. That’s more than the combined delegations from 70 nations, and far surpasses the 38 members of a scientists’ coalition participating in the negotiations.

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Day After Texas Fire, Report Reveals US Hazardous Chemical Incidents Occur Almost Daily

“Hazardous facilities must be required to do more to protect workers and communities,” said Coming Clean’s federal policy director.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 11-9-2023 by Common Dreams

The Sound Resource Solutions facility made solvents for glue and paint remover.. Photo: @JamaalBowmanNY/X

A shelter-in-place order has been lifted in two Texas counties after a chemical plant fire on Wednesday, which came on the eve of a report showing just how frequent such incidents are across the United States, particularly at sites tied to the fossil fuel industry.

There have been at least 287 hazardous chemical incidents—including explosions, fires, and toxic releases—this year alone, and over 825 since the beginning of 2021, according to the Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters’ online database.

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Thousands Evacuated After Chemical Leak and Massive Fire at ‘Cancer Alley’ Oil Refinery

“Such events are an all-too-common and exceptionally dangerous reality for those living within fossil fuel and petrochemical ‘sacrifice zones,'” observed one researcher.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 8-25-2023 by Common Dreams

A massive plume of smoke—visible from outer space—billows from a burning storage tank at Marathon Petroleum’s Garyville, Louisiana refinery on August 25, 2023. (Photo: Mike Friloux/Facebook)

A mandatory evacuation was ordered for thousands of people living within a two-mile radius of a Marathon Petroleum refinery in Louisiana’s so-called “Cancer Alley” after a chemical leak and massive fire broke out at a storage tank there on Friday.

The temporary evacuation order, which Marathon Petroleum called “precautionary,” followed a leak of naphtha—a hazardous and highly flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture—and blaze at the refinery in Garyville in St. John the Baptist Parish, located about 45 miles upriver from New Orleans.

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175 Nations to Agree on ‘Historic’ Plastic Pollution Treaty

The treaty will be “an insurance policy for this generation and future ones, so they may live with plastic and not be doomed by it,” said one official.

By Julia Conley.  Published 3-2-2022 by Common Dreams

Plastic bottles and other garbage washed up on a beach in the county of cork, Ireland. Photo: Science Photo Library/CC

The vast majority of the world’s countries agreed Wednesday to forge a legally-binding global treaty restricting plastic pollution, in a move one official said demonstrated “multilateral cooperation at its best.”

Negotiators representing 175 nations met over the past week in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss a joint proposal originally presented by Rwandan and Peruvian representatives. Continue reading

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4 New Year’s resolutions for a healthier environment in 2022

Enjoy the environment in 2022 and find ways to help nature and communities thrive.
Cavan Images via Getty Images

Viniece Jennings, Agnes Scott College

When many people think of New Year’s resolutions, they brainstorm ways to improve themselves for the year ahead. What if we expanded those aspirations to include resolutions that benefit our communities, society and the planet, too?

It might not be a typical approach, but it can broaden your horizons to show ways you can also be of service to others.

Here are four popular New Year’s resolutions with a twist for improving your relationship with nature in 2022 and beyond. Continue reading

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‘Delay, Distract, and Derail’: New Report Reveals How Plastic Polluters Have Avoided Regulation Worldwide for Decades

“This report is a damning exposé of the tactics employed by the plastics industry and shines a welcome light on the shadowy world of corporate lobbying.”

By Lisa Newcomb, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-18-2020

Each year, approximately one million metric tons of land based plastic leaks into the ocean from Indonesia. Regions with the highest poverty levels have the highest levels of plastic pollution.. Screenshot: YouTube

Analysis released Thursday of the world’s top 10 biggest plastic polluters in 15 countries reveals how major corporations hide behind the veneer of corporate responsibility while actively working to thwart regulatory legislation around the globe.

“This report is a damning exposé of the tactics employed by the plastics industry and shines a welcome light on the shadowy world of corporate lobbying,” Natalie Fee, founder of City to Sea, which supported the research conducted by the Changing Markets Foundation, said in a statement. Continue reading

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“Is There No End to Big Oil’s Evil?” Campaigners Condemn Industry Plan to Pour US Plastics Into Africa

Anti-pollution advocates responded with alarm to the American Chemistry Council’s reported efforts to influence a pending U.S.-Kenya trade deal.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-31-2020

The Dandora dumpsite, Kenya. Photo: Mike Sonko/Facebook

Green groups responded with alarm to Sunday reporting by the New York Times and Unearthed that a U.S.-based trade group for major chemical and fossil fuel companies has lobbied the Trump administration during the Covid-19 pandemic to use a forthcoming trade agreement to flood the African continent with plastics.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise Development Betty Maina launched trade negotiations in July. The new reports shed light on the lobbying efforts of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), whose members include the petrochemical operations of the oil giants Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell as well as chemical companies such as Dow and DuPont. Continue reading

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Activists Demand Bolder Efforts to Address Pollution After Scientists Find Microplastics in Human Organs

“The best way to tackle the problem is to massively reduce the amount of plastic that’s being made and used.”

By Krissy Waite, editorial intern for Common Dreams. Published 8-17-2020

Underneath the floating debris in the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: NOAA – Marine Debris Program)

Bolstering activists’ demands to reduce plastic pollution worldwide, Arizona State University scientists on Monday presented their research on finding micro- and nanoplastics in human organs to the American Chemical Society.

Greenpeace U.K. responded to the reporting on the study by calling to “massively” reduce the amount of plastic produced and used worldwide. Continue reading

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Groups Challenge Louisiana Permits for Formosa Plastics’ Giant Petrochemical Complex in Cancer Alley

“The fight against Formosa’s polluting and unjust petrochemical complex is part of a growing national movement to address the triple threat of climate chaos, plastics pollution, and environmental racism.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-14-2020

Local and national organizations are fighting against a proposed petrochemical complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana. (Photo: Louisiana Bucket Brigade/Twitter)

A coalition of local and national groups on Friday launched a legal challenge to a Louisiana state agency’s decision to approve air permits for a $9.4 billion petrochemical complex that Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Group plans to build in the region nationally known as “Cancer Alley.”

Louisiana residents and environmental justice advocates have pressured local, state, and federal officials to reject permits for the proposed project in St. James Parish. Critics have raised concerns that the complex would adversely affect public health and the environment by emitting cancer-causing chemicals and producing an estimated 13.6 million tons of planet-heating emissions annually. Continue reading

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