Green Buckeye RN

USA Today: EPA Finds Toxic Agent In Air At 15 Schools
October 1, 2009, 10:29 am
Filed under: Going Green in the Community, News

By Blake Morrison and Brad Heath

Outside 15 schools in eight states, government regulators have found elevated levels of a substance that — in a more potent form — was also used as a chemical weapon during World War I.

Those findings, based on samples collected for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), mark the first time the agency has expressed concern about the chemicals it detected as part of an ongoing effort to check for toxic chemicals in the air outside 63 schools nationwide.

The monitoring is part of a $2.25 million program that began in response to a USA TODAY investigation that identified hundreds of schools where chemicals from nearby industries appear to saturate the air. The preliminary results are meant to help determine only whether students face any immediate dangers from toxic chemicals. The EPA will use additional tests to evaluate long-term health risks.

The chemical that once was weaponized, acrolein, can exacerbate asthma and irritate the eyes and throat. It is a byproduct of burning gasoline, wood and cigarettes, and its presence at so many sites was not explained. EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the initial readings show “more must be done to reduce the amount of acrolein the American people, especially children, are exposed to.”

At the 15 schools — in Alabama, California, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio and South Carolina — regulators found average acrolein levels at least 100 times higher than what the government considers safe for long-term exposure.

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San Francisco Chronicle: SF Takes Green Issue To Dry Cleaners
September 22, 2009, 11:03 am
Filed under: Going Green in the Community, News

Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, September 19, 2009

Your dry cleaner may claim to be “green” or “environmentally friendly,” but San Francisco officials warn that the business is probably using a hazardous chemical solvent that could be harming you, your cleaner and the environment.

The city’s Department of the Environment spent months assessing the risks of dry cleaners. Now, the agency that initiated the plastic bag ban and mandatory composting has a new goal: eliminating chemical cleaning.

The department is embarking on an educational and legislative campaign to get the city’s 360 dry cleaners away from using solvents and into wet cleaning, a method they say is the safest and most environmentally friendly. (The agency also endorses CO{-2} cleaning, which uses reclaimed liquid carbon dioxide as a solvent and generates no new greenhouse gases, as a green, safe option, but is focusing on wet cleaning because it’s more affordable.)

“The most toxic thing happening in the city is dry cleaning,” said the agency’s director, Jared Blumenfeld. “And the unique thing about dry cleaning is that it takes place alongside residential housing – it’s a combination of toxic chemicals known to cause cancer and a proximity to where people live.”

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CHEJ: Everyone’s Backyard-Superfund: In the Eye of the Storm
July 2, 2009, 11:25 am
Filed under: Going Green in the Community, News

Link to the publication and read about Ohio’s environmental justice movement at

Associated Press: Government Studies Playground Risks
June 5, 2009, 2:59 pm
Filed under: Going Green in the Community, News


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The federal government is reconsidering whether sports fields and playgrounds made from ground-up tires could harm children’s health after some Environmental Protection Agency scientists raised concerns, documents show.

The EPA is concluding a limited study of air and surface samples at four fake-surface fields and playgrounds that use recycled tires — the same material used under the Obama family’s new play set at the White House.

Although the EPA for years has endorsed recycled-rubber surfaces as a means of decreasing playground injuries, its own scientists now have pointed to research suggesting potential hazards from repeated exposure to bits of shredded tire that can contain carcinogens and other chemicals, according to internal EPA documents.

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Environment Ohio: Bringing Solar Schools To Ohio
May 29, 2009, 3:14 pm
Filed under: Going Green in the Community, News

What kind of potential does solar energy hold for our future? The sun provides the Earth with as much energy every hour as humanity uses every year.

Environment Ohio is working to fast-track solar development at the state and federal levels. Last year in Ohio, we helped to pass a policy that requires utilities to invest in solar energy every year until 2025. By 2025, these solar investments will supply enough electricity for more than 1 million homes in Ohio. 

But, we’re not stopping there. Solar panels provide clean energy and a learning opportunity. That’s why we’re building bipartisan support for a solar schools bill introduced by Reps. Mike Foley (Cleveland) and Louis Blessing, Jr. (Cincinnatti). This bill requires nearly 1,000 public schools in Ohio to install solar panels within the next 5 years. 

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Grassroots International: Downloadable Curriculum Teaches Food Sovereignty

From Organic Bytes
Food sovereignty is the right of family farmers to grow food for their families and local markets and the right of consumers to get access to local, healthy foods. This grassroots movement is gaining momentum around the world, and now the National Family Farm Coalition and Grassroots International have put together a series of downloadable curricula to increase understanding of how the food system works, its failures, and the hopeful alternatives that are blossoming throughout the world. The curriculum is divided into four modules: one each for consumers, faith and anti-hunger groups, environmentalists and farmers, all designed to help:
• Understand the ways in which current U.S. agricultural, trade and energy policies undermine the right of communities and nations around the world to determine their own food policies;
• See how food sovereignty and locally based food systems rooted in social justice and environmental sustainability can be practical alternatives to unsustainable industrial agriculture;
• Envision how people can act together across borders to build local food systems and pass fair agriculture, trade and energy policies.

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USA Today: Rail Industry Petitions To Reduce Toxic Cargos
May 22, 2009, 9:56 am
Filed under: Going Green in the Community, News

By Thomas Frank

WASHINGTON — Railroad companies are pressing federal regulators to cut back on trains carrying hazardous materials through urban areas, saying they fear a catastrophic release of toxic chemicals in a large city.

The companies also fear billions in legal claims if toxic materials spill during a derailment or act of sabotage. Rail industry associations are petitioning to allow railroads for the first time to refuse to carry chemicals such as chlorine over long distances.

Federal law requires railroads to transport such materials, which are used in manufacturing, agriculture and water treatment.

The companies’ move is opposed by the Obama administration and others who say railroads are the safest way to move toxic materials. If trucks end up carrying materials that railroads reject, “that would pose a much greater danger,” said Patricia Abbate of Citizens for Rail Safety, a Massachusetts advocacy group.

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