Tag Archive | "EPA"

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TCNA Announces EPA Inclusion of Green Squared Certification

Posted on 02 February 2017 by cradmin

green squaredThe Tile Council of North America (TCNA) announced that Green Squared® has been added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Recommendations of Specifications, Standards and Ecolabels for Federal Purchasing. In order to aid in identifying and procuring environmentally sustainable products and services, U.S. government purchasing officials have been notified of the recommendation.

Green Squared is the first multi-attribute sustainability standard developed for tiles and tile installation materials. It uses the transparency and consensus of the ANSI process combined with third party certification to evaluate, validate and communicate products that have a positive impact on the environment and society.

Green Squared covers product characteristics, manufacturing, end of product life management, progressive corporate governance and innovation in an effort to establish sustainability criteria for products throughout their full life-cycle.

You may also be interested in this article about U.S. tile use.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Honors IceStone

Posted on 15 May 2014 by cradmin

Cobalt Ice IceStoneThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave IceStone a 2014 Environmental Quality Award. The annual award is given to businesses, non-profits, individuals and federal, state, local or tribal agencies that have created positive environmental and public health impacts in the last year. The award is a milestone for IceStone, which only resumed production one year ago after a six month hiatus caused by Hurricane Sandy. “This award not only highlights our mission and sustainable operations, it’s also further evidence of our resilience,” said CEO Dal LaMagna. “Since the storm we’ve hired new employees, invested in facility upgrades and new equipment, and debuted new products. It’s a testament to the dedication of the employees, and the support of our community.”

IceStone’s recycled glass and concrete countertop materials are made with the company’s social and environmental practices in mind, which include powering production with a water recycling system, skylights and electric forklifts, providing living wages to all workers and allocating 10 percent of the company’s shares for employees. “The outstanding efforts of EPA Environmental Quality Award recipients are fostering an environmental ethic in corporate board rooms, city halls and neighborhoods across the country,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck.”

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Clean Water Act Expansion May Affect Homebuilders

Posted on 12 May 2014 by cradmin

At the end of March, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers released a long-awaited proposal to clarify the wording of the Clean Water Act, which is designed to protect rivers, wetlands and other waterways from erosion and other damage caused by human activity. However, not everyone is happy about the new proposed rule, including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Two decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court in the last 15 years limited the Clean Water Act and muddied the waters, so to speak, over exactly which waterways fall under federal jurisdiction. Since those decisions, organizations regulated under the act and the EPA have been going mad trying to sort out exactly who is to regulated and by which layer of government: federal, state or local.

For years, a multitude of large corporations, professional organizations, government agencies and environmentalist have been calling for the rule to be revised so that it provides more clarity and guidance. According to the EPA, this is exactly what the proposed rule is doing. However, several detractors say that the proposed rule unfairly expands the jurisdiction of the EPA, will drastically increase costs and cause delays in permitting without a proportional benefit.

One of the strongest voices in opposition to the proposed rule is the NAHB, which has been asking for the new rule for several years now. Kevin Kelly, president of the NAHB, said the drafted rule does not do what it was meant to accomplish.

“Instead, EPA has added just about everything into its jurisdiction by expanding the definition of a ‘tributary’ – even ditches and manmade canals, or any other feature that a regulator determines to have a bed, bank and high-water mark. It’s a waste of taxpayer resources to treat a rainwater ditch with the same scrutiny as we would the Delaware Bay,” stated Kelly in a press release.

Kelly also stated that the expansion of authority under the new rule would require larger numbers of developers and construction projects to obtain permits, which will delay or halt construction projects. This, in turn, will directly affect countertop fabricators who provided products for new construction or even remodeling projects, including small, single-family home projects. In addition, the new rule will increase the costs of construction for developers.

The EPA, however, does not agree on some of these points. According to the EPA’s website, the Waters of the United States Proposed Rule reduces confusion about the Clean Water Act and clarifies which types of waters are covered under it. The website also states that the rule does not protect new types of waters, does not expand jurisdiction over ditches and does not broaden coverage of the Act.

What the EPA does admit is that the Act is associated with higher costs, most of which will be paid by land developers and the agriculture industry. Even though all of the current exemptions remain in place, the new rule is expected to cost between $134 million to $231 million. The EPA is justifying these costs through an analysis showing that the expected benefits of the rule are in the range of $301 million to $398 million, which will go toward protecting the ecosystem by providing stable habitats supportive of biodiversity, preventing erosion, allowing for the free flow of groundwater and reducing flooding.

This new rule is certainly more divisive than most organizations and government agencies had predicted. Alliances have been formed on both sides. The agriculture and land development industries are pushing back fiercely while several bodies are aligning with the EPA, including the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), National Farmers Union and the Center for Rural Affairs.

In accordance with standard practice, the EPA has established a 90-day period for public comments, which is open until July 21, 2014. To read more about the rule and how it may affect your business and to enter a public comment, visit the EPA web page concerning the changes to the Clean Water Act.

In addition, feel free to comment here on this issue or by email at [email protected]. We are interested in hearing your opinions.

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EPA Supports Claims Cupron-enhanced Eos Solid Surface Kills Bacteria

Posted on 03 November 2012 by cradmin

Eos Surfaces Cupron-enhanced solid surface product has been confirmed by the EPA to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria, according to a joint release by Eos and Cupron. Cupron Enhanced EOS solid surface has received the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval to make a Public Health Claim that the copper-enhanced material can kill greater than 99.9 percent of Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria* within two hours of exposure. Prior to this, only elemental copper and certain copper alloys held this official distinction.

The approval is based on Cupron Enhanced EOS Surfaces’ ability to kill specific disease causing bacteria, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli (O157:H7). MRSA is one of the most common strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and a well-recognized cause of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). The two companies expect this material to help health care organizations and infection control specialists manage HAIs. The product is approved for use in a wide range of applications, including healthcare.

“The EPA’s approval of our public health claims surrounding Cupron Enhanced EOS Surfaces is a pivotal moment in not only the commercialization of our technology, but also how health care facilities combat hospital infections,” said Paul Rocheleau, chairman of Cupron.  “HAIs have a devastating effect on the health care environment, causing thousands of deaths and costing billions of dollars each year. While we fully acknowledge our surface won’t end this problem, we believe these innovative materials will provide an additional layer of protection in managing the risks associated with microbial control.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates HAIs affect 2 million individuals and result in about 100,000 deaths annually. The use of antimicrobial materials for frequently touched surfaces may be an effective supplement to existing CDC-prescribed hand-washing and disinfection regimens.

In order to submit these claims to the EPA, the surface first had to achieve a 100-percent pass rate of thousands of samples at an independent testing laboratory under the highest laboratory standards available. The samples were tested in various environmental conditions, cleaning protocols, and for  efficacy after repeated exposure. EOS Surfaces also performed extensive ASTM testing to support mechanical performance claims.

Specifically, the following statements are included in the EPA registration:

  • “This surface continuously reduces bacterial* contamination achieving a 99.9  percent reduction within two hours of exposure.”
  • “This surface kills greater than 99.9 percent of Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria* within two hours of exposure.”
  • “This surface kills greater than 99.9 percent of bacteria* within two hours and continues to kill 99 percent of bacteria* even after repeated contamination.”
  • “This surface helps inhibit the buildup and growth of bacteria* within two hours of exposure between routine cleaning and sanitizing steps.”

*Testing demonstrates effective antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 6538), Enterobacter aerogenes (ATCC 13048), Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA-ATCC 33592), Escherichia coli O157:H7 (ATCC 35150) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC 15442).

“This approval affirms what we’ve known for a while, that our surface has the potential to make a real impact with infection rates among hospitals and other health care institutions,” said Ken Trinder, CEO of EOS Surfaces. “Our next goal is to establish a network of distributors, fabricators and end-use partners to get these materials in the field so that it can begin saving lives, keeping people healthier and reducing costs. The EOS Surfaces are designed to be used for countertops, nurses’ stations, wall panels and building components, showers and lavatory fixtures, furniture and tables, and a broad range of other products.”

Cupron and EOS Surfaces will set up a product stewardship program to support the responsible use of the technology and obtain feedback from users of the surface. Cupron and EOS, together with various health care partners, will further evaluate the benefit of antimicrobial-protected surfaces (hard surfaces and textiles) in reducing the amount of disease-causing bacteria in medical facilities.

Cupron and EOS Surfaces jointly developed this material with a range of performance characteristics that provides the mechanical properties of nonporous solid surfaces, the aesthetics for design flexibility and high antimicrobial performance. Because the Cupron technology is embedded throughout the surface, it will not lose its effectiveness over time and wear-and-tear. In fact, it can be fabricated, polished and modified as needed.

Furthermore, EOS is building a new state-of-the-art facility in Norfolk, Va., for the large-scale manufacturing of Cupron Enhanced EOS. The new facility, expected to begin operation in early 2013, will have specialized equipment that has been designed to commercialize the proprietary technology for a range of products. The new plant will manufacture various thicknesses of Cupron Enhanced EOS cast slabs, perform finishing operations and will have the capability to manufacture premade vanities and other ancillary surfacing products for microbial control.

The use of the Antimicrobial Cupron Enhanced EOS Surface is a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices, including those practices related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces. The Antimicrobial Cupron Enhanced EOS Surface has been shown to reduce microbial contamination but it does not necessarily prevent cross contamination.

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