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Help Us Make a (New) Mark on Safer Products

2014 September 8
Jim Jones


September 8, 2014
1:17 pm EDT

The Swoosh. The Golden Arches. You probably recognize these companies without even seeing the name of the company.  They are symbolic logos of their respective companies. So what makes a great label or logo? How can it be meaningful and easily recognizable?

Help us answer these questions as we redesign the EPA label to help you identify products like laundry and dish detergents, all-purpose cleaners, pet care products and cleaners for cars, decks, RVs and boats that are safer for your family and the environment and also work well. Take a look at the proposed label designs below and let us know what you think by October 31, 2014.

When looking at these options, consider: What is most appealing to you? What best conveys the concept of safer products for your family’s health? What are your thoughts on the words, graphic, colors and shapes? We really value your input and all comments are welcome.

Already, there are more than 2,500 products that carry the existing EPA Safer Product label, many of which can be found on the shelves of your favorite stores and major retailers. In fact, the world’s largest retailer and other major retailers and manufacturers look to the existing label to help them move toward safer, more sustainable chemicals in their products. All ingredients in products that earn the label have undergone a thorough evaluation to ensure they meet high standards for safety and performance.

Thank you for your input and helping us create a more recognizable label for safer and effective household products for consumers like you!

Note: The redesign will in no way change or affect the program standards. Look for the current label on packaging until the transition to the redesigned label is made.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Using Prevention and Biopesticides to Protect against Mosquitoes

2014 September 4
Jim Jones


September 4, 2014
5:38 pm EDT

A closeup of a mosquito on a person's skinThere are around 200 different species of mosquitoes in the United States, and if you’ve spent time outdoors in warmer weather, you’ve probably encountered a mosquito—or thirty. While itchy bites (a reaction to the mosquito’s saliva) can be annoying, the possibility of mosquito-borne diseases is more worrisome. You may have heard about one that has recently found its way here: the Chikungunya virus.

One of the earliest Chikungunya (meaning “to become contorted” in the Kimakonde language) outbreaks occurred in the early 1950’s in Africa. More recently, the virus has been reported in the Caribbean. Since the beginning of this year, the CDC reports that several hundred travel-associated cases have been found in the United States, while a small number of locally-transmitted cases have been identified in Florida. Common symptoms are fever and joint pain, which may be accompanied by headache, muscle pain, or rash.

Knowledge and prevention are key to protecting yourself against mosquito-borne diseases.

Protect yourself and your loved ones with repellants

While conventional insect repellents with active ingredients such as DEET are an effective way to prevent insect bites, biologically-based “biopesticide” products can also help keep pesky mosquitoes at bay. Biopesticides such as Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective as mosquito repellents and can be found in many repellent products. With EPA’s online tool, you can search for and find the repellent that is best for you. Our website also offers tips to help protect yourself from mosquitoes.

EPA recently unveiled a new graphic that will help you make more informed choices about how and when to apply repellents. You should start seeing the new graphic next mosquito season.

Tips for controlling mosquito growth

The first step to control mosquitoes around your home is making sure they don’t have a place to lay their eggs. EPA offers tips for limiting areas where mosquitoes breed.

EPA also registers biopesticide products with the active ingredient methoprene, and with strains of bacterial insecticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis or Bacillus sphaericus. These products control mosquito larvae in standing water and help reduce the adult mosquito population.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Mapping the Truth

2014 August 28
Tom Reynolds


August 28, 2014
4:34 pm EDT

Since releasing our proposal in March to better protect clean water, there have been some questions raised in the press, most recently about maps that use data developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Fish & Wildlife Service and show locations and flow patterns of many of the nation’s waterways.

Before discussing the truth about the history and purpose of the maps, let’s review some basic facts. The Clean Water Act was passed by Congress to protect our nation’s water bodies from pollution. This law has nothing to do with land use or private property rights, and our proposal does not do anything to change that. The idea that EPA can use the Clean Water Act to execute a land grab or intrude on private property rights is simply false. read more…

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Day In the Life: A Visit to Boston

2014 August 21
Gina McCarthy


August 21, 2014
12:08 pm EDT

I went home to Boston on Tuesday to engage with public health professionals and experts to discuss the important link between the health of our environment and the health of our children. We know climate change is fueling environmental public health problems such as asthma and other respiratory ailments, which is why the agency is taking action to reduce carbon pollution and greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Power Plan and other initiatives.

Here’s a look at my day:

Excited to have GinaEPA in Boston today: mtg w/families & healthcare workers re impacts of clean air & President Obama’s #ClimateActionPlan

— EPA New England (@EPAnewengland) August 19, 2014

I started the day at the Boston Children’s Hospital.

Administrator McCarthy and the staff from Boston Children’s Hospital Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) show they are united on improving the health of children suffering from asthma and respiratory problems aggravated by environmental factors.

Administrator McCarthy and the staff from Boston Children’s Hospital Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU).

  read more…

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Join Me in Congratulating Our 2014 Indoor airPLUS Leader Award Winners!

2014 August 14
Janet McCabe


August 14, 2014
4:46 pm EDT

In a recent blog post, I wrote about new guidance EPA published to help building professionals address moisture control, which is key to controlling many indoor contaminants. Beyond providing this type of guidance, we seek to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) by encouraging builders and home energy raters to participate in EPA’s Indoor airPLUS Program. Indoor airPLUS offers construction specifications and a simple, straightforward checklist to achieve an EPA label for improved IAQ in new homes.

It has been our experience that consumers are as concerned with the health, safety, and comfort of their homes as they are with reducing utility bills and maintenance costs.  EPA created Indoor airPLUS  in 2009 to help builders meet this growing consumer preference for homes with improved indoor air quality. Building on the successes of the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Program, Indoor airPLUS  adds a few simple steps during construction, which can help protect homeowners from mold, pests, combustion by-products, and other airborne pollutants, while they are in the house.  And, keeping our buildings healthy has never been more important as we make them more energy efficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. read more…

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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American Ingenuity on Display at Next Gen Tech Demo Day

2014 August 13
Cynthia Giles


August 13, 2014
3:35 pm EDT

•Administrator McCarthy, then-Deputy Administrator Perciasepe and Assistant Administrator Giles learn about water pollution monitoring technology.

Administrator McCarthy, then-Deputy Administrator Perciasepe and Assistant Administrator Giles learn about water pollution monitoring technology.

 

I’ve been talking a lot about the impact and promise of EPA’s Next Generation Compliance strategy. As a vital program to reduce pollution, build transparency and save costs, it has become a driving force to unleash American ingenuity and innovation. This was certainly evident last week, when EPA hosted a “Next Generation Compliance Advanced Monitoring Tech Demo Day” that convened some of the latest advances in pollution monitoring across the country. Walking through the event with Administrator McCarthy and then-Deputy Administrator Perciasepe was so much fun, not to mention inspiring. EPA, academia, industry and non-profit organizations presented so many solutions there, each with a unique approach to solve complex pollution challenges.

Here’s a quick recap of what we saw.

read more…

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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A Cleaner Environment, a Stronger Economy

2014 August 13
Tom Reynolds


August 13, 2014
2:21 pm EDT

When we last heard from the Chamber of Commerce, they were releasing a report that made unfounded assumptions about EPA’s commonsense standards to cut the harmful pollution from power plants. The Washington Post Fact Checker later gave those citing the study a “Four Pinocchio” rating.
Yesterday, the Chamber had another blog post that both misrepresents EPA’s analysis of the economic impact of its regulations and misleads about a recent GAO study.

EPA is keenly aware that our economy is on the rebound and that policy makers are concerned about impacts on employment — that is why we have increased the amount of employment analysis we perform over the last several years, particularly for economically significant rules.

read more…

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Recognizing One of EPA’s Greatest

2014 August 7
Gina McCarthy


August 7, 2014
4:55 pm EDT

Today, everyone at EPA took a moment to honor one our greatest champions for the public health and the environment.  Few people have had as lasting an impact on the vital work of EPA as our Deputy Administrator, Bob Perciasepe.  After 13 combined years at the agency, it’s bittersweet that Bob will be leaving to assume an exciting new role as the President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.  The fact that so many of us at EPA call Bob a friend is testament to his dedication to this agency and its people—and, of course, his terrific humor and good heart.

He’s not only the sole person to have served as Assistant Administrator at EPA for both the Offices of Water and Air and Radiation, but he was also key to some of our major successes there, from protecting iconic waters like his beloved Chesapeake Bay to making huge reductions in sulfur levels in fuels.  So it was no surprise that President Obama appointed Bob as Deputy Administrator in 2009.  He’s worked tirelessly to improve the way EPA works so we can better meet the needs of the people we serve, especially people that need us most.  He’s handled the hard times like a champion, like helping us navigate through two government-shutdowns.  It’s clear we would not be as successful an agency today without him, and we’re all in his debt.  Not just the EPA family, but all American families who enjoy cleaner air and water thanks to his work.

Deputy Adminstrator Bob Perciasepe receives a standing ovation as he speaks at a podium.

With his departure, EPA is losing a cherished colleague and leader who poured everything he had into the agency’s mission.  And personally, I’m going to be losing a great friend working by my side.  We’ll all miss his sage advice, his quick wit, and his jovial attitude.

But as Bob himself will tell you, we’ve got the best and brightest staff around.  It’s the people of EPA—people like Bob Perciasepe—that have fueled decades of progress cutting pollution and protecting a safer, healthier nation. From chemical safety and air pollution, to clean water and climate change and everything in between—we’ve got our work cut out for us.  But with the compassionate people at EPA, compelled by our mission and committed to public service, I know we’ll keep moving forward.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Water Unites Us

2014 August 7
Nancy Stoner


August 7, 2014
2:08 pm EDT

This past weekend I had occasion to reflect on my service as EPA’s water chief as I attended an internment of the ashes of my Uncle Richard and Aunt Ginger.  They did many important and impressive things in their lives, but I remember them most for the gatherings they hosted at Stoner’s Lonesome, a small lake in Brown County, Indiana.

After the service at the cemetery, the extended family gathered at the lake for fishing, boating, swimming, and communion with one another.  As we floated together in the clear, cool water reminiscing about summers past at Stoner’s Lonesome long ago, it reinforced my strongly held belief that our collective experience with water is not just about public health or environmental protection or economics, but also about quenching the soul, quieting the mind, and enriching the human spirit.

Tapping into that inner knowledge of the value of water to our lives will motivate us as a nation to come together to meet the challenges ahead.  It has been my honor and privilege to be involved in that effort on behalf of the American public for the past four and a half years at EPA.

water-unites-us-blog1

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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EPA: Protecting Water: A Precious, Limited Resource

2014 August 6
Gina McCarthy


August 6, 2014
2:30 pm EDT

Summer is when many families head to our oceans, lakes, and streams to fish, swim, and enjoy our nation’s waters—bringing water quality and safety to the top of our minds. EPA has a critical mission to make sure our nation’s water resources are safe for drinking, for recreation, and for aquatic life.

Earlier this summer, I asked EPA employees to share the innovative work they’re doing to protect our nation’s water resources. I’d like to share some of their great stories with you.
read more…

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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