Sustainability Reads: July 11- July 24

Global Warming’s Six Americas and the Election, 2016
A new public opinion poll of 1200 shows how concerned and motivated Americans are when it comes to global warming. In March of 2016, 45% of Americans belonged to the two most engaged segments, the Alarmed and Concerned. One in three (34%) belonged to the two middle segments, the Cautious and Disengaged; these groups have thought little about the issue and see it as having little personal relevance. The remaining 21% belonged to the two groups that are skeptical and tend to oppose climate action, the Doubtful and Dismissive.


The poll also captures voting trends of individuals in these different buckets from the highest belief in global warming to the lowest belief in global warming as well as their willingness to join a campaign to reduce global warming. Research by Roser-Renouf, C., Maibach, E., Leiserowitz, A., & Rosenthal, S. at Yale University and George Mason University.

Wal-Mart Asks Its Suppliers to Stop Using Eight Chemicals
Wal-Mart has a new policy requiring their suppliers to eliminate eight harmful chemicals from products. If the chemicals are not removed by 2018, manufacturers will be required to list the chemicals on product packaging. The program affects about 90,000 items made by 700 manufacturers and is being implemented to catalyze the development and use of sustainable alternatives to chemicals that hurt human health and/or the environment. Wal-Mart chose these six chemicals on the list with help from Environmental Defense Fund:

  • Formaldehyde, a carcinogen found in resins for wood products, building materials, paints and some consumer products like cosmetics
  • Triclosan, a chemical used in antibacterial soaps, toothpaste and some cosmetics
  • Toluene, a colorless liquid that is used in paint thinners, nail polish and fragrances
  • Diethyl phthalate, used to make plastic more flexible and in cosmetics, insecticides and aspirin
  • Nonylphenol exthoxylates, which are surfactants used in industrial applications and consumer products such as laundry detergent
  • Butylparabens, used as a preservative in cosmetics
  • Dibutyl phthalate, a solvent
  • Propylparaben, another preservative

This article points to the timeliness of Wal-Mart’s policy as President Obama signed amendments to the outdated and flawed chemical safety law in June. Overall, customers and investors are requesting more transparency and we think that is a great thing. By Lauren Coleman-Lochner and Andrew Martin at Bloomberg.

Under New Safety Law, 20 Toxic Chemicals EPA Should Act on Now
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has come out with a list of twenty chemicals that we may find in our homes and everyday consumer products, and which EPA should regulate with their new authority from the recent chemical reform. Ten of these chemicals include asbestos, PERC, Phthalates, BPA, chlorinated phosphate fire retardants, 1-bromopropane, DEHA, and p-dichlorobenzene.  By Bill Walker, Melanie Benesh,  Johanna Congleton, David Andrews and Sonya Lunder at EWG.

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