Every day we encounter various chemicals through the simple act of going about our lives—from the beauty products in your morning routine, to the packaging for your takeout meal, to the furniture you sit on. Chemicals are found in just about everything we touch or consume, and not all of them are completely benign. The identification and substitution of safer chemicals is a constant work in progress for regulatory bodies and manufacturers alike. In California, the Safer Consumer Products Program is committed to identifying safer alternatives to chemicals of concern through a process called alternatives analysis. Alternatives analysis goes beyond traditional alternatives assessment by requiring the inclusion of broader and deeper aspects such as a greater number of toxicological endpoints and life cycle impacts over a product’s lifespan. We spoke with lead author Kelly Grant to find out more of what the SCP program is about and what we can learn from it. Access the article in the July 2022 issue of IEAM.
The world’s growing population increases the already heavy demand on mineral resources on land, and so people are looking once more to the minerals found on the ocean floor, sometimes buried thousands of meters below the surface. The November 2018 issue of IEAM contains a critical review that explores the complexities of deep-sea mining, including the environmental, legal, economic, and societal impacts. In this episode we speak with lead author Andrea Koschinsky to learn more about this fascinating topic and the long road ahead to make it a reality.
“Going green” has become a sweeping campaign for consumers at all levels. One way to become more environmentally responsible is to practice reuse—the second of the three R’s in the mantra “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Although reusing items such as clothing is easy to do, measuring the environmental benefits conferred by reuse is not as obvious as, say, a reduction in energy usage. Author Valentina Castellani uses life cycle assessment to quantify the environmental impacts avoided by the reuse of commonplace items, through a secondhand store. Access her article in the July 2015 issue of IEAM.