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U.S. Government Amends TSCA; EPA Names First 10 Chemicals it will Evaluate Under New Authority

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Mon, Jan 16, 2017 @ 03:24 PM

In June 2016, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the law that governs chemicals in household and industrial products, was updated for the first time in nearly 40 years. In the past, before the agency could request safety data from the industry for new chemicals, the agency had to first show that a chemical may pose a risk. The passing of the revised TSCA allows the Environmental Protection Agency to request safety data and assess the safety of chemicals that are currently being used in a variety of products. In November, the agency selected the first 10 chemicals to evaluate under the new guidelines. The chemicals included:

 

  • 1,4-Dioxane (solvent, stabilizer)
  • 1-Bromopropane (solvent)
  • Asbestos (wide variety of uses, e.g. building materials)
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Tags: VOC

Your Clothes Smell Because of VOCs, Now What?

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Wed, Jul 06, 2016 @ 05:08 PM

If you have wondered what was really making your clothes smell before you threw them into the wash, and even after they were supposedly cleaned, you are not alone. Scientists from Northrumbia University recently published a study in the Journal of Chromatography that revealed the molecules that make your socks stink. Beyond the dirt and sweat, believe it or not there are six volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that simply can’t be washed out in traditional eco-friendly cycles (68 degrees Fahrenheit). In other words, the stinky VOCs survive the wash.

 

There is no doubt that more people are paying more attention to the environmental footprint of their day-to-day activities. Washing clothes without hot water or using detergents that are less environmental friendly have become more viewed as ways to be more friendly to the environment. Scientists argue that because of this increasing awareness of the ecological impacts of washing clothes, it’s “important to understand why dirty clothes smell, in order to find the best way to clean them.” The VOCs “could be used to test the effectiveness of washing at different temperatures.”

 

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Tags: VOC, Headspace

Should You Throw Out the Fake Christmas Tree? Are the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) harming you?

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Mon, Jan 04, 2016 @ 01:57 PM

Now that the Holidays are passed, it’s time to box the lights and put away the decorations. But before you store the fake Christmas tree for the next 11 months, consider whether the tree is making you sick. Men’s Health recently questioned whether fake trees are harming our health because most of them are made from a synthetic plastic called polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Depending on whom you ask, PVC could be safe or dangerous.

 

Dr. Glenn Harnett, the Chief Medical Officer of American Family Care, the nation’s leading urgent care provider told Men’s Health that PVC is harmful “in part because PVC is a fire-resistant compound that can use metals like lead, tin or barium as stabilizers,” adding “PVC also releases gases known as volatile organic compounds, which are gases that can irritate the eyes, nose, and lungs.”

 

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Tags: VOC

The Volatile Organic Compounds of… Love?

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Thu, Nov 05, 2015 @ 03:10 PM

Did you know that the petunia releases its fragrant compounds at night when pollinators are more likely to be out and about? Or that the rotting animal scent of the corpse flower comes from the same stuff that you smell in skunk beer and Limburger cheese? Scientists have also discovered the enzyme that gives roses its signature fragrance. Knowing this, rose breeders can use this knowledge to create even more potent smelling flower of love.

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Tags: VOC

Avoid VOCs - Go Outside and Get SomeFresh Air

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

Scientists in Edmonton, Alberta Canada wanted to find out where the air is better, inside or outside the home. The objective according to the study published in the August issue of Building and Environment “was to get a better understanding of emission sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and their contributions to indoor and outdoor concentrations in residences in Edmonton.”[1] With all the concerns about air quality, one might think that the obvious answer is inside with the filtered air conditioning.

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Tags: VOC

Mmmm… Bacon! The VOCs that make Bacon Smell So Good

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

The UK-based Chemistry teacher behind Compound Interest, a blog that takes a closer look at the chemical compounds we come across every day, asked the question “Why does bacon smell so good?” He came across a study that “tried to discover the compounds that give frying bacon its aroma, by comparing it with the aromas released when cooking pork loin. They did this by frying the meat, mincing it, then passing nitrogen gas over it to collect any volatile organic compounds that were being released. The collected volatile compounds were then passed through a gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer in order for identification to be carried out.”

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Tags: VOC

What are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 @ 05:22 PM

A 57-acre site along the Mohawk River near Schenectady, N.Y., is the future home of a new casino, hotels, apartments and shopping centers. Renderings of the project include elegant glass buildings and plush green lawns. Unfortunately, the site’s history of manufacturing train parts and turbine engines dating back to the 1800s has brought the construction project to a halt. The site is now in the middle of a multi-million dollar cleanup to remove a number of harmful substances, including arsenic, mercury, lead, petroleum byproducts and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In Niskayuna, N.Y., a landfill on GE Global Research’s 525-acre campus contains more than 112 tons of hazardous waste, including VOCs. From the 1940s to the 1970s, metals, ash residue and VOCs were dumped in the landfill. State environmental agencies are recommending monitoring and excavating the site to prevent any further contamination.

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Tags: VOC, Volatile Organic Compounds

Are “Green” Products Killing Us?

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

A recent study published in the March 2015 issue of Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, suggests that house cleaning products labeled as “organic,” non-toxic” and “all natural” may not be as green as they suggest. The study conducted by the University of Melbourne reviewed the ingredients of 37 different fragranced and fragrance-free air fresheners, cleaning products, laundry supplies and personal care products (i.e. soap, shampoo and sunscreen). Researches found 156 different volatile organic compounds emitted from the commonly used products; 42 of which are classified as toxic or hazardous. There was an average of 15 VOCs per product.

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Tags: VOC, Headspace

Using Chromatography to analyze Art and Bed Bugs

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

Using Chromatography to analyze Art and Bed Bugs

Artists use eggs, glue and vegetable oils in their paints. Bed Bugs have three volatile compounds in their feces that have been combined to create a lure that makes them easier to catch; two completely different topics, and not exactly things that you read every day. They are however important to art conservationists and scientists, and we wouldn’t know about either if it weren’t for modern analytical techniques, including gas chromatography.

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Tags: VOC, Volatile Organic Compounds

Testing VOC Samples on Mars

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 09:23 AM

Is life on Mars possible… an age-old question that has yet to be completely answered? While current conditions indicate that the planet is inhospitable to life, scientists are now finding evidence that the planet once had a climate where life was possible. NASA Curiosity rover detected organic molecules as part of recent landing mission, but scientists are uncertain whether the molecules are the building blocks of life or created by a chemical reaction from water at ancient Martian hot springs or interplanetary dust from asteroids or comets.

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Tags: VOC

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