The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a list of 431 products that are effective at killing viruses when they are on surfaces. Now, a good year for Lysol manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser just got better when the EPA said that two Lysol products are among the products that can kill the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
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By Eoin Higgins
President Donald Trump's EPA on Thursday finalized a rule to roll back regulations of a chemical found in rocket fuel that can cause brain damage in infants.
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By Jessica Corbett
With the nation focused on the coronavirus pandemic and protests against U.S. police brutality that have sprung up across the globe, the Trump administration continues to quietly attack federal policies that protect public health and the environment to limit the legal burdens faced by planet-wrecking fossil fuel companies.
<div id="18202" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b88aab098c5666a85c251e01b7a029bf"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1267581093349191680" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">And while attention is elsewhere, another Trump assault on the Clean #Water Act and the ability of states to protec… https://t.co/Utqe7IkGt9</div> — Peter Gleick (@Peter Gleick)<a href="https://twitter.com/PeterGleick/statuses/1267581093349191680">1591049857.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="17b4d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a0d99172630e2eaea81fb529e2c93c87"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1267802127273005056" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">.@epa’s rule change is a blatant attack on states’ rights and flies in the face of decades of Supreme Court rulings… https://t.co/k42d4AgTL5</div> — Environmental Protection Network (@Environmental Protection Network)<a href="https://twitter.com/EnvProtectioNet/statuses/1267802127273005056">1591102556.0</a></blockquote></div><p>Hauter vowed that Food & Water Action "will be pursuing all avenues available—legal, electoral, and otherwise—to ensure that states have the right to reject fossil fuels as they see fit, and support vulnerable communities everywhere seeking to protect themselves from this malicious administration."</p>
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers last week to say that it would not oppose or put a stop to a huge copper and gold mine near the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery, as The Washington Post reported.
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Corporations that flouted environmental regulations and spewed pollutants into the air and dumped them into waterways will not be required to pay the fines they agreed to during the pandemic, according to The Guardian.
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By Nancy Schimelpfening
Consumers looking to buy disinfectant sprays and wipes may be out of luck for a while.
Why Disinfectants Are in Short Supply<p>Prior to the pandemic, demand for disinfectants was fairly stable, with only small increases seen during flu season.</p><p>Production facilities were equipped to handle the normally expected demand.</p><p>However, people's fears about the virus sparked panic buying and hoarding.</p><p>"This was not a huge industry before the spike in demand," said Welborn. "There was not a great deal of excess capacity in the production process."</p><p>In addition — according to <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/sgrawe/" target="_blank">Scott Grawe</a>, PhD, chair of the department of supply chain management at Iowa State University — companies don't tend to keep a lot of stock on hand. Storing it is expensive and it keeps costs down if they don't stockpile it.</p><p>As a result, manufacturers are struggling to keep up.</p><p>Grawe said an additional problem is that as more disinfectant products become available, suppliers upstream from retailers must decide where to send them first.</p><p>Often, they end up going directly to healthcare facilities and industrial customers first due to their greater need for larger quantities of product.</p>
What Manufacturers Are Doing to Remedy the Situation<p>Grawe said one of the things that manufacturers may be doing to increase the supply of disinfectants is to look for nontraditional suppliers of ingredients.</p><p>For example, quite a few <a href="https://www.distilledspirits.org/distillers-responding-to-covid-19/distilleries-making-hand-sanitizer/" target="_blank">distilleries</a> have stepped in to make hand sanitizer for their local communities.</p><p>Also, manufacturers may be temporarily curtailing their production of more profitable products in order to focus on their customers' increased need for disinfectants.</p><p>Welborn said another strategy manufacturers may be employing is to limit the number of different products they're making. This increases their efficiency and enables them to increase output.</p><p>He also noted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expanding its list of approved disinfectants, adding 91 new products in the month of April.</p>
How Long Can We Expect Shortages to Exist?<p>"This is a tough question," said Grawe.</p><p>Firms want to catch up to demand and replenish their inventory, he said.</p><p>However, they're also likely to be cautious that they don't flood the market.</p><p>Demand will at some point return to a steady level, although it's unclear whether it will return to the same level as before or whether there will be a new, elevated "normal," he said.</p><p>As new sectors of the economy open up, there will probably be an increase in demand for disinfectants. This may lead to regional shortages for a period of time.</p><p>Grawe said, however, that he expects supply and demand to balance out after most closed businesses have reopened.</p>
What You Can Do in the Meantime<p><a href="https://ghss.georgetown.edu/people/fischer/" target="_blank">Julie Fischer</a>, PhD, associate research professor of microbiology and immunology at Georgetown University, said as long as you have access to soap and water you can do an effective job at eliminating SARS-CoV-2 from your hands.</p><p>No special soap is needed, she said. Any bar or liquid soap will work.</p><p>Just wash your hands vigorously for 20 seconds.</p><p>If you don't have access to soap and water, hand sanitizers are a good substitute.</p><p>With commercial products being in short supply, Fischer noted that many people have turned to making <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/coronavirus-hand-sanitizer-recipes-risks" target="_blank">homemade hand sanitizers</a> using either isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or ethanol (liquor) mixed with aloe vera.</p><p>The important thing to keep in mind with many recipes found on the internet, she said, is making certain they yield the correct concentration of alcohol.</p><p>The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/hand-hygiene.html" target="_blank">recommendsTrusted Source</a> a concentration of greater than 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.</p><p>Many home recipes fall short of these recommendations, Fischer said. You'll want to double check the math on any recipe you use.</p><p>For the disinfection of surfaces within your home, Fischer said diluted household bleach works well.</p><p>Make sure it's household bleach, not a bleach alternative such as color-safe or chlorine-free bleach.</p><p>Dilute it using 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water (or 4 teaspoons per quart).</p><p>Allow the bleach solution to sit on the surface for at least 10 minutes and re-wet if it dries out more quickly than that.</p><p>Diluted bleach should be discarded within 24 hours and kept in an opaque container since it degrades and becomes ineffective fairly quickly.</p><p>Fischer said a solution containing at least 70 percent alcohol diluted in water is also a good option for disinfecting surfaces.</p><p>Use a spray bottle to apply it and leave it on the surface for at least 30 seconds before wiping it away to allow time for it to inactivate the virus.</p><p>Fischer cautions that both bleach and alcohol can be drying to your skin, so wear gloves to protect your hands.</p><p>Use these disinfectants in well-ventilated areas.</p><p>Also, you should use only water to dilute bleach. Other cleaning products may interact with it to release dangerous vapors.</p><p>Finally, she added, you should rinse the surfaces afterward with water to remove any remaining residue.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>The COVID-19 pandemic has created a large increase in demand for spray disinfectants and wipes, leading to shortages.</p><p>Although manufacturers are currently struggling to adjust, supply and demand will eventually balance out, probably once businesses have reopened.</p><p>Alternatives to spray disinfectants and wipes — such as good <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/washing-hands" target="_blank">handwashing</a> techniques and bleach or alcohol solutions — can help fill the void until adequate supplies of these products become available again.</p>
On Wednesday, nine states sued the Trump administration over the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to temporarily relax various environmental regulations during the coronavirus pandemic.
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In defiance of a court order, the Trump administration Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not regulate perchlorate, a toxic chemical used in rocket fuel that contaminates drinking water and harms the development of fetuses and small children.
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By Stephanie Hanes
Earlier this month, health care experts from across the United States gathered to address hundreds of journalists and policymakers by webinar. But their focus was not testing, nor vaccines, nor "herd immunity." It was not even COVID-19, really. Instead, their focus was climate change.
Renewing a Focus<p>For many climate advocates, this is a reason to push green initiatives now. Environmentalists worry that unless policymakers focus on climate as part of their economic packages, the pandemic could lead to policy shifts that would undermine years of hard-won climate victories. Indeed, the Trump administration in late March announced that it would weaken Obama-era fuel standards that mandate increased fuel efficiencies for automobiles. It also announced last month that the Environmental Protection Agency will not enforce environmental regulations during the pandemic.</p><p>"What we have to worry about is whether ... policy changes are going to be long term or short term," says Christopher Jones, director of the CoolClimate Network at the University of California, Berkeley. "If we roll back standards and they remain in place when the economy comes back, we are going to have a real problem." </p><p>Researchers say that a green economic stimulus package could both help the U.S. ensure long-term sustainability and rebound from the crushing economic impact of the pandemic. (More than 26 million Americans have filed for <a href="https://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2020/0401/Faces-of-the-new-jobs-crisis-from-restaurants-to-real-estate" target="_blank">unemployment</a> benefits since March 15, according to the U.S. Labor Department.) Many environmentalists look at the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama in 2009, as an example of how government initiatives can spur climate-friendly industry. That bill, which earmarked some $90 billion to promote green energy, is widely credited with launching the widespread renewable energy sector in the U.S. </p>
Inequality, Exacerbated<p>But a move toward environmental sustainability, says Dr. Bernstein, is going to be crucial not only for combatting a climate crisis, but for helping some of the people most impacted by the coronavirus. As he points out, both the pandemic and the impacts from climate change disproportionately affect people of color and other marginalized groups.</p><p>There is, he and others say, a hopeful lesson to be taken from the massive lifestyle and economic shifts seen across the globe in response to COVID-19. For years, popular wisdom has said that people simply would not engage in the sort of behavior changes necessary to fight climate change; that they wouldn't stop traveling, wouldn't stop consuming, wouldn't sacrifice material comforts and help save others who are most immediately at risk from climate change. Now, the response to the pandemic suggests otherwise. </p><p>"We are able to mobilize the entire global economy and population for an imminent threat," says Dr. Jones. "Both climate change and this pandemic both affect the most vulnerable. But everybody is willing to make personal sacrifices to protect the most vulnerable. I think that's quite new."</p>
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