The Signal: News and Notes from the Pharos Team
The assault by the petro-chemical industry on scientific integrity – and scientists with integrity – has been well documented. This year, three winners of the 16th Annual Heinz Awards are scientists who are distinguished "by their courageous willingness to communicate the implications of their work, often in the face of determined opposition" from the chemical industry. The three have led efforts to reduce the use and emissions of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as dioxin and phthalates, associated with PVC plastic, and BPA (bisphenol A) used in epoxy-based building products and as a liner in food and beverage cans.
On September 1, 2010, Environmental Building News (EBN) announced it would "no longer consider the use of fly ash in products or materials to be an environmental attribute when doing so does not offset greenhouse gas emissions." EBN continues to support the use fly ash as a substitute for portland cement in concrete. In his editorial explaining the EBN position, Executive Director Alex Wilson also called for transparency and disclosure standards that allow purchasers to know the "hazard concentration grade" of toxic materials such as mercury that are frequently found in fly ash. The Green Guide for Health Care, the California Collaborative on High Performance Schools and the draft LEED for Health Care also set strict limits on mercury levels in fly ash in all applications, including those which offset greenhouse gases, such as cement.