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   Meriden to Receive Electric Generating Plant
   House Recognizes Connecticut-Massachusetts Trail
   Winsted High School to Receive Solar Technology
   Focus the Nation Lectures are Spurring Environmental Action
   Septic System Overhaul Receives Financial Support
   Trail to be Constructed in Elmwood Area of West Hartford
   Seven Power Plants to be Built Throughout State
   Companies to Pay for Water Contamination
   New Campus to Incorporate Green Technology
   Alternative Energy Projects to Receive Funding
   Town’s Industrial Park Closer to Receiving Wind Power
   Active Oil Fined for Storing Contaminated Waste Oil
   Cornwall and Canaan to Receive Open Space
   Vernon School Oil Tanks Need Replacement
   Contract to Expire With Trash Plant
   Plainville to House New Biomass Power Plant
   Rates Cut by Connecticut Electric Supplier
   New Haven Supports Carbon Cap
   Wallingford to Invest in Energy Cooperative
   Protected Land to be Bought by State
   Land Needed for Wastewater Treatment
   Schools to Receive Energy- and Cost-Friendly Plants
   Norwich Looks to Clean Contaminated Plot
   Unwarranted Fines Levied Against Stamford
   Single-Stream Recycling Hits East Coast
   Hearing to be Held Regarding Wood-Burning Plant
   Board of Selectmen Approves Energy Conservation Committee
   Open Space Initiative to go to Referendum
   Fledgling Environmental Group Elects Officers
   EPA Recognizes Excellent Air Quality at Ridgefield Schools
   Clean River Project Receives Donations
   Redding Receives Community Development Award
   Green Room Project for i.Park
   Barrels Finally Removed From Contaminated Waterbury Site
   Building Standards Guide Energy Conservation Efforts
   New Legislation Sets Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cap
   Reparations to be Paid for River Damage
   Coastal Trail to Receive State and Federal Funding
   Durham Residents Unfavorable to Proposed Grocery Store
   Glastonbury Bolsters its Eco-Friendly Dial-A-Ride Fleet
   Fairfield’s GE Energy sells $1 Billion in Wind Turbines
   United States Performs Poorly on Environmental Ranking
   Yale University Leader in Greenhouse Gas Reduction
   Green Cleaning Method to be Used in Milford Property
   New Eco Web site for Westport Residents
   Whole Foods to Discontinue Plastic Bags
   Bridgeport Power Plant Slated for Construction
   CECD to Conduct National Search for Brownfields Director
   What Was Won, What Was Lost
   State to Save Money and Increase Cleaner Greener Power
   Citizens Banks Announces Energy Efficiency Homeowner Loans
   National Law Firm Plans Eco-Friendly Office
   West Cornwell Store First in State to Retail Biodiesel
   One Fourth of U.S. Bird Species in Danger
   Direct Energy Launches Energy Contest
   Brothers Open Organic Restaurant
   Subway Takes Steps to Become More Eco-friendly
   Green Community Planned for Stamford
   Amenta/Emma Architects to Go Green
   Yale Opens Sustainable Café
   New Credentialing Organization Launched for Green Building Professionals
   How CT Legislators Vote on the Environment
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Roofs Go Green—Literally

schematic of green roof technology components

Roofs Go Green – Literally


When people think of green spaces, they generally think of lawns and gardens. But roofs are proving to be the newest frontier for thinking green. Vegetated roof covers, eco-roofs, or green roofs—it doesn't matter what you call them—they're more than just a pretty face. Along with protecting conventional roof waterproofing systems, they also offer a myriad of ecological benefits.
Read more...
Environmental Impact of Beef Production

meat on an outdoor grill

Environmental Impact of Beef Production


EARTH TALK
From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Vegetarians and vegans are so self-righteous about not eating meat and how meat eating is so bad for the environment. How true are these claims?    Read more...
Electric Baseboard Heaters

electric meter

Electric Baseboard Heaters: Pay Now and Pay Later


Electric baseboard heaters are fairly cheap to buy and install, but they keep costing you with their heavy use of energy. Although they convert nearly 100% of energy into heat, when you add in the cost of electricity generation and transmission losses, these heaters becomes expensive and inefficient. Read more...
Washing Machines: Front-Loaders are the Clear Winners

front loading washing machine

Washing Machines: Front-Loaders are the Clear Winners


Want to save $550? Buy an Energy Star rated front-loader washing machine. You won't save the money when you buy it. In fact, you'll probably pay more. But factor in reduced costs of energy and water, and the savings will add up. Read more...
Earth Talk: Computer's Energy Use

small globe on keyboard

Energy Use of Your Computer


from the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: As an online gamer, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer. What’s the environmental impact? And are “greener” PCs available?     Read more...
Stoves – what's cooking?

pot on stove

Stoves —What's Cooking?


When buying a stove, look past the sticker price into the future – the future energy costs of operating it. Gas or electric? Conventional or convection? Self-cleaning or regular? The choices you make today will affect your energy bill for years to come. Read more...
Home Offices – Is Your Printer or Copier Making You Sick?

home office printer

Home Offices – Is Your Printer or Copier Making You Sick?


Today's home office probably has as much equipment as regular offices had ten years ago. As the prices of equipment went down, our consumption went up. All that printing is bad for the environment. It's also turning out to be bad for our lungs. Read more...
Fireplace + Insert = Efficiency

room with fireplace with insert

Fireplace + Insert = Efficiency


Fireplaces add warmth and coziness to a room, but unless you have a fireplace insert, most of that warmth is going straight up the chimney. Why? Because open hearths are inefficient. Their poor heating capabilities mean they use more fuel, burn incompletely, and create more pollution. Read more...
Compact Florescents: Good Things Come in Small Watts

compact florescent lightbulb

Compact Fluorescents: Good Things Come in Small Watts


Think energy-efficient lighting and the words "compact fluorescent light (CFL)" probably come to mind. In fact, if every American home replaced just one light bulb with a CFL, we'd save over $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of 800,000 cars. Read more...
Hot Water: Less is More (savings that is)

hot and cold water faucets iStock Photo

Hot Water: Less is More
(savings that is)


You're tired after a hard day. Wouldn't a nice hot shower feel good? Before turning on the water, think about where that hot water comes from. Read more...
Phantom Load: Who's Stealing Your Electricity?

Phantom Load: Who's Stealing Your Electricity?


If someone tapped into your electrical line without permission, you'd call him a thief. But you may have as many as 25 electrical thieves in your home—thieves you've invited in. Read more...
Open Fireplaces: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

While a roaring flame in an open fireplace seems romantic, it's actually inefficient and potentially dangerous. Open fireplaces can add to indoor smoke pollution, send more heat up the chimney than into the house, and be a source of carbon monoxide.

While the Environmental Protection Agency strongly recommends using fireplace inserts, you can do some things to make your open fireplace work better and decrease indoor air pollution and energy loss. Read more...
Vinegar: It's Not Just For Salads

Vinegar:  It's Not Just For Salads


One of nature's best cleaning aids is right in your pantry: distilled white vinegar. A natural powerhouse, it can do many cleaning jobs without adding toxic chemicals to your house.

Read more...
High-Efficiency Toilets – Flush With Pride

Flush your toilet twice. You've now used as much water as people in some developing nations use in one day—for all of their needs.

Toilets account for about 30% of residential indoor water consumption—the main source of water use in your home. Old, leaky, and inefficient toilets are a major cause of wasted water.


Read more...
Programmable Thermostats: Energy Savings at Your Fingertips
Copyright: Kameleon007
Think of your thermostat as your heating system's brain. The smarter the brain, the more efficiently it uses energy. Programmable thermostats, also called setback thermostats, are a simple, inexpensive way to increase your furnace's IQ.

Because these thermostats decrease energy consumption, they also decrease greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy production to meet that need. Their increased convenience and accuracy over manual thermostats provides improved heating comfort. Read more...
Turning the Heat up in Bed
Copyright: Plus
Since most of us spend around seven hours in bed, keeping warm through a cold winter's night is important. Don't turn up the thermostat, consider these options instead.

Warming Yourself
Wear warm pajamas or thermal underwear. If it's really cold, wear both. A pair of socks and/or a hat keeps your body heat where it belongs – in your body.

Eat protein or have a hot drink before bedtime. If you tend to wake up cold in the middle of the night, keep a thermos of hot chocolate, tea, or coffee nearby. But no alcohol – it dilates blood vessels causing heat loss.

A relaxing warm shower might help you sleep better and not notice the cold.
Read more...
Your Fridge: Is it Eating up Energy?

A fridge is not only the largest appliance in your kitchen, it's also the biggest energy guzzler in your house. A typical self-defrosting refrigerator can use 1,200 kilowatts of electricity per year. That's enough electricity to light a typical house. Read more...
Windows Do More Than Let the Sun Shine In
red house in winter
by Harriet Cooper

Keeping your home warm in winter without spending a fortune on heating comes down to two things: keeping the cold out and the warmth in. Your windows can help you do that.

Making Your Current Windows More Energy Efficient

If your windows are old and draughty, you're losing heat and money constantly. At the very least, put caulking and weather stripping around them to stop the worst of the draughts.

Buy an insulating shrink wrap kit at your hardware store. These kits include lightweight film and double-sided tape. Tape the film over the window and use a hair blower to shrink it, providing a weather-tight seal.

Or, use interior or exterior storm windows. You can buy them or make them using heavy plastic or plexiglass and framing them to the size of your windows. Attach them during fall and store them away during spring and summer.

You can also buy insulated shade kits, such as those made by Warm Windows,  online and at large fabric retailers.

Buying New, Energy-Efficient Windows

If you have more money to spend, invest in energy-efficient windows. While replacing windows does have a fairly long payback period, they will make your home more comfortable in the meantime. Today's energy-efficient windows are twice as efficient as the average ones manufactured only 10 years ago. Among their benefits are decreased heat loss, air leakage, and condensation. Read more...
Cutting Back on Salt: A Healthier Diet for Your Ice and Snow
snow and ice covered walkway at night
By Harriet Cooper

While ice is lovely in a drink on a hot summer afternoon, it can be downright dangerous in the middle of winter. If visions of broken bones and bruised tailbones dance in your head, you might be tempted to reach for the salt – it's cheap, convenient and effective.

Problems with Salt

Wait! Although rock salt (sodium chloride) is effective in melting ice, it's environmentally unfriendly. Melted ice combines with salt to produce a salty run-off which ends up in sewers, streams, rivers and lakes. It also seeps into the ground, permeating underground aquifers which supply much of our drinking water. While water purification plants can remove the salt, it's a complex and costly process.

Once in the ground, excess salt can destroy the soil's natural structure, damage and kill vegetation, and decrease fish and wildlife populations by acidifying their fresh water source.

Salt's corrosive properties also damage exposed rebar, bridges and cars. Its de-icing ability leads to faster freeze and thaw cycles, prematurely aging cement and asphalt, and affecting roads, driveways and cement stairs.

Does this mean you have to go on a salt-free diet? Not entirely. Read more...
Clothing Swap
two young women with shopping bags
By Alexis James

Fashion conscious and environmentally-conscious trendsetters rejoice!  If you're a little beyond getting used clothes from a thrift store, have we got the answer for you: Clothing Swap – an opportunity to get glamorous clothes on the cheap, along with a night of mingling, drinking and pampering.

If you've ever gone through your closet and bemoaned the idea of getting rid of well-loved clothes that had once fetched a fair price, lament no longer. Sure, there are other options out there for getting rid of — and buying — used and recycled clothes, as opposed to purchasing new items. There are places like higher-end consignment boutiques, hip clothing exchange stores and a few other possibilities. What sets the idea of Clothing Swap apart is that you can get something for next to nothing. (And we're not just talking about cheap clothes.)

Here's how it works:

Clothing Swap started in San Francisco and is working on expanding in other cities – but there's no reason you couldn't start your own as well. It offers a barter/swap environment where people clean out their closets, and bring it to the swap destination. Their website advises those taking part to bring "CLEAN, new (and gently worn) shoes, clothing and accessories," in all manner of sizes and styles. They are all brought in bagged, and sorted before the mad dash for the sensational swap begins.

And here's a little bonus – most of these events are hosted in hip nightspots, restaurants, bars and clubs.  What's better than drinking, dancing, gal pals and free clothes? Many functions even offer spa-treatments like chair massage, makeup application, manis/pedis, and facials.

But men – fear not! Clothing Swap recently added events for the closet-space-challenged male. Which creates a similar environment for guys to get free, hip clothes as well.
The cover charge is usually minimal (often only between $10-$30) – considering all the great digs you'll walk away with. Once the swapping begins, it's an organized free-for-all, with people roaming tables and racks, trying things on, and free to take what they please.

Overall, it is a terrific new way to recycle, refresh your wardrobe and meet some new, like-minded buddies. What could be better?
15 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Carbon FootprintsYou hear of your “carbon footprint” constantly these days—so what is it exactly? And what does it mean to you, your business, and your efforts to create a greener lifestyle?

Your carbon footprint is the amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emitted as measured in tons per year. Thought of another way—it is the annual contribution to global climate change that a business, building, or person makes through its daily activities.

The daily activities that create carbon dioxide are:

•    the energy used to create all the good and services you use throughout the day
•    the transportation of people, raw materials and supplies,
•    the energy required to keep the lights, heat, A/C and machinery on,
•    the disposal or recycling of wastes
•    for businesses, the transport of the finished product to its intended customer, and;
•    the disposal of the packaging waste and the product at the end of its useful life.

Calculating a business or institution’s Carbon Footprint is complex, but calculating an individual’s Carbon Footprint is relatively simple. The first step to take to reduce your carbon footprint is to know just how big it is.  There are lots of great tools on the web to help.  You can visit www.carbonfund.org (under “Individuals”, look for “Carbon Calculator”)  or go to carbonneutral.org .

HOW TO REDUCE YOUR OWN CARBON FOOTPRINT
Now that you know the size of your carbon footprint, you can start to reduce it. Here is a quick list of some basic measures we all can take to make our footprint a little lighter on the planet. The numbers are approximate because everyone’s lifestyle is different. The list starts with smaller impacts and moves onto larger ones.

Read more...
15 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Image

By Mitch Kennedy, ND, LEED-AP

You hear of your “carbon footprint” constantly these days—so what is it exactly? And what does it mean to you, your business, and your efforts to create a greener lifestyle?

Your carbon footprint is the amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emitted as measured in tons per year. Thought of another way—it is the annual contribution to global climate change that a business, building, or person makes through its daily activities.

The daily activities that create carbon dioxide are:

•    the energy used to create all the good and services you use throughout the day
•    the transportation of people, raw materials and supplies,
•    the energy required to keep the lights, heat, A/C and machinery on,
•    the disposal or recycling of wastes
•    for businesses, the transport of the finished product to its intended customer, and;
•    the disposal of the packaging waste and the product at the end of its useful life.

Calculating a business or institution’s Carbon Footprint is complex, but calculating an individual’s Carbon Footprint is relatively simple. The first step to take to reduce your carbon footprint is to know just how big it is.  There are lots of great tools on the web to help.  You can visit www.carbonfund.org (under “Individuals”, look for “Carbon Calculator”)  or go to carbonneutral.org .

HOW TO REDUCE YOUR OWN CARBON FOOTPRINT
Now that you know the size of your carbon footprint, you can start to reduce it. Here is a quick list of some basic measures we all can take to make our footprint a little lighter on the planet. The numbers are approximate because everyone’s lifestyle is different. The list starts with smaller impacts and moves onto larger ones.

Read more...
Tax Credits for Greening Your Home

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The Energy Policy Act of 2005 includes tax credits for home improvements that reduce energy consumption, including adding insulation, replacement windows and some high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment.

Remember that a tax credit reduces the amount of income tax you must pay while a tax deduction just reduces the amount of income subject to taxation. Energy Star has provided a quick and easy chart for you to assess whether the home improvements you are considering are eligible for the credit. Get it here.

The credit offers incentives for the purchase of a car, solar energy and fuel cell systems as well. You may not be ready for one of these big moves but making your home more energy efficient has an immediate pay-off in reducing your utility bills. Eligible improvements include exterior windows and skylights, storm windows, storm doors, exterior doors, roofing, insulation, and certain high-efficiency HVAC and water heaters.

Go to www.energystar.gov for a quick link to the needed IRS forms and plenty of easy-to-access consumer information to guide your decision.

Don't Forget There's Someone In There

 

pregnant mother

By Heather Burns-DeMelo 

The exposure of pregnant women to air pollution can increase their risk of having low-birth-weight infants, according to a Yale study.

Researchers at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) and School of Medicine found that the higher the level of exposure to nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), the greater the risk of having lower-weight infants.

The researchers investigated the exposure of pregnant women for 358,504 births from 1999 to 2002 in 15 Connecticut and Massachusetts counties.

Read on if you like, but before you get too depressed...do OneThing and feel good about taking a step toward a solution.

The Yale study results imply that even low levels of air pollution can have harmful effects, the researchers say. Average concentrations for all pollutants in the study were below the Environmental Protection Agency's health-based regulatory standards, called the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Further, exposure to PM2.5, a fine particulate matter that is a component of vehicle exhaust, had a greater negative effect on infants of black mothers than on those of white mothers.

"This study indicates that some populations may face disproportionate health burdens of air pollution," says Michelle Bell, assistant professor of environmental health at F&ES and co-author of the study with Keita Ebisu and Kathleen Belanger, both of the medical school.

Other studies have linked low birth weight to a higher risk of infant and childhood mortality, coronary heart disease and other health problems.

Source: Yale Bulletin & Calendar

The study, "Ambient Air Pollution and Low Birth Weight in Connecticut and Massachusetts," is accepted for publication in Environmental Health Perspectives and is available at www.ehponline.org/docs/2007/9759/abstract.html.

Tips for Energy Efficiency at Home

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These home tips come from “POWER TO THE PEOPLE: How to fight global warming, lower your utility bills, and take a stand for a more sustainable future,” compiled by The Audubon Society and the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Seal Air Leaks for better heating and cooling. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that air leakage accounts for up to 10 percent of a homeowner’s energy bill. You first priorities are to seal your attic and basement. Then seal windows, doors, vents, electrical sockets, and anywhere else air is escaping. If you’re having trouble finding leaks, you can hire a professional to find them with a blower door test or infrared technology. CL&P and the Energy Star program offer this service. Cost: $100 (Do-It-Yourself) - $600 (professional). Annual Savings: $60 - $70. Payback: 1.4 – 10 years.

Cheat Your Water Heater. Water heating can account for roughly 19 percent of a home energy bill and some estimates say that CO2 emissions from running that heater are double your car emissions! The majority of U.S. houses have gas water heaters, but almost 40 percent use doubly expensive electric systems. Make your water heater work more efficiently: wrap it with an insulating jacket; insulate hot water pipes; turn the heater off when you're on vacation; install timer controls that switch off heater when your at work or sleeping; add anti convection valves and loops; and turn the temperature down to 120 degrees F or less. Cost: $80 - $100. Annual savings: $57 - $123. Payback: 0.7 - 1.9 years.

Slay Vampires. An energy vampire is an electronic device--a TV, phone, fax, computer, or cell phone charger--that draws energy even when it's in "standby mode." These vampires can suck up to seven watts of energy per hour. How do you conquer them? Buy energy efficient appliances that use one less watt per hour in standby mode, plug computers into smart strips that sense when you shut down power to certain receptacles. Ordinary power strips can also be easily switched off when electronics are not in use. Cost: $0. Annual savings: $5 - $34. Payback: Immediate.

Read all 21 useful tips.

Measure Your Footprint
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By Heather Burns-DeMelo

According to the Connecticut Climate Change website, "Your carbon footprint is a representation of the effect you, or your organization, have on the climate in terms of the total amount of greenhouse gases you produce (measured in units of carbon dioxide). Many of your actions generate carbon emissions, which contribute to accelerating global warming and climate change. By measuring your carbon footprint through such tools as the Safe Climate Carbon Calculator, you can get a better sense of what your individual impact is and which parts of your lifestyle deserve the greatest attention. Armed with such information you can more readily take effective action to shrink your carbon footprint, thereby minimizing your personal impact on the climate."
A Green Wedding Gift


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By Heather Burns-DeMelo

Many young couples are concerned about climate change.  Davie and Tiffany Foley, a newly wedded couple received an unusual wedding gift from their relatives--this forest in Costa Rica designed to balance their carbon emissions for the next 25 years.

CO2 is responsible for climate change and global warming. The average annual per capita CO2 emission of each U.S. citizen was 23.5 metric tonnes in 2004, up 18% since 1990.  A couple who does not take measures to reduce their emissions is thus responsible for 47 tonnes each year.

In addition to buying hybrid cars, installing solar panels, switching over to clean energy, and reducing our use of electricity, another option for managing CO2 emissions is to sponsor a carbon-offset forest.  Working with farmers to reforest pastures in 25-year contracts, programs like Reforest the Tropics manage new forests to produce wood for farmer income and to sequester CO2 on behalf of U.S. emitters.

Start a Recycling Program at Your School!

SchoolrecyclingStudents from around the world are making positive change at their schools by heading up school-wide recycling programs. Want to start one of your own?
Check out these tips from Treehugger.com

1. Find out who else in your school is passionate about recycling and is willing to help!

2. Decide what can be recycled in your school district. Items such as paper, plastic, printer cartridges, batteries or clothing are all fair game.

3. Form a recycling club to be responsible for the program.

4. Determine who will get the recyclables to the transfer station. Some potential candidates include custodians, parents, volunteers or in many areas the trash company or town itself.

5. Decide where to store your schools recyclables until transport.

6. Find out how many classroom, lounge and cafeteria recycling containers will be needed, and then raise money for their purchase.

7. Have committee or club members make presentations to each classroom about the importance of recycling.

8. Weigh and measure recyclables and post this information for the entire school to see to encourage more recycling.

9. Hold contests and competitions between grade levels or classrooms to see who can recycle the most.

10. Find fun things to do with the funds raised by collecting bottle-return money!

Worries about Toxic Toys
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EARTH TALK
From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I have been alarmed at recent news about dangerous substances in kids’ toys shipped to the U.S. from China, though I doubt that such concerns are limited to Chinese products. What are the major issues associated with chemicals in child toys?     -- Carla M., Chicago, IL

Recent concerns surrounding toxic chemicals in children’s toys have focused on “phthalates” (pronounced THA-lates), a group of chemical compounds typically added to plastics to increase their softness and flexibility, and bisphenol A (BPA), a building block for polycarbonate plastic that is used primarily in shatter-resistant baby bottles. Phthalates are found in numerous industrial and consumer products, including plastic intravenous (IV) bags used in hospitals, fishing lures and nail polishes. One phthalate, diisononyl phthalate (DINP), is commonly used in the manufacture of soft vinyl products made for babies, such as bath books, rubber ducks and teething rings.

Studies have linked BPA to the disruption of hormone function in rats, and to increased breast and prostate cancer cell growth, early puberty and obesity in humans. Other studies have linked phthalates like DINP to rodent cancers and genital abnormalities, especially in males.

The city of San Francisco would have been the first U.S. jurisdiction to ban phthalates and BPA from children’s toys and feeding products under a “Stop Toxic Toys” bill signed by mayor Gavin Newsom in June 2006, but lawsuits backed by chemical and toy manufacturers (and filed by a coalition including the California Retailers Association, the California Grocers Association and the American Chemistry Council) stalled the initiative, which had been set to take effect December 1, 2006.

Then on October 15, 2007, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 1108 (also known as the California Toxic Toys Bill), making California the first state in the country to ban the use of phthalates from children’s products. “We are thrilled that California is taking action to protect our kids from dangerous chemicals,” said Dan Jacobson, Legislative Director for Environment California, which co-sponsored the legislation along with the Breast Cancer Fund. “This bill is so important because as children’s minds and bodies go through the delicate processes of growing and developing, they are particularly vulnerable to chemicals that could affect proper development.” Read more...