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Tony Becca: WI cricket under the microscope

first_imgWest Indies cricket is passing through some hard times. For the past 25 years or so, West Indies cricket has been hit by all sorts of problems, what with a senior player walking out of his hotel during a tour, another player sent home during a tour, players refusing to tour, the president of the board forced to fly to London to save a tour, players going on strike for more money, quarrels over the captaincy of the team, players giving up the captaincy, and one captain after another leaving as they do in a game of musical chairs. In 1995, the West Indies lost the crown as champions of the world, and this has been followed by defeat after defeat until it has reached a stage where they will not, or cannot, compete in next year’s Champions Trophy tournament simply because they are no longer ranked among the top-eight teams in the world. To top it all, the West Indies regional tournament is no longer ranked with the best in the world. With the best players occupied elsewhere, with Trinidad and Tobago, for example, playing almost a second-eleven team, regional cricket is now little better than club cricket, with many matches, planned for four days, finishing in two days. The Board cannot and should not be blamed for all of this. Despite doing a few things, such as the playing of return matches and paying players to play the game, they are guilty, however, of many things, including the collapse of West Indies cricket. Things have got to the stage where CARICOM has, quite rightly, called for an Interim Board, although it is still dealing with the Board. It has called for a meeting with the Board, despite already discussing the entire matter with the Board, and the Board will decide, or try to decide, when it meets with CARICOM. The Board may decide to fight CARICOM instead of going quietly, and one of the changes the Interim Board needs to put in place for the future is the way by which the president is elected. It seems unreasonable, for example, that in a region of so many people, of six sovereign nations and in a region where democracy is supposed to rule, that it takes only 12 people – as representative of the affiliates – to vote for the president of such an important organisation. All that is necessary for anyone to win the vote is seven of those 12 votes. Something must be done about that. Looking at West Indies cricket, however, the problem is more than with the president and board members. It is even more than the president of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) being a member of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) and the chairman of its selection committee; more than the secretary of WIPA being a member of the JCA and also a member of its selection committees. It is even more than the fact that the president of the WICB, the president of WIPA and the secretary of WIPA are from the same country, just like the board’s CEO, are all from the same territory and basically from the same club. The problem, the real problem with West Indies cricket, is the modern-day attitude of the West Indian people. In days of old, West Indians were a proud people; they were poor, but they were proud. The fathers and mothers worked hard, and the children, the boys especially, dressed as nicely as they could. They studied hard, and they dreamed of doing things, of representing people, especially at sports and at cricket. And unless you were a star, you were expected, like the non-playing members, to pay your club dues. The men in charge in those days, the club presidents and club secretaries, were also respected members of the club. Today, however, that is not so, not generally so. Today, everybody is a big shot. Rich or poor, everyone, or almost everyone, goes to work, for example, at his own leisure and in his own time. There is hardly any pride in dress, especially among boys. All their time, for most of them, is spent going to parties and to night clubs doing nothing progressive. There is hardly any pride in doing anything, except may be, schoolboy sports. On top of it all, the players pay not a cent for their own development and enjoyment. The clubs which encourage it are broke, and there is hardly any respect for anyone, including the doctor, the preacher, the lawyer, and the teacher, much less the club president or the club secretary. Whereas once upon a time, the president of the club or club secretary was a big boy in the society and, more or less, highly respected, someone who could, for example, get a job for anyone, today, the president or secretary is a just another member and treated as such by the member whose skill sees him earning more than the president or the secretary. Thanks to those who went before, all that has changed, and thank God for that. It is, however, part of the changing times and part of what has happened to West Indies cricket. These are some of the things which have affected the West Indian society and West Indies cricket. Some things, some changes, have been great, but some things have been bad. The better payment of the athletes, although not as good as elsewhere in the world, has been great for West Indies cricket, but it has made the good player lose respect for those in charge as they make greater demands, and made some of them, most of them, have little or no respect for those in charge. The will to train and to practice is missing, the willingness to follow instructions is absent, and the pride of performance is sadly lacking. All that is left is the urge to go where the money is, something that is allowed by a weak board, and one which has failed to control the players, to make them understand commitment and loyalty. Although they are contracted to West Indies cricket, or to their territory’s cricket, the West Indies players are the only players who turn up almost everywhere to play in other countries’ domestic cricket, and at the expense of their own cricket. The West Indies is also a relatively poor region, and because of all these things, cricket may never change, except the players somehow change their attitude and train and practise, or unless the gods smile on the Caribbean and the region suddenly becomes rich, rich enough to spend some more money on sport, particularly on cricket, without sacrificing the necessities of life, necessities such as health care, food, housing, education, and safety. A proud peoplelast_img read more

AFC turned out to be the biggest hoax played on Guyana (Part 1)

first_imgDear Editors,When the APNU/AFC coalition won the general elections of May 2015, the country had voted for, and had high hopes for, change. Even Guyanese who did not vote in the elections gave the new Government their support, and a chance to prove themselves. However, as events unfolded, and the new Government settled into office, slowly, the people of this country began to realise that a hoax had been played on us.The range of condemnation and accusations that were levelled against the PPP/C turned out to be hype, and suspicion, and excessive noise. All the AFC did to get into power was capitalise on the disenchantment of the people.The AFC has turned out to be the biggest hoax played on the people of this country. After all the campaign promises made immediately upon getting the power the people gave to them, the AFC supported a 5 percent raise in salary for public servants and a 50 percent raise in salary for Cabinet. Rates and taxes were increased across the board, and cost of living immediately increased after the coalition went into office. A minister is quoted in sections of the media on October 7, 2015 as asking why he should work for the same salary in public office that he paid one of his attorneys when he was in private practice.Beyond salary issues, more signs of an unjust and incompetent administration that was misusing its power to pursue its own agenda began to emerge. Carifesta Avenue is now a monument to secret military involvement in civilian Police operations. The military invasion of Kaieteur National Park and the detaining of a cameraman who wanted to verify the boundaries that were the source of contention were other acts of aggression against the people of this nation, and an assault on the media. The parking meter fiasco and subsequent protest action in the city of Georgetown, as well as the teachers being forced into taking to the streets while the Government Ministers were on holiday have helped the People of this nation to become aware that the agenda of the political elite – a NEW Government — is not in alignment with the agenda of their campaign promises. One can only wonder as to the causes for a NEW Government to be so insensitive to the needs of the people.Beyond insensitivity, we find contempt from no less a person than the President of the nation. If we carefully analyse the behaviour, utterances and actions of the President, we will find that a pattern has begun to emerge that can support a theory that the President is pursuing an agenda beyond the responsibilities given to him by the people of the nation when the coalition was elected into office. Firstly, the President had a candidate earmarked to be the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission. He condemned over a dozen Guyanese as not ‘fit and proper’, nor possessing the ‘integrity, impartiality and independence’ required for the role. The only suitable person for the role was the President’s personal choice. The pattern is to attack the character of the citizens involved, arrogate to himself the higher morality, and then appoint his choice, even outside of the constitution.This pattern was repeated once again after the GECOM fiasco, and allowed the President to interfere directly in the operations of the Guyana Police Force. It began with “an alleged plot to assassinate the President,” and a series of activities and events followed that led to the removal of Seelall Persaud and David Ramnarine and the selection of a candidate whom the President found to be suitable and having the ‘integrity’ and being ‘intelligent and impartiality’.Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall advised the nation that a Commissioner of Police cannot be forced to take leave; nor can he, according to Article 225 of the Guyana Constitution, be removed from office for misbehavior, unless a special tribunal is convened. Once again, in the removal of Mr Seelall Persaud, we have the Government of Guyana operating outside of the Constitution, interfering in the operations of the Guyana Public Service.Sincerely,Sandra Khanlast_img read more

City up for BC Hydro award

first_imgThe City of Fort St. John is in the running for the BC Hydro award for the most sustainable community.According to the BC Hydro website, the Power Smart Excellence awards are given out annually to businesses and customers in recognition of energy efficiency and conservation and “create better working environments while improving their environmental, social and economic performance.”This year, Fort St. John is competing against Dockside Green and the Millennium Development Corporation in conjunction with the City of Vancouver for the award.- Advertisement -The nominations for the sustainable community category are based looking at local governments and developers who have a community-wide plan for using energy efficiently and using renewable energy.The city has been recognized because of their policy in regards to making new municipal buildings follow LEED standards and has adopted greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.The awards will be announced on Oct. 25 in Vancouver.Advertisementlast_img read more

Stewart going for the big one

first_imgAs Tony Stewart sat in front of a TV watching the Indianapolis Colts celebrate their Super Bowl victory, he thought about the burden lifted from quarterback Peyton Manning. “I sent him a text message right after the game was over,” Stewart recalled. “I said, `You got yours, finally. Now it’s time for me to go get my Super Bowl.”‘ “I’m excited where we are starting the race,” said Stewart, who will start third, on the inside of the second row in the 43-car field. “Having had the best car in the past and not being able to finish it off kind of leads me to think it’s one lap at a time for 200 laps on Sunday.” And he insists he would give every Daytona win for just one 500 victory. “I feel like this is the best opportunity that we’ve had so far to win the 500,” Stewart said. “This is definitely the most momentum we’ve had going into it.” Stewart just missed making NASCAR’s 10-man Chase for the championship last year, but won three of the 10 Chase events. Over the winter, he won a pair of midget races in Fort Wayne, Ind., and the sprint car Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Okla. Even crew chief Greg Zipadelli, who has been with Stewart since he came to Cup in 1999, is whispering in his driver’s ear about how this could be the year. “I’m superstitious about everything, and I kind of feel, the way things are lining up, like maybe we’ll have the opportunity to get it done this year,” Stewart said. A native of Indiana, Stewart started in open-wheel racing but never won his beloved Indianapolis 500 before moving to stock cars. In August 2005, he finally got to kiss the strip of bricks at the Indy finish line after winning the Brickyard race. That was a watershed moment, but the overwhelming satisfaction didn’t last as long as he thought it would. “I’m very goal-oriented,” Stewart explained. “I said the weight of the world was off my shoulders when I won the Brickyard, and I thought, `All right, I can die happy.’ Then I thought, `Now I’ve got to win Daytona.’ “And, if I win Daytona, I haven’t won a race yet at Darlington, Talladega, Vegas and California. It’s getting those other four tracks and being the only guy who has won on all the tracks we run on. That would be cool.” Stewart shut his eyes, rubbed his stubble of beard and leaned back, thinking for a moment. “But then Indy will come back into play,” he said. “There’s always going to be something. I’ll never be satisfied.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! It took the late Dale Earnhardt 20 tries, and Darrell Waltrip finally got to Victory Circle in his 17th attempt. Rusty Wallace never won it, and Mark Martin will get is 22nd try Sunday. Stewart already has 10 victories on Daytona International Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval, including the non-points Budweiser Shootout last Saturday and his 150-mile qualifying race Thursday. This week’s victories – and the ease with which he got them – have made Stewart the heavy favorite to win. Three-time 500 winner Jeff Gordon, who won Thursday’s other qualifying race, agreed. “He looks like he’s just been hooked up,” Gordon said. “The thing is, you need a great car, a little luck and a lot of confidence to win this race. It looks like Tony has all of that right now.” But Stewart, whose best finish was second in 2004, has been the guy to beat before. center_img That’s Sunday’s Daytona 500. The two-time NASCAR champion is 0-8 in the race that every NASCAR driver wants, and one that has been very tough – or impossible – for some of the sport’s biggest names to win. last_img

Bayern doctor launches scathing attack on Guardiola

first_img0Shares0000Bayern Munich’s club doctor wrote that Pep Guardiola took the club “backwards” and has “low self-esteem” © AFP / CHRISTOF STACHEBERLIN, Germany, Mar 14 – Pep Guardiola has been slammed in a scathing attack by Bayern Munich’s high-profile team doctor, who said the Catalan took the German club “backwards” in some aspects of their training.In his autobiography, which is being serialised this week in newspaper Bild, Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt described current Manchester City boss Guardiola as someone with “low self-esteem who does everything to hide it from others”. “Guardiola is often portrayed in the media as an innovative, if not revolutionary, coach, but at Bayern Munich he turned the clock back,” wrote Mueller-Wohlfahrt.“It even went so far as to turn our medically thought-out, well-rehearsed warm-up programme on it’s head before training sessions.“I think Pep Guardiola is a person of low self-esteem.“He seems to live in constant fear, not so much of defeat, but much more about any loss of power and authority,” Mueller-Wohlfahrt added.The 75-year-old Munich-based doctor has worked with a host of stars including sprint legend Usain Bolt and Germany’s 2014 World Cup winning squad.Mueller-Wohlfahrt had a stormy relationship with Guardiola, Bayern’s head coach from 2013 until May 2016 in which he won three consecutive Bundesliga titles.The pair fell out in April 2015 when Mueller-Wohlfahrt claims he was verbally attacked by Guardiola after a Champions League defeat in Porto which saw the doctor resign from his Bayern duties.“While the players were still being treated, I was loudly attacked in front of the assembled team and made responsible for our many injuries,” Mueller-Wohlfahrt wrote.“I was to blame for the physical condition of the players and ultimately for the defeat.“I felt deeply hurt. I resigned as team doctor of FC Bayern Munich after 38 years.”Mueller-Wohlfahrt, who returned to work with Bayern following Guardiola’s departure in 2016, says the Spaniard was “upset every time a player had to come off with a muscle injury.”“After the successful 2012/13 season, then came Pep Guardiola and he knew everything better,” said the German.“Five minutes warm-up in a rush – that had to be enough.“I simply could not reach Pep Guardiola with the way I think and work.“Whenever I wanted to talk to him, he immediately turned away and walked away.“The tensions between us increased over the months.“Every time I helped a player off, because of a muscle injury, the coach was angry.“‘That’s ridiculous, he could continue to play’, was what he meant.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Wenger defends Sanchez omission and hails ‘outstanding’ Arsenal youngster

first_img Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook Embed from Getty ImagesArsenal manager Arsene Wenger insisted the decision to leave Alexis Sanchez out of the starting line-up against Chelsea was not a hint the Chilean’s future lies away from the club. Sanchez has again been linked with Manchester City, after a proposed move in the summer broke down, and is also now free to talk to European clubs as he enters the last six months of his contract.Wenger brought Sanchez off the bench at Stamford Bridge and was rewarded with a bright display, which the Gunners boss said showed the forward’s commitment to Arsenal remained.“The team selection has nothing to do with the transfer market,” Wenger said.“I want him to stay because I believe he is a very important player for us. When he came on, he created straightaway a danger.“Sanchez plays every game. Sometimes a breather helps him a little bit.“This is a guy who is completely focused on playing football. He can make a difference between what is going on outside and what is going on on the pitch.”Wenger also confirmed that midfielder Francis Coquelin is close to completing a move to Valencia, and suggested 20-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles – who played at left wing-back against Chelsea – could be in contention to replace him.“Maitland-Niles had an outstanding performance tonight,” Wenger said.“He’s a defensive midfielder, basically, so at some stage what he’s doing at the moment will help him develop as a player.“We have Monreal and Kolasinac injured. When they come back, that opens up a position for him in midfield.”last_img read more

Instant Diamonds?

first_imgTalk about catastrophism: imagine a geological process creating a dyke 150 miles deep in a few minutes.  This is a new model for how diatremes formed, as described in Nature last week.1  The surprise end of the abstract by Lionel Wilson and James W. Head III states, “No precursor to the eruption is felt at the surface and the processes are complete in about an hour.”    Diatremes are deep, funnel-shaped dykes made of kimberlite rock.  They extend down 200 to 250 meters into the earth and are famous as sources of diamonds.  The origin of diatremes has long been a puzzle.  Diverse and unusual, they have seemingly contradictory characteristics:Relative to normal magmatic eruptions, the most unusual of these characteristics raise the questions of how is it possible to: (1) transport diamonds from the mantle (where they are stable) to the surface (where they are metastable) fast enough to avoid significant alteration over the intervening range of depths at which they are unstable; (2) transport significant quantities of mantle xenoliths to near-surface levels; (3) produce intrusive pyroclastic kimberlitic material at depths where pressures would normally preclude magma fragmentation by volatile expansion, and then separate most of the volatiles from the pyroclastic materials; (4) generate extensive fracturing and brecciation of host rocks in many parts of the system, with minimal contact metamorphic effects; and (5) produce complex shallow structures (diatremes and root zones) in which an unusual widening of the conduit system occurs, sometimes with extensions that do not connect to the surface, and where complex mixtures of fragmented material and coherent dyke segments are present.In light of the difficulties previous models have had, the authors propose a catastrophic eruption: “We propose that essentially all of the rise of kimberlitic magma to the surface takes place via rapid propagation of a dyke from unusually great depths (Fig. 2) rather than the much slower propagation of a diapir to shallower depths before transitioning to a dyke,” they explained.  “This very deep dyke initiation and propagation minimizes thermodynamic problems associated with transporting diamonds from mantle depths to the surface.”    In their model, which describes six stages of the eruption, carbon dioxide creates a sort of magma foam that propagates upward explosively.  Here is the brief description:Dyke initiation in a deep CO2-rich source region in the mantle leads to rapid propagation of the dyke tip, below which CO2 fluid collects, with a zone of magmatic foam beneath.  When the tip breaks the surface of the ground, gas release causes a depressurization wave to travel into the magma.  This wave implodes the dyke walls, fragments the magma, and creates a ‘ringing’ fluidization wave.  Together, these processes form the diatreme.  Catastrophic magma chilling seals the dyke.The walls open up, fill with the kimberlite, and close in rapid succession.  How quickly?  No millions of years required: “The termination of the eruption immediately after diatreme formation, probably within at most a few tens of minutes of the onset of eruption, is a direct consequence of the extreme cooling of magma during the large pressure reductions that occur on venting to the atmosphere.”  Long ages are not needed to explain the rocks found inside, either: “The subsequent very rapid pressure and temperature fluctuations lead to the formation of a diverse suite of rock types in the intrusive deposits that characterize these eruptions.”    In cases where water substitutes for carbon dioxide, the process could be more protracted, they said, similar to “traditional basaltic pyroclastic eruptions.”  Those may take a few more hours.1Lionel Wilson and James W. Head III, “An integrated model of kimberlite ascent and eruption,” Nature 447, 53-57 (3 May 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05692.If this model is correct, who needs millions of years?  Of all the catastrophic geological processes described in the literature, this one seems among the fastest.  Imagine a funnel-shaped crater filled with rocks and minerals forming in less than an hour.  Undoubtedly, a passing uniformitarian-trained geologist would look at the deposits an hour later and deduce that they took millions of years of slow, gradual processes to form.    It is clear from this example that the presumption of long ages is a mindset drilled into geologists’ heads, not a requirement of the evidence.  This would be a good subject for a Biblical geologist to investigate in more detail.  See also last year’s surprise announcement that rich gold deposits could form in a human lifetime (10/15/2006).    Better hope you are not in the wrong spot when one of these eruptions is about to blow.  Come by shortly afterwards, though; you might just find acres of diamonds.  How’s that for fast delivery?  From mantle to surface, your diamond delivered in just one hour.  Lucy, meanwhile, is somewhere in the sky without any.  She is mourning her demotion as a human ancestor (04/10/2007).  The party at Charlie & Charlie’s really rocked for awhile.  Now that morning has come, she realizes her fling didn’t result in any lasting commitments.(Visited 29 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SA’s markets ‘better off than others’

first_img8 October 2008 South Africa’s financial markets have handled the turmoil in global markets better than those in most other developing nations, with the local bourse dropping by seven percent on Monday, as opposed to markets in other developing nations sliding an average of 10%. “South Africa’s banks are properly capitalised and are in pretty good shape. Our credit policies have always been rather strict,” he said. “The price of property in South Africa has remained pretty flat for the past year, but if it drops by another 10 to 15% in the future we could see our own credit crunch in South Africa.” Source: BuaNews SA consumers ‘in a much better position’ In addition, he added that currencies of other developing markets, like Turkey and Brazil, saw far greater weakening than the South African rand. Property price While many doomsayers have witnessed the recent JSE All Share Index drop to recent all-time lows as the beginning of a local market collapse, Lamberti explained that among developing countries, South Africa was not doing all too badly. “We have four large borrowing banks … [that] have conducted their business in the most responsible manner,” he said. “Our banks did not get up to the tricks that other banks [in the US] did.” Econometrix Treasury Management economist Russell Lamberti told BuaNews this week that despite the perception that local markets were on the brink of collapse, the economy was handling the situation far better than expected. Investec Asset Management strategist Michael Power agreed with those views, saying that South Africa’s banking industry had exercised great caution in their lending practices, more so than their foreign counterparts. “The Australian dollar was actually the hardest hit on Monday, losing more than the rand, so in comparison we’re not doing that badly,” Lamberti said. “We’re holding up somewhat better, with the rand acting as a shock absorber.” Despite a high inflationary environment currently, with annual inflation in August hitting 13.6%, South African consumers were still in a much better position than their American counterparts.last_img read more

Google Docs Now Does OCR for Images & PDFs (Sort Of)

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… OCR (optical character recognition) fans that are frustrated with the current offering of online services may be pleased to learn that Google Docs will now grab text from images and PDFs quickly and cost free. According to the blog Google Operating System, the new feature has quietly been pushed live by Google after several months of experimentation and development, but will it replace commercial software or online solutions?When uploading files to their account, Docs users will now see an option to run an OCR scan, which will extract characters and place them within a new text document. As far as accuracy goes, PDFs fair much better than images, especially basic black text on a white background. Tags:#Google#web I uploaded a picture of my business card and Google Docs had trouble recognizing the largest text and clearest text on the card, but surprisingly did better with smaller text. A test of a PDF document turned up nearly perfect recognition results, but Google Docs strips nearly all of the formatting out, spewing out the text in a stream of letters and spaces. Other examples from Google Operating System produced decent results, but far from perfect or useful.Additionally, when scanning a PDF, Google Docs does not save a copy of the PDF, so scanning to text and saving an original file requires two separate uploads. This feature is great for casual OCR users that want to quickly grab text from PDFs and some images or business cards. Those who rely on OCR heavily will likely be disappointed with the features and may have better results with commercial solutions. chris cameron Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts last_img read more

Ten Things You Need to Know About the New U.S. Chemicals Law

first_imgAs the Lautenberg Act’s lead sponsor, Senator Tom Udall, told Ensia by email, “Most Americans believe that if they can buy a product at the grocery store or the hardware store, the government has tested it and determined that it’s safe. But that hasn’t been true. There has been no cop on the beat testing chemicals to make sure they’re safe — even the ones in your home.”But exactly what the revisions should look like was a matter of considerable debate, and the new legislation was years in the making. Overall, the revised TSCA gives the EPA far more authority to act on hazardous chemicals. And while questions and reservations about the bill remain on all sides, it’s largely been greeted with hope that the new law will enable the EPA to do a better job of evaluating and acting effectively on chemical safety.EPA is already putting the new legislation into practice. But as Environmental Defense Fund lead senior scientist Richard Denison said, “It’s not going to be an overnight process. The original law dug a very deep hole that we have to climb out of.”As that process gets underway, here’s what anyone concerned about the safety of chemicals we all encounter daily should know about what the new TSCA will — and won’t — do: 10. What aspects have yet to be settled, and what can citizens do to influence them?Instead of hammering out chemical prioritization criteria and the details of how the EPA will evaluate chemical risks before the Lautenberg Act was passed, lawmakers decided to leave those to rules that will become part of the overall law. The rule-making process involves official public comment periods, so the EPA will be considering those as it writes these rules, along with a rule about potential chemical industry fees that will go toward covering some of the law’s costs. Initial public comment periods for these rules are already closed. The law also includes public comment periods before the EPA finalizes these rules, as well as for ongoing chemical selections and evaluations.And, points out Kathy Curtis, the executive director of Clean and Healthy New York, the new law leaves ample room for continued action on the part of state legislatures and citizens. This includes action on chemical uses TSCA doesn’t regulate and new bills on chemical use reporting — both of which have been instrumental in influencing which chemicals get used in consumer products.As many have cautioned, substantive changes will take time. But according to the EPA’s Cleland-Hamnett, the new law opens the potential for “a huge increase in human health and environmental protection.” But this won’t happen without public engagement on the part of those with a stake in the outcome — essentially, all of us. 7. Will the new law keep hazardous materials out of furniture and clothing?Because some chemicals used in these products (which aren’t covered by TSCA) have additional uses that fall under TSCA’s purview, the upgraded review process could potentially avert hazardous chemicals’ use in a wide range of consumer products. Elizabeth Grossman is an independent journalist specializing in environmental and science issues. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Scientific American, Yale e360, the Washington Post and Mother Jones. This post originally appeared at the website Ensia. RELATED ARTICLES 2. Will the new law make it easier to restrict highly toxic chemicals?Unlike the old law, the new TSCA requires the EPA to review the safety of all chemicals used commercially in the U.S. “The EPA is actually required to look at existing chemicals,” says Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, director of the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. “Under the old TSCA there was no mandate that the EPA look at existing chemicals. That’s huge.”The new TSCA “gives EPA sweeping new authority to prioritize and evaluate existing chemicals so it will be easier for EPA to regulate these substances, if found to pose unreasonable risks,” says chemical regulation expert Lynn Bergeson, managing partner at the law firm Bergeson & Campbell.The EPA must also review all new chemicals and decide if they present “an unreasonable risk” to human health and the environment. If such risks are found, the EPA may restrict or ban a chemical. Under the old TSCA, chemical manufacturers had to submit certain information to the EPA before new chemicals could go on the market — but unless the EPA raised objections within 90 days, the chemicals could be sold without further scrutiny. According to the EPA, the agency has taken action on only about 10% of the nearly 40,000 new chemicals submitted to the agency between 1979 and September 30, 2015. EDF’s Denison says this 10% may be an overestimate.Now, new chemicals must be found safe before they can be sold, says Environmental Working Group legislative attorney Melanie Benesh.What the EPA does under the Lautenberg Act will, however, also depend on available funding. The law requires the chemical industry to help pay for the program, but the EPA also depends on federal budgets as determined by Congress. Udall says he “will be fighting to make sure the EPA has the resources it needs to do its job.” 3. Will the new law let the EPA act more quickly?Yes — in theory. The new law requires the EPA to prioritize chemicals for evaluation. It also sets enforceable deadlines for the EPA’s chemical reviews.By mid-December 2016 (within the bill’s first 180 days), the EPA must have begun to review at least 10 chemicals. These will come from a list of existing chemicals the agency had already decided to evaluate. Within the first three and a half years, the EPA must have 20 ongoing chemical evaluations. Reviews are supposed to be completed within three years, but that deadline can be extended six months. The EPA is supposed to issue any regulations within two years after that. The EPA can extend either of these deadlines, but extensions for one chemical can’t add up to more than two years.Given the enormous backlog, progress through the untested chemicals will still be slow — to say the least. In fact, doing the math on 62,000 chemicals shows it could take the EPA centuries to work through every substance. But given that the old TSCA had no chemical review deadlines, the Lautenberg Act aims to improve substantially on the decades-long reviews of single chemicals that occurred under its predecessor. Toxic and Non-Toxic HousesToxic Dust: The Dangerous Brew in Every HomeIndoor Microbes and Human HealthVentilation Rates and Human HealthAll About Indoor Air QualityStudy Linking Autism to Vinyl Flooring Stokes Phthalate DebateRecycled PVC Raises Health ConcernsCalifornia Law Addresses Fire Retardants in HomesMaking Healthier, Greener Foam InsulationThe EPA’s Indoor AirPlus ProgramHelping People With Multiple Chemical SensitivityGetting Spray Foam Right By ELIZABETH GROSSMAN“This is a big deal,” said President Barack Obama as he signed into law the bill that updates — for the first time in 40 years — the nation’s main chemical safety legislation. Called the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act to honor the late senator for whom this was a special cause, the law revises the Toxic Substances Control Act that gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency authority to regulate chemicals used commercially in the United States.As Obama noted at the June 22 signing ceremony, TSCA was supposed to ensure that chemicals used in the U.S. were safe for human health and the environment. But, said the president, “Even with the best of intentions, the law didn’t quite work the way it should have in practice.”In fact, TSCA allowed the approximately 62,000 chemicals already on the market when it was passed in 1976 to continue being used without safety testing. It also placed enormously high hurdles for the EPA to clear before demonstrating a chemical was hazardous enough to ban. Even asbestos has failed to meet those requirements. It was widely agreed by industry and environmental advocates alike that TSCA was badly in need of revision. 4. What chemical hazards is the new TSCA designed to protect us from?The first chemicals the EPA will evaluate must come from a list the agency has already decided merit review — chemicals that pose concerns for children’s health, are carcinogenic, environmentally persistent, toxic and build up in fat or other living tissue, or are widely found in biomonitoring programs.After that, when choosing chemicals to review, the EPA must give priority to those with large exposure potential, those that are environmentally persistent and bioaccumulate, and those that are stored near important drinking water sources. The new law also tells the EPA to address chemicals that are likely to pose health and safety threats to those considered most vulnerable — including infants, children, pregnant women, workers, and the elderly.Additional criteria for chemical prioritization are due from the EPA by June 2017. 6. Will the new law do a better job of preventing chemical spills?While TSCA is not intended to address or prevent chemical spills, the new law’s requirements should eventually help reduce the impact of spills or other accidents. Among these is the requirement that chemical companies disclose their products’ contents in emergencies rather than claim such information as trade secrets. 1. What does TSCA regulate?TSCA regulates chemicals used commercially in the United States. That said, TSCA does not regulate pesticides, chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products, food, food packaging, or pharmaceuticals. Some chemicals, however, have multiple uses and so may be regulated concurrently by TSCA and other federal laws. For example, TSCA regulates the plastics ingredient bisphenol A when it’s used as a receipt paper coating, but the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act regulates BPA when it’s used in food packaging. 5. What chemical hazards will the new TSCA leave untouched?The new law authorizes the EPA to review all existing and new chemicals, to identify those that pose unreasonable risks, and to regulate or eliminate those risks. The goal is to leave no unreasonable risk untouched. The details of EPA’s risk evaluations, however, have still to be worked out in a rule that must be completed by June 2017. These — along with the additional chemical prioritization criteria — will play a big role in determining exactly how effective the Lautenberg Act will be at reducing exposure to hazardous chemicals. 8. Is the new TSCA likely to change chemical companies’ practices?Because the new TSCA requires all chemicals to be evaluated, it’s expected to influence which chemicals are chosen as product ingredients, how chemicals are used in manufacturing and how chemicals are manufactured as companies try to avoid using chemicals likely to be restricted or banned. This may also create an incentive for new, safer chemicals and finished products. 9. What are its implications with respect to environmental justice?The new TSCA requires the EPA to consider impacts of chemical exposures on those most “susceptible” to these effects, “such as infants, children, pregnant women, workers, or the elderly.’’ How the EPA defines “susceptible” and “vulnerable” and how it considers impacts to these groups is yet to be determined. But already, public interest groups have asked the EPA to consider social and economic factors.last_img read more