Toxics-Free Environments


Dying Green: Have You Considered A Natural Burial?

Planning ahead for your own funeral can be daunting. It is not exactly a subject many people want to talk about.A traditional American funeral consists of an embalming process, a coffin, flowers, etc. Even more resources go into the planning and execution of a funeral. Then there is the less costly conventional route of cremation. Both are socially accepted, neither is environmentally friendly. In the United States, 30 million board feet of wood, 1.6 million tons of concrete, 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid, and 90,000 tons of steel are used every year for ...

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A Modern Take on Trick or Treating

Guest post by blogger Tillia GriffinHalloween has come again, bringing with it ghosts, goblins, superheroes, and of course, candy! Unfortunately, that also means buckets and pillowcases full of plastic. There’s nothing sweeter than grabbing a handful of Snickers, Reeses Cups, and my favorite, Twix. But after all the chocolate, caramel and nougat are gone, you’re left with piles of plastic wrappers that will inevitably end up in a landfill. To protect the environment many of us are changing the ways we buy, eat and live, extending to the ways we celebrate ...

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Oregon Health Authority Wrestles With Commitment to Transparency

At the most recent meeting of the Toxic Free Kids Act Rules Advisory Committee the chemical industry publicly admitted that many chemicals in kids’ products may lack key data on their safety. This sort of disregard for product safety and transparency is sadly a routine page out of the chemical industry's playbook. The issue of transparency was another hot topic during the most recent rules meeting. While it's a common move for industry associations and manufacturers to refuse to provide transparency on chemical ingredients and safety assessments, it's less common to ...

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Transportation Transformation: The Writing Is On The Wall

Greenhouse gas emissions aren’t something you can easily feel or smell or see in your daily life. It’s hard for us to get a sense of what the volume is, and whether it’s going up or down. That’s why it’s so important to track the measurements to see what’s working and what isn’t workingOn September 18, the City of Portland released a report on greenhouse gas emissions in Multnomah County from 1990 to 2017. This report tells us that some things are working, though not quickly enough, and some things are working much worse than others.Here’s the good ...

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What does clean air mean to you?

Oregon Environmental Council is celebrating Park(ing) Day on September 20, 2019. Park(ing) Day is a global event that allows us to reclaim our public space and imagine what we could do with them if we weren’t using them to store cars. Roadways used to be spaces for pedestrians, but with the advent of the automobile, our relationship to the “public right-of-way” has changed. On Park(ing) Day, groups and individuals adopt parking spaces around Portland for a day to celebrate, learn, relax, and enjoy our public right-of-way with art, activities, living room spaces ...

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Protect Oregon’s drinking water from toxic PFAS: Ask Congressman Walden to designate PFAS as a “hazardous chemical”

Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a category of hazardous chemicals that are currently designated as “contaminants” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  To protect human health, Congress must designate PFAS as hazardous chemicals, which will speed up the identification, cleanup and monitoring of PFAS contaminated sites under federal Superfund law.What are PFAS and why should you be concerned?PFAS are a group of 47,000 synthetic chemicals that are known as ‘forever chemicals’ due to their persistent nature in the environment. They ...

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2019 Legislative Wrap Up

Oregon’s 2019 legislative session proved to be the most divisive in recent memory, with a walkout by Senate Republicans preventing a vote on our major priority–Clean Energy Jobs. Despite this setback, Oregon Environmental Council made strides to protect the health of Oregonians and our environment. Here’s a short recap of our progress.

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Navigating Our Way Towards A Sustainable Plastics Future

—Belinda McFadgen, for OECWhen Victor Vescovo was about to dive into the deepest part of the world’s oceans, he was probably not expecting any plastic to beat him to it. However, deep down in the Pacific Ocean there exists the Mariana Trench, where Victor spotted a plastic bag and several sweet wrappersfloating almost 7 miles below sea level.Perhaps this should come as no surprise. While humans produce approximately 78 million tons of plastic per year (see infographic below), and an alarming 86% of this ends its life as non-recycled plastic waste.The ...

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OHA Making Smart Moves on Toxic Toys Rules

As we've mentioned in previous blog posts, Oregon is in the midst of an important process to establish key regulations related to toxic ingredients in products made for kids.The third and most recent meeting of the Toxic Free Kids Act Rules Advisory Committee yielded important information. We've been waiting to see how the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) would propose to evaluate the hazard of different chemicals used in kids’ products. This decision is critical because it will help prevent manufacturers from substituting a toxic chemical on Oregon's regulatory list ...

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Oregon House Votes to Curb Diesel Pollution

Old dirty diesel engines may soon be on their way out SALEM -- Diesel exhaust from heavy-duty engines is one of Oregon’s biggest air toxic problems and can be solved by replacing old polluting engines with newer diesel engines or with trucks and equipment that run on cleaner fuels like electricity. In a 44 to 15 vote in favor of HB 2007, the Oregon House has chosen to accelerate this critical transition.“We have known about diesel’s pernicious impacts on human health for decades,” said Morgan Gratz-Weiser, Legislative Director of Oregon Environmental Council. ...

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