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Compliance & Standards Briefing: Sugar, Ford, RoHS, WEEE, Coal Ash

A Brazilian Coca-Cola bottler has become the first customer to buy sugar cane product certified under a new sustainability standard launched by the World Wildlife Fund “This will change the sugar cane industry forever,” Kevin Ogorzalek, WWF-US programme officer, said of the new Bonsucro standard. “Sugar is everywhere, on our tables, in our drinks, and in the food we eat. Increasingly sugar cane is in our gas tanks, too. This is why we work with influential market leaders to help ensure key commodities like sugar cane are grown in a manner that assures more sustainable use of natural resources,” Ogorzalek added.

The Detroit News, via AutoBlogGreen, reports that Ford is close to wrapping up a seven-year lawsuit over cleanup at its Rouge manufacturing complex. Ford sued the federal government, claiming it should share costs. The site was used for manufacture of engines, tanks and boats during World Wars I and II, and saw decades of heavy industry activities. It is now contaminated by millions of gallons of coal tar and 65 million gallons of waste water, and about 70,000 gallons a day are leaking into the water table, AutoBlogGreen said.

Testing, certification and compliance company TUV Rheinland will get access to a multi-million-part database for its RoHS and REACH services under an agreement with content management provider GreenSoft Technology, Inc. The two companies said that their agreement will lower costs and speed the certification process for electronics manufacturers seeking to be in compliance with constantly evolving worldwide environmental regulations and directives.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has unveiled a new strategy to meet challenges posed by rapidly rising imports of FDA-regulated products, in a report called the “Pathway to Global Product Safety and Quality.” The report says the FDA should partner with counterparts worldwide to create global coalitions of regulators focused on ensuring and improving global product safety and quality.

Changes to the WEEE directive propose to reduce the regulations’ ten categories to five, according to Gary Nevison of Farnell, writing for Electronics Weekly. But some details are still to be agreed, such as whether household equipment is to be differentiated by both weight and size. Second reading negotiations are due to start later this year, and the changes will come into force no earlier than January 2014.

The decision not to restrict the use of beryllium and beryllium oxide under the newly revised European Union RoHS (Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment) list of restricted substances will help ensure that the next generation of electronic products is affordable and offers high-quality performance, according to W. Glenn Maxwell, president of Materion Brush Performance Alloys.

UTZ Certified, the organization behind the Good Inside sustainable coffee seal, has joined industry sustainability group the 4C Association, which aims to align sustainability standards to reach more farmers. The organizations say that collaboration within the coffee sector is necessary to getting a significantly larger part of coffee production on the road towards sustainability.

Over 30 active coal ash disposal sites in 19 states may be violating a federal ban on open dumping, according to an analysis by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). EIP found levels of groundwater contamination at 33 coal ash landfills or impoundments nationwide that are high enough to trigger the “open dumping” provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The sites in 19 states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas—meet the open dumping criteria for one or more of the following coal ash-related pollutants: arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, fluoride, lead, mercury, and selenium. This list includes chemicals that cause cancer, neurological damage, developmental problems, and other diseases, EIP said.

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