THE LATEST FROM FOCAL POINT RESEARCH

CEPA PCBs Level Violation Results in Jail-time and hefty fine

CEPA PCBs Level Violation Results in Jail-time and hefty fine

Mistakes of the past often come to light in the future and concerns regarding environmental sustainability are no exception. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) 1999 aims to ensure the health and longevity of the Canadian environment through set guidelines and policies that take the guess-work out of companies maintaining compliance from an environmental stand point.  The ramifications of the violation of CEPA’s regulations became all too true for one company recently. In August of 2018, a company experienced the full effects of not abiding to policies of the Act. After careful investigation of the company and their facilities it was seen that several electrical transformers and capacitors were found to contain higher levels than allowable of PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls). As of Sept 5, 2008 (latest amendment January 2015) CEPA introduced regulations regarding PCBs and more specifically their rapid phase-out from industry with prohibition of manufacturing and required disposal procedures. PCBs were once commonly used as an insulation fluid in electrical equipment including transformers and capacitors with widespread use throughout the 70s.  PCBs are very easily absorbed into organic matter making their associated risks particularly high in any number of food [...]

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Targeting Cosmetics for the Human Skin Microbiome

Targeting Cosmetics for the Human Skin Microbiome

A major trend in the cosmetic industry is targeting the human skin microbiome when formulating cosmetic and personal care products. The microbiome refers to the collection of microbes such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc. that live on or in human cells. There are trillions of microbes living on and within the human body. We rely on our microbiome to perform essential functions like protecting from pathogens, building essential vitamins and providing digestive enzymes in the body. While the food industry works to market products that claim to balance and promote healthy bacteria inside your body, the personal care industry is increasingly looking into the diversity of the skin microbiome and how to develop skin care products that are tailored to such. Many studies, including one done by Johnson & Johnson, have found a strong connection between a balanced microbiome and healthy skin. Johnson & Johnson are one of the many players in the cosmetic industry who are researching and producing products containing probiotics and prebiotics in efforts to enhance the skin microbiome. Much of the research that can be used for cosmetics and personal care products includes identifying the makeup of bacterial populations present [...]

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Use of Toxic Pesticides at Illegal Cannabis Farms

Use of Toxic Pesticides at Illegal Cannabis Farms

Authorities and researchers in the United States have found an alarming increase in the use of the banned pesticide carbofuran in illegal cannabis farms in California. This discovery has led to a variety of concerns regarding the impact of the pesticide in the surrounding environment and within the plants themselves. This news comes after the U.S. and state authorities announced that $2.5 million in federal money will be targeted for illegal cannabis grow sites in California. Although California has legalized both medicinal and recreational cannabis, there is still a large number of illegal cannabis farms destined for midwestern and eastern states where it is much more profitable. A danger in illegal cannabis products is the lack of regulation and uncertainty about the contents of the product. Authorities suggest that the rise in Carbofuran and other illegal pesticides poses an increased risk. Carbofuran is a very toxic pesticide that is intended for use as an insecticide but is extremely powerful; a quarter teaspoon of the chemical is enough to kill a 300-pound (136 kilogram) bear. The chemical is banned in Canada and the European Union and is monitored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its [...]

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California’s Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act Gains Approval from State’s Democratic Party

California’s Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act Gains Approval from State’s Democratic Party

Recently, the California Democratic Party has voted to support California's Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act (SB 1249). This Act intends to ban the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals. Existing law in California prohibits manufacturers and contract testing facilities from using traditional animal testing methods when there is appropriate alternative testing available and recommended by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM). In addition, there are already more than 3000 cosmetics businesses that successfully work on a cruelty-free model in the state. SB 1249 will make it unlawful for a manufacturer to knowingly import, sell or offer for sale any cosmetic product in which the final product or its components has been tested on animals on or after January 1, 2020. The bill would not apply to a cosmetic product or its components that was tested on animals before January 1, 2020. In addition, the bill specifies that a violation of its provisions will be punishable by an initial fine of $5000 and a fine of $1000 for each day the violation continues. The bill mentions 2 notable exceptions: cosmetics may be tested on animals if required by federal law and if there are no [...]

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Deadline for PFOA and PFOS Approaches in California

Deadline for PFOA and PFOS Approaches in California

In 2016, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) published their notice of intent to list perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) to the state’s Proposition 65. While the two chemicals had been listed on Proposition 65 in November 10, 2017, implementation will be effective November 10, 2018. PFOA and PFOS are synthetic compounds that do not occur naturally in the environment and are fully fluorinated. PFOA and PFOS are not ingredients intended for cosmetic products, however they are identified in some cosmetics and sunscreens as contaminants of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) – a known cosmetic ingredient. The State of California had identified and produced sufficient information that the chemicals cause reproductive toxicity to the human body. This was determined from clinical studies on rats and mice as well as epidemiological data from general human populations. In addition, PFOA and PFOS have been found to be persistent in the environment where they have been shown to be toxic for use and consumption. Moreover, the U.S. state of Michigan had recently declared a state of emergency due to alarming levels of PFOA and PFOS found in local drinking water – linking [...]

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