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Month: September 2009

Chemical Reactions

Chemical Reactions

This week the Obama Administration signaled its interest in chemicals management and hazards communication in two key ways. On Tuesday, U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson delivered a speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, in which she outlined the EPA’s “essential principles” for chemicals management, specifically stating goals for legislative reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) and enhancement of EPA’s existing chemicals management Read more [...]
Will China Be the Home of the Next Great Innovation Revolution?

Will China Be the Home of the Next Great Innovation Revolution?

Tom “The World is Flat” Friedman, noted NYTimes columnist, has launched a shot across America's bow.  His recent column, “The New Sputnik,” outlines a future in which China goes green – and cleans our clock on innovation.  If that happens, and the next innovation revolution occurs in China, the wealth that flows from it won’t be lapping at our shores the way it did following the internet revolution. Why China, a country that lags far behind America Read more [...]
What’s Next?

What’s Next?

An op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal written by Kevin Warsh, a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, is a must-read. Without striking a self-congratulatory tone about their apparent successes thus far in averting catastrophe, the article provides insights into the ramifications of decisions made by the Fed over the past two years (remember, the financial crisis started in 2007) as well as the pitfalls that might lie ahead. One of the more salient comments in the article was Read more [...]
REACH-ing” for higher and higher costs

REACH-ing” for higher and higher costs

A study by the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health recently concluded that the REACH regulation in the European Union will require $13.6 billion to implement over the next 10 years—six times more than previously anticipated [T Hartung and Constanza Rovida, Nature, 2009, 460, 27; available for a fee online]. The principal reason is that the number of chemicals pre-registered for REACH by industry vastly exceeded expectations, pointing to a huge volume of testing. The JHU Read more [...]
Watch the Pots…They’ll Eventually Boil

Watch the Pots…They’ll Eventually Boil

With every new presidential administration comes a different set of priorities and issues, and Congress' legislative agenda reflects this fact.  However, while much of the media focus has been on the big ticket items--health care reform, climate change, regulation of the financial industry, and the economy, there are several other items that are simmering on the backburner.  At some point, the heat will get turned up and these issues will really start bubbling. Here is a sampling of Read more [...]
Important nanoscale property needs standardization

Important nanoscale property needs standardization

A recent article released by Lawrence Berkeley Labs announced their new gold-based fabrication method that increases the electrical conductance of nanocrystals used in solar energy technologies by 100,000 times.  Since electrical conductance is a critical element for solar electricity and solar fuels, an international standard method for measuring electrical conductance is needed so that nanoscale semiconducting material vendors and purchasers have an apples-to-apples comparison of electrical Read more [...]
Still in the Early Innings

Still in the Early Innings

After enduring the deepest economic downturn of the postwar era, manufacturers are finally beginning to see some signs of recovery. For the second month in a row, industrial production and capacity utilization have posted decent-sized gains. A temporary rebound in the auto industry, thanks in part to "cash for clunkers" demand, certainly helped; however, industrial output from manufacturers outside of the automotive sector also rose in July and August. The main question going forward, Read more [...]
Competition is missing from the healthcare reform attempts

Competition is missing from the healthcare reform attempts

Yesterday, the long awaited Senate healthcare bill was introduced; I was hoping that it would promote sufficient competition, which is missing from all other healthcare bills. The lack of competition or the diminishing of competition in many sectors of the American economy is preventing improvement in our health care sector, as well. There is not sufficient competition in the current health care system at the points where health care services are paid for, i.e. where healthcare services are provided, Read more [...]
"Steely" Resolve on EFCA

"Steely" Resolve on EFCA

This week the AFL-CIO is holding its 2009 convention in Pittsburgh, and two issues grabbing most of the attention are overhaul of the nation's health care system and the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" (HR 1409/S 560).   And the big guns are out in full force. On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis assured the assembly that the Obama administration would fight for EFCA, stating "I will work with the White House so that together we make the strongest case Read more [...]
Will Washington Take Manufacturing’s Loss Seriously?

Will Washington Take Manufacturing’s Loss Seriously?

Can the future be built in America? Business Week asks this question in an enlightening article this week -- and the answer is, "It depends." If we can't maintain our lead in large-scale high-tech manufacturing, don't expect future generations of Americans to experience anything close to the living standards that recent generations have enjoyed. The evidence for this is so clear it's irresponsible for policymakers to ignore it. Study after study has linked a vibrant manufacturing Read more [...]