Chemical & Engineering News: “Eco-friendly,” touts the tag hanging from an insulated lunch tote.

“Environment-friendly,” reads the label on a household cleaner. Yet exactly what these green marketing claims mean isn’t clear to consumers, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Now, FTC, the federal agency tasked with ferreting out unfair or deceptive advertising, is putting pressure on companies to drop overly broad environmental claims. This includes such phrases as environmentally friendly and eco-friendly.“Such claims are likely to suggest that the product has specific and far-reaching environmental benefits,” says an FTC proposal issued earlier this month. “Very few products, if any, have all the attributes consumers seem to perceive from such claims, making these claims nearly impossible to substantiate.” More . . .

New Haven Register: Eco group finds outdoor furnaces a major hazard in Conn.

Environment and Human Health Inc.’s latest study claims that outdoor wood furnaces are unsafe, and are filling the lungs of neighbors with the same toxins as cigarette smoke, including the carcinogens benzene and formaldehyde. * * * The study showed that a house 100 feet from an outdoor wood furnace had 14 times the levels of particulate matter as houses not near an outdoor wood furnace and nine times the levels of the federal Environmental Protection Agency air standards. A house as far away as 850 feet from an outdoor wood furnace had six times the levels of particulate matter as the houses not near an outdoor wood furnace and four times EPA air standards. People who have described their symptoms to EHHI say they wake up at night with coughing, headaches, inability to catch their breath, continual sore throats, bronchitis and colds. Levels of particulate matter that exceed the EPA standards are associated with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease attacks and hospitalizations, and are also associated with increased risk of cardiac attacks, Brown said. “We are particularly concerned about wood boilers because of the carcinogens and fine particulate matter much like tobacco smoke, that lodges deep into the lungs,” said Dawn Mays-Hardy, director of health promotion for the American Lung Association, New England. “We think the risks are such that such devices should not be allowed,” said David R. Brown, a public health toxicologist from Westport. More . . .

USA Today: High levels of BPA cause sperm problems, study finds.

For the first time, a study in humans suggests that a controversial, estrogen-like chemical in plastic may be related to conditions that reduce men’s fertility. Men with higher levels of BPA, or bisphenol A, were two to four times more likely than others to have problems with sperm quality and quantity, the study shows. . . . [M]en with high levels of BPA in urine and semen were more likely to have fewer sperm overall, fewer live sperm and poor semen quality. Their sperm also had more problems swimming, according to a study of 514 Chinese workers . . . . More . . .

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