Looking back, as good as what you know

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Tried the free media offered by wordpress. I still feel that I am not ready for http://www.ecomaray.org or http://www.ecomaray.com or whatever, I’m simply happy getting this blog going and not really making money out of it.  So I chose a woodworker. Not in the biblical or religious sense where it is widely known that Jesus and his father Joseph are wood workers in terms of occupation.  But I need as much spiritual advise as I go through my day to day challenges.

Currently, I’m employed on a project basis as a senior advisor or commonly known as a technical consultant for GIZ, a German  development organization for a couple of projects funded by the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). Though my project is on climate change policy, health and safety has been very much highlighted in our work in the Philippines. I, for one have been working more on safety than in health.  To compensate, I am taking occupational health courses as the University of the Philippines in Manila, slowly  I will get another masters degree in a couple of years. I really just want to enjoy myself and learn, because sometimes its very difficult to to connect theory and practice.

It has been truly helpful to know something technical about health given the pressures of some corporate and political entities that have been trying to a put a stop on our efforts and using safety and health as a reason to delay low carbon technologies.  However, the additional knowledge on the chronic toxicity impacts of conventional chemicals I learned from occupational health has been very helpful in establishing a concrete basis for justifying the safety of low emission alternatives, strangely.

Yesterday, we had a session on occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS), strangely I was in a position different from my classmates, I used to be an auditor. Of course, as much as possible, I have to keep quiet, but I just remembered one unforgettable case in my HSE auditing where I saw a problem but could not report, why? I do not think no one in the audit team is competent enough to establish an issue concretely with adequate scientific and legal basis, even I questioned my level of knowledge to point out a problem with medical complexity.

Here is the case, wood dust is a known human carcinogen, backed up with robust epidemiological data that establishes a link with nasopharyngeal cancer  among woodworkers. I know people who have suffered and died from it, Saint Ezekiel Moreno, our town’s  parish priest at the turn of the 19th century (OK!) or Saint Joseph, father of Jesus.  Wow, retrospective cohorts!

A couple years back, I have seen case reports in an HSE audit in a furniture factory commissioned by a multilateral financial development agency.  Seven cases of nasal, nasopharyngeal and lung cancers with nasal malignancies of workers who have worked from 10 to 20 years in the company.  So what do I do? None, I will only be called a weirdo by my audit teammates who have mediocre knowledge on occupational epidemiology, remove it from my notes and move on. It was a highly frustrating situation. It was only yesterday when I remembered it.  I am more than that, thank you Lord!

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Filed under Career Notes, Environmental Management System, Quality, Health, Safety & Environment, Random, Sustainability

Eureka Moment while in a Toxic Daze

Its Good Friday and in my free time, I was curious enough to read a copy of Casarett & Doull’s Toxicology.  Me, reading a medical, pharmacological book (purposively bad grammar)? Because it will soon be a requirement next semester when I take up Industrial Toxicology. I am even thinking twice about taking the course due to the expected workload in C4 because like Epidemiology 201, it will take significant amount of effort to reach a marginal grade. As much as possible, I would like to approach the upcoming challenge with some degree of preparation and take a mindset of hands-on application and experience which I have gained over some years of audit experience and of course the current task on working for C4.  It is just a matter of managing your time and the response of your brain to the load of information yet to come.

It is hard not put advocacy in the picture but things have become way too deep beyond the usual scope of climate policy, which I also think is too broad.  Toxicology is similarly a very broad science and will require a certain level of specialization, and I think such specialization will also be required in working on climate change.  I am very thankful that I am given an opportunity to use  chemical management in climate policy while working in C4, I tried to make that connection as early as possible, linking RA6969, the Philippine counterpart to the US EPA Superfund to a possible legal basis for a local F-gas control policy. Having some toxicology background may be of help in assisting the DENR in a future regulation through a chemical control order.

There is also a greater understanding that people generally value health impacts more than environmental impacts. It will take a while before impacts to the climate may be felt while losing a love one due to a toxic response is far more painful and can provide more value and importance.  Safety is not only about flammability,  but toxicity from acute to chronic may be of far more importance.

 

 

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Filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, Environmental Management System, Greenwash, Pollution Control, Quality, Health, Safety & Environment, Random

Basking on the glow wire…safety testing to mitigate climate change

My mind is overloaded at the moment, completing reports and documentation of past activities for 2017. I welcome 2018 with a lot more things to do, including a pending proposal on a laboratory safety test that is currently  glowing the wires in my brain cells.

The goal is to reduce cost while providing an empirical basis for a risk assessment of low GWP refrigerant alternatives. I need to do more research to prove out a point.  We can always use review of literature from secondary data but that defeats the point of local capacity development in support of local policy and regulation. Maybe this is way below my priority list, as exciting as it may look.

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, GHG Mitigation Effort, Quality, Health, Safety & Environment, Sustainability

Consensus is explosive

I strongly believe in the Globally Harmonized System (GHS)  as a means of Hazard Communication to properly inform consumers and end users of the hazards related to the chemicals they use.

ALL chemicals are toxic and hazardous depending on the concentration, the condition it is used and the acts of the end user towards that chemical. Water whose chemical name is H2O has claimed lives through its volume or have drowned persons and damaged properties.

I went back to graduate school in 2016 to study occupational health and industrial hygiene to know more, because I find my skill on OHSAS 18001 too shallow. It is my own intent and my own effort to do so and not a corporate interest  or regulatory requirement.  Being involved in climate change mitigation particularly F-gas control was an added bonus and I have started to love what I do,  until I have to work on my indicator on standards development for low GWP refrigerants for my own country.

IEC 60335-2-24 was easy, no complications, HFC 134a is generally expected to be replaced by HC 600a, extremely low GWP, no ODP, unpatented, natural but then… IEC 60335-2-40 came with the extremely influential global chemical companies even, supported by some development organizations.

Latest J7 pro 610Patents are at stake for Methylene fluoride, Hydrofluorolefins, and other synthetically developed substances and alternatives. I didn’t expect that it would come to this point that changes in a specific hazard symbol are proposed, overtaking and disregarding the GHS.  All chemicals are hazardous regardless of its flammability.  Remember flammability is not the only concern and that speck of light is not part of the globally accepted symbols for hazard communication. ghs-pictograms2-700x694 It was proposed that work on the specific product comes first before work on the globally harmonized system? Because another standard had mentioned, the product standard would be the utmost priority over vertical standards. Or is it a means to mask the actual hazard of a substance.  This is totally unacceptable, Yet we are being forced by corporate interests to be in unsafe conditions and perform unsafe acts by downgrading hazard communication symbols to stupidity.

 

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, GHG Mitigation Effort, Quality, Health, Safety & Environment, Sustainability

Colder Greenwash!

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I love writing about greenwashing, but I really really hate the fact that its happening in the Philippines. Been doing this since 2009 and not much progress, I guess.  Ecolabeling is purely voluntary but greenwashing is rampant everywhere, it makes me cringe. I wish I could do something about it in my own little way which is to inform consumers, but my personal resources are so limited.

I would just like to highlight the fact that this sticker’s claim that it is environment-friendly is a blatant lie.  Upon examination of the refrigerating equipment nameplate, the refrigerant used is HFC-134a, a climate damaging hydrofluorocarbon with global warming potential that is 1,300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The ozone depletion potential may have been addressed but this equipment is causing Global Warming!

What could be the coldest greenwash, I will encounter soon?

 

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Management System, GHG Mitigation Effort, Greenwash, Pollution Control, Sustainability

Thank you for welcoming me to your world

 

After all these years working in conformity assessment, I finally had the time to get to know IEC in the Philippines. Thank you for the welcome, it was nice to see how these things work, I totally appreciate your support. It makes the work a lot easier given your passion and drive.  With the significance of IEC standards in refrigeration and air conditioning energy performance and safety and  add those other electrical and electronic equipment I encounter daily, I could not help but think what makes something I use safe and efficient, moreover mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

The 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recognizes that the adoption of standards can provide an effective framework for undertaking climate change mitigation. Though the work was not really focused on climate change but on safety and efficiency of new and emerging technologies in electrical and electronic equipment and systems, the work does have concrete emission reduction potential.

Though the potential to  mitigate GHG emissions was not the intent, slowly these guys recognize the significance of the Paris Agreements and how the energy sector is now relying on improved energy efficiency as a major climate action to meet the goals in the Nationally Determined Contributions.

As of now…there’s more work to do.

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Filed under Career Notes, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, GHG Mitigation Effort, Greenwash, Pollution Control, Quality, Health, Safety & Environment, Sustainability

How do you know if industry is ready?

Reposting this video from UNIDO, not really working for UNIDO at the moment but working on a project related to the Kigali Amendments of the Montreal Protocol. Ozone depletion has been one of the most complicated international agreement next to the climate change agreements. But the Montreal Protocol would always remind everyone that it is one of the most successful international environmental agreements ever…

In studying environmental economics…oh my God 20 years ago, we would match the city in which the global agreement was signed with the corresponding environmental requirement:

Montreal —> Ozone Depleting Substances

Stockhom—> ?

Rotterdam—>

Basel—>

Cartagena —>

Who cares?

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