The South African Competition Commission has approved the sale of Unilever South Africa's spreads business to Robertsons, with the condition that ULSA is liable for any fine handed down post-merger related to collusion with Sime Darby Hudson Knight. The commission is seeking to impose a penalty on ULSA equal to 10% of its annual turnover for conspiring to reduce competition in the edible oil market.
China has announced plans to impose a 25% tariff on certain US imports, including soybeans, beginning July 6. The US sold $14 billion worth of soybeans to China last year, as the country depends on soybean meal to sustain its pork industry.
The authors of a 2013 study in the New England Journal of Medicine have retracted their research linking the Mediterranean diet to a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke and have issued a revision. Pointing to "irregularities in the randomization procedures," the authors have re-analyzed the data but say the issue only affected 10% of the study's 7,447 participants and stand by their conclusions that a diet rich in olive oil and nuts can decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke by about 30% in high-risk individuals.
Ohio is a leader in plastics production, and an estimated $36 billion in new projects is expected in the state and surrounding areas through 2023, says the American Chemistry Council's Kevin Swift. "The Utica and Marcellus shale gas basins are very rich in natural gas liquids, the feedstock, the raw material, for plastics and petrochemical manufacturing," he says.
China Energy Investment has delayed its investment plans for West Virginia, citing trade disputes between the US and China.
Ongoing education, high standards for equipment maintenance and hourly limits on the operation of heavy machinery can help chemical plant operators minimize workplace hazards, writes Megan Ray Nichols. "Think about ways to make your communication channels and means of contacting help as redundant as possible, so nobody ever finds themselves out of range or earshot should the worst happen," she writes.
The Environmental Protection Agency is facing ongoing deadlines as part of implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act and an increase in its chemical-evaluation workload even as litigants challenge the three TSCA framework rules. "We have every expectation that it will continue to meet its deadlines," says the American Chemistry Council's Michael Walls.
Aging water infrastructure needs to be improved, but many state and local governments don't allow open competition when it comes to the materials available in water pipe construction, says Michael Power of the American Chemistry Council. A better system would be to base bidding on the performance specifications of a local engineer but without restrictions on the type of materials that can compete, he says.
The Accurate Labels Act, which has been introduced in Congress, would amend federal rules on product labeling and replace a system that "imposes unnecessary and costly regulatory burdens for producers," said co-sponsor Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. State and local governments can enact stricter rules, "but they need to show their work and demonstrate there is sound science behind it," said Claire Parker of the Coalition for Accurate Product Labels.
Chemists and companies such as Agilyx are working on ways to recycle thermosets, thermoplastics and other polymers. Chemists at Tel Aviv University and the University of Western Ontario are working on self-immolative polymers that would remain unstable and could be depolymerized.
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