saco-indonesia.com, Apabila sekarang ini mayoritas perangkat mobile telah menggunakan produk dari Corning yaitu Gorilla Glass, ada pula rumor bahwa akan dibuatnya layar berbahan safir. Kali ini muncul berita serupa yaitu layar berbahan kulit kerang.
Para peneliti dari McGill University, Kanada, ingin mencoba mengembangkan sebuah layar yang tahan banting dan benturan. Para peneliti tersebut telah terinspirasi dari kekuatan kerang.
Dikutip dari Cnet (30/01), para peneliti tersebut juga menjelaskan, "Kerang moluska telah memiliki lapisan luar yang boleh terbilang rapuh, namun apabila jika dibandingkan dengan bagian dalamnya, maka sangat berbeda, karena sangat kuat."
Oleh karena itu, para peneliti yang telah dipimpin oleh Profesor Francois Barthelat itu ingin mencoba meneliti dan meniru lapisan demi lapisan termasuk juga jaringan yang terdapat pada kerang untuk dapat diaplikasikan ke sebuah layar anti-bentur.
Barthelat juga berharap nantinya apabila penelitian yang dia lakukan bersama tim-nya itu akan berhasil, maka tidak hanya di perangkat mobile saja , penemuannya itu dapat juga digunakan di banyak hal.
LAYAR SMARTPHONE TERKUAT SEDANG DALAM PROSES PENGEMBANGAN
Editor : Dian Sukmawati
Penggunaan jasa kirim barang berupa paket meningkat selama bulan Ramadan, dan salah satu perusahaan jasa itu adalah Jalur Nugraha Eka Kurir (JNE) cabang Sabang Bussiness Center, Jakarta, telah mengalami peningkatan pengiriman hingga dua kali lipat.
"Jika dibandingkan dengan hari biasa, permintaan kirim barang selama bulan Ramadan ini sudah naik hingga dua kali lipat," kata salah seorang petugas JNE.
Uniknya, jenis barang-barang yang paling sering dikirim selama bulan Ramadan berbeda dari jenis barang-barang yang dikirim pada hari biasa, misalnya makanan, pakaian dan parsel.
Kebanyakan barang tersebut dikirim dari Jakarta ke kota-kota besar seperti Palembang, Medan, Surabaya, serta antar-wilayah di Jakarta. "Pengiriman paling banyak tercatat ditujukan ke Pulau Sumatera," kata Mei.
Namun dengan banyaknya permintaan kirim barang, perusahaan jasa itu tak luput dari kesulitan; salah satu kendala yang dialami adalah keterlambatan dalam proses pengiriman sehingga barang akan terlambat diterima oleh penerima.
"Terutama jika barang dikirim mendekati lebaran. Saat itu arus kirim barang sedang sibuk dan penuh. Barang bisa telat dikirim, namun kami berusaha agar telatnya tidak terlalu lama. Maksimal telat satu hari," ujar Mei.
Setelah Lebaran, diperkirakan arus pengiriman barang akan kembali normal dan stabil seperti pada hari-hari biasa.JASA PENGIRIMAN BARANG NAIK 2 KALI LIPAT
POSO, Saco-Indonesia.com — Kepolisian masih melakukan olah tempat kejadian perkara (TKP) di Mapolres Poso, Sulawesi Tengah, Senin (3/6/2013) pagi, setelah meledaknya sebuah bom yang diduga dilakukan seorang pengendara sepeda motor. Berdasarkan laporan kontributor KompasTV, Manshur Tobone, pelaku mengendarai motor seorang diri.
Sebelum memasuki halaman Mapolres, pelaku sempat ditahan penjaga. Namun, pelaku memaksa masuk dan menerobos pintu penjagaan Mapolres. Tak lama, ia meledakkan bom tepat di depan mushala Mapolres. Kemudian pelaku tewas di lokasi.
Sementara itu, dalam wawancara dengan KompasTV, Kepala Biro Penerangan Masyarakat Mabes Polri Brigjen (Pol) Boy Rafli Amar mengungkapkan, kepolisian masih mengidentifikasi pelaku.
"Proses olah TKP sedang berjalan untuk mengidentifikasi pelaku yang rusak berat. Perlu dicari tahu siapa pemuda ini," ujarnya.
Mengenai motif, Boy mengatakan, dengan pola yang dilakukan, motif diduga karena masalah teror. "Motif sedang didalami dan diselidiki lebih lanjut," kata Boy.
Ia mengungkapkan, saat ini polisi sudah mengantongi data-data dari kelompok yang diduga melakukan pengeboman.
Sako-Indonesia.com - Memasuki usia remaja, anak biasanya akan fokus pada keinginan untuk diterima dalam pergaulannya. Pada masa-masa itu, anak menjadi kurang dekat dengan orangtua, karena sibuk dengan dunia mereka sendiri. Untuk urusan percintaan, biasanya mereka juga akan menyembunyikannya dari orangtuanya.
Hal utama yang harus Anda lakukan dalam menghadapi masa remaja anak yang mulai sering sembunyi-sembunyi, adalah tidak membuat anak parno dengan ucapan-ucapan yang menakuti. Misalnya ketika melihat sang anak menyembunyikan sesuatu di gadget-nya, Anda langsung menginterograsi atau menakut-nakuti anak untuk mencegahnya melakukan hal tersebut.
"Cara seperti itu justru tidak bagus, karena bukan membuat anak dekat dengan Anda, justru membuatnya menjauh," ujar psikolog keluarga Roslina Verauli, MPsi, saat media sharing bersama Intel di Bistronomy, Jakarta, Selasa (30/4/2013) lalu.
Roslina pun menjabarkan beberapa langkah untuk menciptakan hubungan mesra dengan si remaja, agar mereka lebih terbuka dengan Anda:
* Lakukan proses pendekatan dengan anak, sama seperti Anda sedang pendekatan
dengan pacar dahulu.
* Duduklah bersama anak di sebelahnya untuk menciptakan komunikasi hangat dengan anak. Kedekatan fisik akan menciptakan keintiman pada anak yang akan membuatnya terbuka pada Anda.
* Ketika komunikasi antara Anda berdua sudah baik, lalu bersiaplah untuk menjadi pendengar. Ketika anak sudah merasa nyaman, ia akan bercerita pada Anda dengan sendirinya. Banyak-banyaklah bertanya pada anak mengenai teman-temannya, dan hal-hal yang disuka dan tidak disukainya, tanpa memberi penilaian lebih dulu. Dengan demikian anak tahu bahwa orangtuanya mau mendengarkan.
Cara Diet Sehat dan Alami - Bukan telah menjadi rahasia lagi jika kebanyakan wanita pasti selalu ingin tampil sempurna dengan tubuh yang ramping semampai demi untuk kepuasan pribadi ataupun untuk menyenangkan pasangan. Oleh karena itu, banyak wanita rela mati-matian melakukan diet, bahkan banyak yang rela mengeluarkan kocek dalam-dalam hanya untuk bisa mendapatkan bentuk tubuh yang diinginkan. Tetapi jangan sampai obsesi itu membuat Anda melupakan cara diet sehat yang aman bagi tubuh. Obat-obatan pengurus mungkin bekerja secara instant untuk menguruskan tubuh anda, namun bahaya jangka panjangnya sangat mengerikan.
Diet Sehat dan Alami
Bagaimana pun juga, memilih cara diet alami akan lebih baik daripada melakukan hal-hal yang dapat membahayakan kesehatan untuk mendapatkan bentuk tubuh idaman secara instant. Sebenarnya ada beberapa pilihan bagi Anda untuk bisa mendapatkan tubuh ramping seperti yang diinginkan. Pilihan itu misalnya operasi sedot lemak, mengonsumsi obat-obatan pelangsing tubuh, atau mengoleskan krim yang dikatakan dapat melunturkan lemak di kulit.
Fenomena ini juga dapat menyebabkan banyak berdirinya klinik-klinik penurunan berat badan, terutama di kota-kota besar. Tapi tentunya ada juga klinik pelangsingan yang menawarkan program diet sehat secara alami. Sebaiknya anda mengumpulkan informasi sebanyak-banyaknya tentang berbagai efek samping yang mungkin terjadi, sebelum Anda memutuskan untuk memilih salah satu terapi untuk melangsingkan tubuh.
Tips Diet secara Sehat dan Alami
Memiliki tubuh langsing tanpa mengeluarkan uang terlalu banyak, tanpa sakit atau tersiksa karena lapar, masih dapat Anda lakukan cara diet alami. Berikut adalah beberapa hal yang dapat anda lakukan.
Tetaplah makan tiga kali secara teratur setiap hari. Terlambat makan akan dapat membuat Anda kelaparan dan makan dalam porsi banyak pada satu waktu. Dengan makan teratur, asupan makanan yang Anda konsumsi akan lebih teratur pula.
Makanlah di meja makan dan kunyahlah hidangan secara perlahan sehingga Anda sadar berapa jumlah kalori yang masuk ke tubuh Anda. Makan sambil nonton televisi atau main game hanya akan membuat Anda makan lebih banyak karena berkonsentrasi pada tayangan yang Anda lihat, bukan pada makanan yang anda konsumsi.
Jangan membiasakan diri makan malam atau ngemil mendekati jam tidur. Kebiasaan ini bisa menyebabkan berat badan Anda naik, dan Anda akan bangun dalam keadaan kelelahan karena pada waktu tidur, organ pencernaan masih harus bekerja mengolah makanan yang baru saja Anda santap.
Tambahkan teh hijau dan susu kedelai pada menu makanan Anda, karena teh hijau dipercaya dapat meluruhkan lemak dan kolesterol, sedangkan susu kedelai juga dapat memenuhi kebutuhan protein. Susu kedelai lebih sehat karena tidak mengandung kolesterol seperti susu hewan.
Tubuh membutuhkan karbohidrat sebagai sumber energi, tetapi konsumsi karbohidrat yang berlebihan, terutama karbohidrat olahan seperti nasi putih dan roti putih dapat menyebabkan kegemukan. Sebaiknya Anda mengganti konsumsi nasi putih dan roti dengan nasi merah dan roti gandum.
Gantilah kebiasaan ngemil dengan memperbanyak makan sayur dan buah. Anda akan merasa kenyang lebih lama, dan kebutuhan vitamin serta mineral Anda bisa terpenuhi.
Terakhir, untuk melengkapi program diet sehat dengan cara diet alami, luangkan waktu untuk berolah raga. Olah raga secara teratur juga dapat membantu mempercepat pembakaran kalori dalam tubuh Anda. Selain itu, olah raga dapat membantu menghilangkan stres dan membuat tubuh Anda lebih bugar.
Nah, mudah bukan menerapkan cara diet sehat dan alami? Diet dengan cara seperti ini memang tidak akan menunjukkan hasil secara instan. Namun, jika dijalankan dengan disiplin dan berkelanjutan, anda akan mendapatkan tubuh yang ideal tanpa efek samping. karena kebutuhan gizi anda masih tetap terpenuhi.
CARA DIET SEHAT DAN ALAMI
Pronovost, who played for the Red Wings, was not a prolific scorer, but he was a consummate team player with bruising checks and fearless bursts up the ice that could puncture a defense.Marcel Pronovost, 84, Dies; Hall of Famer Shared in Five N.H.L. Titles
“It was really nice to play with other women and not have this underlying tone of being at each other’s throats.”ay 4, 2015 â€˜Game of Thronesâ€™ Q&A: Keisha Castle-Hughes on the Tao of the Sand Snakes
Baltimore residents prepared to resume the more familiar rhythms of their lives as days passed without new bouts of widespread rioting and as the National Guard began to pull its troops from the city.In Baltimore, National Guard Pullout Begins as Citywide Curfew Is Lifted
Mr. Paczynski was one of the concentration camp’s longest surviving inmates and served as the personal barber to its Nazi commandant Rudolf Höss.Jozef Paczynski, Inmate Barber to Auschwitz Commandant, Dies at 95
Judge Patterson helped to protect the rights of Attica inmates after the prison riot in 1971 and later served on the Federal District Court in Manhattan.Robert Patterson Jr., Lawyer and Judge Who Fought for the Accused, Dies at 91
Mr. Napoleon was a self-taught musician whose career began in earnest with the orchestra led by Chico Marx of the Marx Brothers.Marty Napoleon, 93, Dies; Jazz Pianist Played With Louis Armstrong
Mr. Goldberg was a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist who was married to Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook.
The magical quality Mr. Lesnie created in shooting the “Babe” films caught the eye of the director Peter Jackson, who chose him to film the fantasy epic.Andrew Lesnie, Cinematographer of â€˜Lord of the Rings,â€™ Dies at 59
As he reflected on the festering wounds deepened by race and grievance that have been on painful display in America’s cities lately, President Obama on Monday found himself thinking about a young man he had just met named Malachi.
A few minutes before, in a closed-door round-table discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Obama had asked a group of black and Hispanic students from disadvantaged backgrounds what could be done to help them reach their goals. Several talked about counseling and guidance programs.
“Malachi, he just talked about — we should talk about love,” Mr. Obama told a crowd afterward, drifting away from his prepared remarks. “Because Malachi and I shared the fact that our dad wasn’t around and that sometimes we wondered why he wasn’t around and what had happened. But really, that’s what this comes down to is: Do we love these kids?”
Many presidents have governed during times of racial tension, but Mr. Obama is the first to see in the mirror a face that looks like those on the other side of history’s ledger. While his first term was consumed with the economy, war and health care, his second keeps coming back to the societal divide that was not bridged by his election. A president who eschewed focusing on race now seems to have found his voice again as he thinks about how to use his remaining time in office and beyond.
In the aftermath of racially charged unrest in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., and New York, Mr. Obama came to the Bronx on Monday for the announcement of a new nonprofit organization that is being spun off from his White House initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. Staked by more than $80 million in commitments from corporations and other donors, the new group, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, will in effect provide the nucleus for Mr. Obama’s post-presidency, which will begin in January 2017.
“This will remain a mission for me and for Michelle not just for the rest of my presidency but for the rest of my life,” Mr. Obama said. “And the reason is simple,” he added. Referring to some of the youths he had just met, he said: “We see ourselves in these young men. I grew up without a dad. I grew up lost sometimes and adrift, not having a sense of a clear path. The only difference between me and a lot of other young men in this neighborhood and all across the country is that I grew up in an environment that was a little more forgiving.”
Organizers said the new alliance already had financial pledges from companies like American Express, Deloitte, Discovery Communications and News Corporation. The money will be used to help companies address obstacles facing young black and Hispanic men, provide grants to programs for disadvantaged youths, and help communities aid their populations.
Joe Echevarria, a former chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, will lead the alliance, and among those on its leadership team or advisory group are executives at PepsiCo, News Corporation, Sprint, BET and Prudential Group Insurance; former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey; former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; the music star John Legend; the retired athletes Alonzo Mourning, Jerome Bettis and Shaquille O’Neal; and the mayors of Indianapolis, Sacramento and Philadelphia.
The alliance, while nominally independent of the White House, may face some of the same questions confronting former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins another presidential campaign. Some of those donating to the alliance may have interests in government action, and skeptics may wonder whether they are trying to curry favor with the president by contributing.
“The Obama administration will have no role in deciding how donations are screened and what criteria they’ll set at the alliance for donor policies, because it’s an entirely separate entity,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One en route to New York. But he added, “I’m confident that the members of the board are well aware of the president’s commitment to transparency.”
The alliance was in the works before the disturbances last week after the death of Freddie Gray, the black man who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody in Baltimore, but it reflected the evolution of Mr. Obama’s presidency. For him, in a way, it is coming back to issues that animated him as a young community organizer and politician. It was his own struggle with race and identity, captured in his youthful memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” that stood him apart from other presidential aspirants.
But that was a side of him that he kept largely to himself through the first years of his presidency while he focused on other priorities like turning the economy around, expanding government-subsidized health care and avoiding electoral land mines en route to re-election.
After securing a second term, Mr. Obama appeared more emboldened. Just a month after his 2013 inauguration, he talked passionately about opportunity and race with a group of teenage boys in Chicago, a moment aides point to as perhaps the first time he had spoken about these issues in such a personal, powerful way as president. A few months later, he publicly lamented the death of Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teenager, saying that “could have been me 35 years ago.”
That case, along with public ruptures of anger over police shootings in Ferguson and elsewhere, have pushed the issue of race and law enforcement onto the public agenda. Aides said they imagined that with his presidency in its final stages, Mr. Obama might be thinking more about what comes next and causes he can advance as a private citizen.
That is not to say that his public discussion of these issues has been universally welcomed. Some conservatives said he had made matters worse by seeming in their view to blame police officers in some of the disputed cases.
“President Obama, when he was elected, could have been a unifying leader,” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican candidate for president, said at a forum last week. “He has made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions.”
On the other side of the ideological spectrum, some liberal African-American activists have complained that Mr. Obama has not done enough to help downtrodden communities. While he is speaking out more, these critics argue, he has hardly used the power of the presidency to make the sort of radical change they say is necessary.
The line Mr. Obama has tried to straddle has been a serrated one. He condemns police brutality as he defends most officers as honorable. He condemns “criminals and thugs” who looted in Baltimore while expressing empathy with those trapped in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness.
In the Bronx on Monday, Mr. Obama bemoaned the death of Brian Moore, a plainclothes New York police officer who had died earlier in the day after being shot in the head Saturday on a Queens street. Most police officers are “good and honest and fair and care deeply about their communities,” even as they put their lives on the line, Mr. Obama said.
“Which is why in addressing the issues in Baltimore or Ferguson or New York, the point I made was that if we’re just looking at policing, we’re looking at it too narrowly,” he added. “If we ask the police to simply contain and control problems that we ourselves have been unwilling to invest and solve, that’s not fair to the communities, it’s not fair to the police.”
Moreover, if society writes off some people, he said, “that’s not the kind of country I want to live in; that’s not what America is about.”
His message to young men like Malachi Hernandez, who attends Boston Latin Academy in Massachusetts, is not to give up.
“I want you to know you matter,” he said. “You matter to us.”Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues
At the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Suzman’s signature accomplishment was the central role he played in creating a global network of surveys on aging.Richard Suzman, 72, Dies; Researcher Influenced Global Surveys on Aging
Ms. Rendell was a prolific writer of intricately plotted mystery novels that combined psychological insight, social conscience and teeth-chattering terror.Ruth Rendell, Novelist Who Thrilled and Educated, Dies at 85
The 2015 Met Gala has only officially begun, but there's a clear leader in the race for best couple, no small feat at an event that threatens to sap Hollywood of every celebrity it has for the duration of an East Coast evening.
That would be Marc Jacobs and his surprise guest (who, by some miracle, remained under wraps until their red carpet debut), Cher.
“This has been a dream of mine for a very, very long time,” Mr. Jacobs said.
It is Cher's first appearance at the Met Gala since 1997, when she arrived on the arm of Donatella Versace.
– MATTHEW SCHNEIER
BALTIMORE — In the afternoons, the streets of Locust Point are clean and nearly silent. In front of the rowhouses, potted plants rest next to steps of brick or concrete. There is a shopping center nearby with restaurants, and a grocery store filled with fresh foods.
And the National Guard and the police are largely absent. So, too, residents say, are worries about what happened a few miles away on April 27 when, in a space of hours, parts of this city became riot zones.
“They’re not our reality,” Ashley Fowler, 30, said on Monday at the restaurant where she works. “They’re not what we’re living right now. We live in, not to be racist, white America.”
As Baltimore considers its way forward after the violent unrest brought by the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of injuries he suffered while in police custody, residents in its predominantly white neighborhoods acknowledge that they are sometimes struggling to understand what beyond Mr. Gray’s death spurred the turmoil here. For many, the poverty and troubled schools of gritty West Baltimore are distant troubles, glimpsed only when they pass through the area on their way somewhere else.
And so neighborhoods of Baltimore are facing altogether different reckonings after Mr. Gray’s death. In mostly black communities like Sandtown-Winchester, where some of the most destructive rioting played out last week, residents are hoping businesses will reopen and that the police will change their strategies. But in mostly white areas like Canton and Locust Point, some residents wonder what role, if any, they should play in reimagining stretches of Baltimore where they do not live.
“Most of the people are kind of at a loss as to what they’re supposed to do,” said Dr. Richard Lamb, a dentist who has practiced in the same Locust Point office for nearly 39 years. “I listen to the news reports. I listen to the clergymen. I listen to the facts of the rampant unemployment and the lack of opportunities in the area. Listen, I pay my taxes. Exactly what can I do?”
And in Canton, where the restaurants have clever names like Nacho Mama’s and Holy Crepe Bakery and Café, Sara Bahr said solutions seemed out of reach for a proudly liberal city.
“I can only imagine how frustrated they must be,” said Ms. Bahr, 36, a nurse who was out with her 3-year-old daughter, Sally. “I just wish I knew how to solve poverty. I don’t know what to do to make it better.”
The day of unrest and the overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations that followed led to hundreds of arrests, often for violations of the curfew imposed on the city for five consecutive nights while National Guard soldiers patrolled the streets. Although there were isolated instances of trouble in Canton, the neighborhood association said on its website, many parts of southeast Baltimore were physically untouched by the tumult.
Tensions in the city bubbled anew on Monday after reports that the police had wounded a black man in Northwest Baltimore. The authorities denied those reports and sent officers to talk with the crowds that gathered while other officers clutching shields blocked traffic at Pennsylvania and West North Avenues.
Lt. Col. Melvin Russell, a community police officer, said officers had stopped a man suspected of carrying a handgun and that “one of those rounds was spent.”
Colonel Russell said officers had not opened fire, “so we couldn’t have shot him.”
The colonel said the man had not been injured but was taken to a hospital as a precaution. Nearby, many people stood in disbelief, despite the efforts by the authorities to quash reports they described as “unfounded.”
Monday’s episode was a brief moment in a larger drama that has yielded anger and confusion. Although many people said they were familiar with accounts of the police harassing or intimidating residents, many in Canton and Locust Point said they had never experienced it themselves. When they watched the unrest, which many protesters said was fueled by feelings that they lived only on Baltimore’s margins, even those like Ms. Bahr who were pained by what they saw said they could scarcely comprehend the emotions associated with it.
But others, like Lambi Vasilakopoulos, who runs a casual restaurant in Canton, said they were incensed by what unfolded last week.
“What happened wasn’t called for. Protests are one thing; looting is another thing,” he said, adding, “We’re very frustrated because we’re the ones who are going to pay for this.”
There were pockets of optimism, though, that Baltimore would enter a period of reconciliation.
“I’m just hoping for peace,” Natalie Boies, 53, said in front of the Locust Point home where she has lived for 50 years. “Learn to love each other; be patient with each other; find justice; and care.”
A skeptical Mr. Vasilakopoulos predicted tensions would worsen.
“It cannot be fixed,” he said. “It’s going to get worse. Why? Because people don’t obey the laws. They don’t want to obey them.”
But there were few fears that the violence that plagued West Baltimore last week would play out on these relaxed streets. The authorities, Ms. Fowler said, would make sure of that.
“They kept us safe here,” she said. “I didn’t feel uncomfortable when I was in my house three blocks away from here. I knew I was going to be O.K. because I knew they weren’t going to let anyone come and loot our properties or our businesses or burn our cars.”Baltimore Residents Away From Turmoil Consider Their Role
The 6-foot-10 Phillips played alongside the 6-11 Rick Robey on the Wildcats team that won the 1978 N.C.A.A. men’s basketball title.Mike Phillips, Half of Kentuckyâ€™s â€˜Twin Towersâ€™ of Basketball, Dies at 59
WASHINGTON — A decade after emergency trailers meant to shelter Hurricane Katrina victims instead caused burning eyes, sore throats and other more serious ailments, the Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of regulating the culprit: formaldehyde, a chemical that can be found in commonplace things like clothes and furniture.
But an unusual assortment of players, including furniture makers, the Chinese government, Republicans from states with a large base of furniture manufacturing and even some Democrats who championed early regulatory efforts, have questioned the E.P.A. proposal. The sustained opposition has held sway, as the agency is now preparing to ease key testing requirements before it releases the landmark federal health standard.
The E.P.A.’s five-year effort to adopt this rule offers another example of how industry opposition can delay and hamper attempts by the federal government to issue regulations, even to control substances known to be harmful to human health.
The E.P.A.’s decision would be the first time that the federal government has regulated formaldehyde inside most American homes.
“The stakes are high for public health,” said Tom Neltner, senior adviser for regulatory affairs at the National Center for Healthy Housing, who has closely monitored the debate over the rules. “What we can’t have here is an outcome that fails to confront the health threat we all know exists.”
The proposal would not ban formaldehyde — commonly used as an ingredient in wood glue in furniture and flooring — but it would impose rules that prevent dangerous levels of the chemical’s vapors from those products, and would set testing standards to ensure that products sold in the United States comply with those limits. The debate has sharpened in the face of growing concern about the safety of formaldehyde-treated flooring imported from Asia, especially China.
What is certain is that a lot of money is at stake: American companies sell billions of dollars’ worth of wood products each year that contain formaldehyde, and some argue that the proposed regulation would impose unfair costs and restrictions.
Determined to block the agency’s rule as proposed, these industry players have turned to the White House, members of Congress and top E.P.A. officials, pressing them to roll back the testing requirements in particular, calling them redundant and too expensive.
“There are potentially over a million manufacturing jobs that will be impacted if the proposed rule is finalized without changes,” wrote Bill Perdue, the chief lobbyist at the American Home Furnishings Alliance, a leading critic of the testing requirements in the proposed regulation, in one letter to the E.P.A.
Industry opposition helped create an odd alignment of forces working to thwart the rule. The White House moved to strike out key aspects of the proposal. Subsequent appeals for more changes were voiced by players as varied as Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, and Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, as well as furniture industry lobbyists.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 helped ignite the public debate over formaldehyde, after the deadly storm destroyed or damaged hundreds of thousands of homes along the Gulf of Mexico, forcing families into temporary trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The displaced storm victims quickly began reporting respiratory problems, burning eyes and other issues, and tests then confirmed high levels of formaldehyde fumes leaking into the air inside the trailers, which in many cases had been hastily constructed.
Public health advocates petitioned the E.P.A. to issue limits on formaldehyde in building materials and furniture used in homes, given that limits already existed for exposure in workplaces. But three years after the storm, only California had issued such limits.
Industry groups like the American Chemistry Council have repeatedly challenged the science linking formaldehyde to cancer, a position championed by David Vitter, the Republican senator from Louisiana, who is a major recipient of chemical industry campaign contributions, and whom environmental groups have mockingly nicknamed “Senator Formaldehyde.”
By 2010, public health advocates and some industry groups secured bipartisan support in Congress for legislation that ordered the E.P.A. to issue federal rules that largely mirrored California’s restrictions. At the time, concerns were rising over the growing number of lower-priced furniture imports from Asia that might include contaminated products, while also hurting sales of American-made products.
Maneuvering began almost immediately after the E.P.A. prepared draft rules to formally enact the new standards.
White House records show at least five meetings in mid-2012 with industry executives — kitchen cabinet makers, chemical manufacturers, furniture trade associations and their lobbyists, like Brock R. Landry, of the Venable law firm. These parties, along with Senator Vitter’s office, appealed to top administration officials, asking them to intervene to roll back the E.P.A. proposal.
The White House Office of Management and Budget, which reviews major federal regulations before they are adopted, apparently agreed. After the White House review, the E.P.A. “redlined” many of the estimates of the monetary benefits that would be gained by reductions in related health ailments, like asthma and fertility issues, documents reviewed by The New York Times show.
As a result, the estimated benefit of the proposed rule dropped to $48 million a year, from as much as $278 million a year. The much-reduced amount deeply weakened the agency’s justification for the sometimes costly new testing that would be required under the new rules, a federal official involved in the effort said.
“It’s a redlining blood bath,” said Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown University Law School professor and a former E.P.A. official, using the Washington phrase to describe when language is stricken from a proposed rule. “Almost the entire discussion of these potential benefits was excised.”
Senator Vitter’s staff was pleased.
“That’s a huge difference,” said Luke Bolar, a spokesman for Mr. Vitter, of the reduced estimated financial benefits, saying the change was “clearly highlighting more mismanagement” at the E.P.A.
The review’s outcome galvanized opponents in the furniture industry. They then targeted a provision that mandated new testing of laminated wood, a cheaper alternative to hardwood. (The California standard on which the law was based did not require such testing.)
But E.P.A. scientists had concluded that these laminate products — millions of which are sold annually in the United States — posed a particular risk. They said that when thin layers of wood, also known as laminate or veneer, are added to furniture or flooring in the final stages of manufacturing, the resulting product can generate dangerous levels of fumes from often-used formaldehyde-based glues.
Industry executives, outraged by what they considered an unnecessary and financially burdensome level of testing, turned every lever within reach to get the requirement removed. It would be particularly onerous, they argued, for small manufacturers that would have to repeatedly interrupt their work to do expensive new testing. The E.P.A. estimated that the expanded requirements for laminate products would cost the furniture industry tens of millions of dollars annually, while the industry said that the proposed rule over all would cost its 7,000 American manufacturing facilities over $200 million each year.
“A lot of people don’t seem to appreciate what a lot of these requirements do to a small operation,” said Dick Titus, executive vice president of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, whose members are predominantly small businesses. “A 10-person shop, for example, just really isn’t equipped to handle that type of thing.”
Big industry players also weighed in. Executives from companies including La-Z-Boy, Hooker Furniture and Ashley Furniture all flew to Washington for a series of meetings with the offices of lawmakers including House Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and about a dozen other lawmakers, asking several of them to sign a letter prepared by the industry to press the E.P.A. to back down, according to an industry report describing the lobbying visit.
Within a matter of weeks, two letters — using nearly identical language — were sent by House and Senate lawmakers to the E.P.A. — with the industry group forwarding copies of the letters to the agency as well, and then posting them on its website.
The industry lobbyists also held their own meeting at E.P.A. headquarters, and they urged Jim Jones, who oversaw the rule-making process as the assistant administrator for the agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, to visit a North Carolina furniture manufacturing plant. According to the trade group, Mr. Jones told them that the visit had “helped the agency shift its thinking” about the rules and how laminated products should be treated.
The resistance was particularly intense from lawmakers like Mr. Wicker of Mississippi, whose state is home to major manufacturing plants owned by Ashley Furniture Industries, the world’s largest furniture maker, and who is one of the biggest recipients in Congress of donations from the industry’s trade association. Asked if the political support played a role, a spokesman for Mr. Wicker replied: “Thousands of Mississippians depend on the furniture manufacturing industry for their livelihoods. Senator Wicker is committed to defending all Mississippians from government overreach.”
Individual companies like Ikea also intervened, as did the Chinese government, which claimed that the new rule would create a “great barrier” to the import of Chinese products because of higher costs.
Perhaps the most surprising objection came from Senator Boxer, of California, a longtime environmental advocate, whose office questioned why the E.P.A.’s rule went further than her home state’s in seeking testing on laminated products. “We did not advocate an outcome, other than safety,” her office said in a statement about why the senator raised concerns. “We said ‘Take a look to see if you have it right.’ ”
Safety advocates say that tighter restrictions — like the ones Ms. Boxer and Mr. Wicker, along with Representative Doris Matsui, a California Democrat, have questioned — are necessary, particularly for products coming from China, where items as varied as toys and Christmas lights have been found to violate American safety standards.
While Mr. Neltner, the environmental advocate who has been most involved in the review process, has been open to compromise, he has pressed the E.P.A. not to back down entirely, and to maintain a requirement that laminators verify that their products are safe.
An episode of CBS’s “60 Minutes” in March brought attention to the issue when it accused Lumber Liquidators, the discount flooring retailer, of selling laminate products with dangerous levels of formaldehyde. The company has disputed the show’s findings and test methods, maintaining that its products are safe.
“People think that just because Congress passed the legislation five years ago, the problem has been fixed,” said Becky Gillette, who then lived in coastal Mississippi, in the area hit by Hurricane Katrina, and was among the first to notice a pattern of complaints from people living in the trailers. “Real people’s faces and names come up in front of me when I think of the thousands of people who could get sick if this rule is not done right.”
An aide to Ms. Matsui rejected any suggestion that she was bending to industry pressure.
“From the beginning the public health has been our No. 1 concern,” said Kyle J. Victor, an aide to Ms. Matsui.
But further changes to the rule are likely, agency officials concede, as they say they are searching for a way to reduce the cost of complying with any final rule while maintaining public health goals. The question is just how radically the agency will revamp the testing requirement for laminated products — if it keeps it at all.
“It’s not a secret to anybody that is the most challenging issue,” said Mr. Jones, the E.P.A. official overseeing the process, adding that the health consequences from formaldehyde are real. “We have to reduce those exposures so that people can live healthy lives and not have to worry about being in their homes.”The Uphill Battle to Better Regulate Formaldehyde