Environmental protection

Chinese factories are using banned ozone-depleting chemicals

False-color view of total ozone over the Antarctic pole in 2018.
False-color view of total ozone over the Antarctic pole in October 2018. The purple and blue colors are where there is the least ozone, and the yellows and reds are where there is more ozone. Image: NASA

Scientists have solved an international environmental mystery by pinpointing the source of a troubling uptick in a dangerous, ozone-destroying chemical: factories in northeastern China.

Why it matters: The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is viewed as the most successful environmental treaty ever enacted. However, its success depends on rigorous monitoring and enforcement, particularly regarding the ban on the production and use of ozone-depleting substances from developing countries since 2010.

EPA ignored warnings from its own scientists about asbestos

In this image, the EPA logo is displayed on a flag in front of a pillared federal building.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The Environmental Protection Agency ignored warnings from its own scientists about allowing limited manufacturing of asbestos, the New York Times reports.

What's happening: Internal memos obtained by the NYT, dated August 2018, show that more than a dozen EPA scientists and lawyers advised the agency to totally ban asbestos instead of just restricting its use. The EPA ruled last month that manufacturers could adopt new uses for asbestos or return to older uses of the substance with the agency's approval, per the NYT.