Canadians develop standards for safety
OTTAWA - Canada's plastics industry is getting its first national occupational safety standards.
The standards, developed by the Ottawa-based Canadian Plastics Sector Council, outline what a worker needs to know to do a job safely and properly. CPSC spent more than two years developing the standards for injection molding, blow molding and extrusion.
Next up are standards for fabrication and reinforced-composites production, said Anton Mude, co-chairman of CPSC and president and chief executive officer of custom injection molder Baytech Plastics Inc. of Midland, Ontario.
Employers can use the standards to develop job descriptions, workplace management programs and training programs. Employees can use them to guide a career path and obtain recognition for skills and knowledge.
``It represents professional development for the industry,'' Mude said in a telephone interview. He expects CPSC to have a formal certification program for the standards by the end of the year.
The standards will need to be recognized across the industry to be worthwhile, said Don MacNeil, CPSC co-chairman. Labor will want accreditation and certification status essentially owned by the employee and recognized by a new employer when the employee changes jobs, said MacNeil, who is administrative vice president of western communications for the Energy and Paperworkers of Canada union in Edmonton, Alberta.
Developing the standards ``was a move in the right direction, but just a start,'' he said.
CPSC comprises industry and labor representatives. The nonprofit agency was established by the federal Human Resources Development Canada ministry to address human resources issues in the plastics industry.
Report urges caution with modified crops
WASHINGTON - Crops that are modified genetically to make plastics and pharmaceuticals could contaminate the U.S. food supply unless substantial steps are taken to change how the crops are grown and managed, according to a report from a scientific advocacy group.
The Dec. 15 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists recommended that the Department of Agriculture ban field production of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and other food crops used to make drugs and plastics.
It urged USDA to require that such crops be grown indoors, and that the government and companies explore making pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals from nonfood crops.
A report written by scientists at five universities said it would be virtually impossible to ensure that crops grown for food are not contaminated by the plastic and pharmaceutical crops.
``It is sobering that drugs and industrial chemicals could have so many routes to the food supply,'' said David Andow, editor of the report and a professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota.
The report from Washington-based UCS said it is not clear to what extent contamination may have occurred already, and said any contamination probably is low. But it said it could grow if production of such crops increase, as industry predicts.
Mold maker Prelude to auction off assets
WINDSOR, ONTARIO - Injection mold builder Prelude Mold & Manufacturing Ltd. plans to auction all its assets Jan. 18 at its Windsor site.
Prelude did not go bankrupt, rather, owners of the private firm decided to get out of the mold-making business, an official said in a telephone interview. Corporate Assets Inc. of Toronto will conduct the auction.
Prelude's assets include Mitsubishi and Charmilles Roboform electric discharge machines, TOS and Stanko boring mills, a CME horizontal finishing machine, a Magson 100-ton spotting press, various other mills and a Prazis optical comparator.