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Government Roundup

December 15, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 50

A materials science research road map was unveiled earlier this month with the release of the federal Materials Genome Initiative’s initial strategic plan. The initiative aims to double the pace of materials development, and the plan from the interagency ­National Science & Technology Council lays out the steps needed to do so.

Five phthalates—diisononyl phthalate, diisobutyl phthalate, di-n-pentyl phthalate, di-n-hexyl phthalate, and dicyclohexyl phthalate—would be banned in toys and other children’s products because of health concerns under a rule to be voted on by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Dec. 17.

DuPont was cited by OSHA for 11 alleged safety and health violations at its Deepwater, N.J., plant in an investigation prompted by a hazardous chemicals spill in May. The investigation alleged that DuPont was responsible for serious violations that could have caused harm or death, the safety and health agency says.

Senate confirmation of some presidential nominations last week filled several federal science posts. Ellen Williams will become the new director of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E). And Jeffery Baran was approved for a five-year position on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He has already served on the commission since September, filling the remaining term of a previous commissioner.


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