The start of the New Year means different things to different people, e.g., a fresh start to dieting, exercise, or financial savings…and, a fresh start to promoting human health and the environment.

Here’s a sample of State and local regulations that take effect in January 2010.

Noise Pollution
Leaf blowers used within the Brookline, Massachusetts city must be operated such that they do not generate sound levels greater than 67 decibels measured at 50 feet.

Smoke Free
North Carolina restaurants, bars, and many lodging establishments will be smoke-free thanks to the North Carolina Smoke-Free Restaurants and Bars Law.

Plastic Bags
The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act is intended to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with the widespread use of carryout bags in the District of Columbia, namely bag pollution in the Anacostia River.  The regulation bans the use of non-recyclable plastic bags and levies a $0.05 fee for consumers on each recyclable carryout bag provided by a retail establishment.

Lead in Plumbing
All pipes, pipe or plumbing fittings, fixtures, solder, or flux intended to convey or dispense water for human consumption through drinking or cooking must be certified as lead-free by an independent third party accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  Lead-free, for purposes of this new law, means no more than a weighted average lead content of 0.25% for the wetted surfaces of the pipe and 0.2% lead in solder and flux

Mercury in the Air
Maine requires that air emission sources may not emit mercury in excess of 25 pounds per year.  Compliance with this limit must be specified in the license of the emissions source.  In addition, any air emission source emitting mercury in excess of 10 pounds must develop a mercury reduction plan.