Green chemistry initiative introduced by Cal/EPA

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, May 11, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On May 1 the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) announced the development of a "Green Chemistry Initiative" which aims to create a cradle-to-cradle approach to chemical regulation.  In a memo discussing the initiative’s creation, Linda Adams, Secretary of Cal/EPA, said that "Product-by- product, chemical-by-chemical and now even city-by-city approaches can often have unintended, even regrettable consequences, even with the best intentions." 

The Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC), under Cal/EPA’s umbrella, will lead the effort.  DTSC Director Maureen Gorsen stated that for 40 years the regulatory focus has been an "end of the pipe" or "after-product" use (emissions, waste and discharges).  The Green Chemistry Initiative instead embraces the consideration of public health and environmental effects of chemicals during the design of products and processes. 

This is a fundamental new approach to environmental protection.  The agency will attempt to define the challenges, the options and the recommendations for action pursuant to a very aggressive timetable.  Google could be capturing a database on the universe of information available concerning chemical safety, testing, risk, regulations, alternatives, use, etc.

Gorsen has committed to a transparent process with stakeholder involvement, workshops, symposiums, conferences, roundtables and meetings.  There will also be a dedicated website and consultation with universities, Canada, the European Union and the U.S. EPA.  There will be a cross-agency coordination working group formed among Cal/EPA boards, departments and offices, the Department of Health, the Department of Conservation, State and Consumer Affairs and the Department of Industrial Relations. 

The schedule calls for kickoff meetings in May and June, the website and listserve operating by January 1, 2008 and policy recommendations to Secretary Adams by July 1, 2008.  Comments about challenges, options and ideas from stakeholders by May 31 are being sought.  Ideas can be sent to


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