Green chemistry initiative

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Nov. 16, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On May 1 of this year Cal/EPA announced the development of a "Green Chemistry Initiative" (GCI) to create a cradle-to-cradle approach to chemical regulation.  They acknowledge that product-by-product, chemical-by-chemical and city-by-city approaches often have unintended, even regrettable consequences, even with the best intentions.  

Cal EPA Secretary Linda Adams selected Maureen Gorsen, Director of the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC), to define the program and make the development process transparent.  Gorsen says that for 40 years the regulatory focus has been on "end-of-the-pipe" or "after-product" use: emissions, waste and discharges.  The GCI, instead, embraces the consideration of public health and environmental effects of chemicals during the design of products and processes.  This is a fundamentally new approach to environmental protection fueled by the REACH initiative in Europe and recent regulations adopted in Canada.  

The agency will attempt to define the challenges and options and make recommendations for action on a very aggressive timetable.  By January 1, DTSC’s goal is to have a list of all of the components that could potentially go into a Green Chemistry program.  A blog site has been open since the end of May where associations, environmental groups and the public can make suggestions on what to include in the program.   Between January 1 and July 1, 2008, they will hold workshops to consider those suggestions.  A recommended course of action is due to Linda Adams by July 1.  

DTSC will decide what information should be required of businesses concerning chemical inventories and usage, the risks associated with chemicals and products used or produced (both to employees during production and to the outside environment), how to evaluate those risks, disclosure requirements for manufacturing processes and the chemical make-up of their products.  

The potential outcome of these issues is very important to all CMTA members.  It could significantly increase regulatory burdens, affect confidentiality and add to production costs.  If you have an interest in participating on a CMTA working group to draft our vision of what this program should and should not entail, please notify Mike Rogge at mrogge@cmta.net by Monday, November 26th.  

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