Green chemistry

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Aug. 27, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

A deal between legislators and the Schwarzenegger Administration could lay the foundation for the Green Chemistry Initiative by creating a comprehensive statewide program for managing chemicals in products.  AB 1879 (Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles) and SB 509 (Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto) are "joined" and have the support of the Governor, the Administration, Republican and Democratic leadership, environmental groups and some industry groups.  They easily passed both houses of the legislature this week.

AB 1879 would require the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) by January 2011 to adopt regulations to establish a process by which chemicals, or chemical ingredients, in products may be identified and prioritized for consideration as being chemicals of concern.  Pesticides and food are exempted.

The regulations adopted would establish a process that includes an evaluation of the availability of potential alternatives and potential hazards posed by those alternatives, as well as an evaluation of critical exposure pathways.  This process would include life cycle assessment tools that take into consideration, but are not be limited to, the following:

•    Product function or performance;
•    Useful life;
•    Materials and resource consumption;
•    Water conservation;
•    Water quality impacts;
•    Air emissions;
•    Production, in-use, and transportation energy inputs;
•    Energy efficiency;
•    Greenhouse gas emissions;
•    Waste and end-of-life disposal;
•    Public health impacts, including potential impacts to sensitive subpopulations, including infants and children;
•    Environmental impacts; and
•    Economic impacts.

The regulations would be required to specify actions the DTSC may take following the completion of the analysis, including:

•    Requirements to provide additional information;
•    Requirements for labeling, or other type of product information;
•    Controlling access to, or limiting exposure;
•    Managing the product at the end of its useful life, or funding green chemistry challenge grants; and
•    Restrictions on the use of the chemical of concern in the product, or prohibitions on use.

AB 1879 would require the establishment of a Green Ribbon Science Panel to advise the DTSC and the California Environmental Policy Council.  It would also establish a procedure for the protection of information submitted to the department that is claimed to be a trade secret.

The department would be required to reference and use, to the maximum extent feasible, available information from other nations, governments, and authoritative bodies that have undertaken similar chemical prioritization processes, so as to leverage the work and costs already incurred by those entities and to minimize costs and maximize benefits for the state's economy.

SB 509 would require the DTSC to establish a Toxics Information Clearinghouse for the collection, maintenance, and distribution of specific chemical hazard traits and environmental and toxicological end-point data.  The DTSC would make the clearinghouse accessible to the public through a single internet web portal.   

The Office of Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) would be required, by January 1, 2011, to evaluate and specify the hazard traits and environmental and toxicological end-points and any other relevant data that are to be included in the clearinghouse.

DTSC would consult with other states, the federal government, and other nations to identify available data related to hazard traits and environmental and toxicological
end-points, and to facilitate the development of regional, national, and international data sharing arrangements to be included in the clearinghouse.

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