Gino DiCaro

Chemical-related proposals before the legislature

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, May 21, 2009 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Last year the Governor passed the "Green Chemistry Initiative" (GCI) contained in SB 509 (Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, Chapter 560) and AB 1879 (Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, Chapter 559).

The intent of CalEPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control in implementing the initiative is to 1) Expand pollution prevention; 2) Develop green chemistry workforce education and training, research and development and technology transfer; 3) Create an online product ingredient network; 4) Create an online toxics clearinghouse; 5) Accelerate the quest for safer products; and 6) Move toward a cradle-to-cradle economy.  

A growing coalition, the Green Chemistry Alliance (GCA), founded by CMTA, has been actively involved in developing a framework and consideration of chemicals of concern and potential alternatives. GCA seeks to ensure that decisions are based on the weight of scientific evidence and the realities of today’s global marketplace.  This program should help catalyze and accelerate the adaptation already under way within the manufacturing community and other industries, including more systematic application of the principles of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering. Sound science should be the platform upon which this regulatory structure operates.

However, despite the enactment and ongoing development of the GCI, the Legislature continues to propose restrictions and bans on chemicals or their uses. These issues are complex. California must move away from chemical-by-chemical legislation and instead allow the GCI to be fully implemented.  The chemical issues raised by these bills are more correctly evaluated in the context of the regulatory process already under way.

2009 chemical related legislation includes:
•    AB 147 (Lori Saldana, D-San Diego) Hazardous & Electronic Waste;
•    AB 283 (Wesley Chesbro, D-Eureka) Solid Waste – Extended Producer Responsibility Program;
•    AB 821 (Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica) School Facilities – Maintenance;
•    AB 1131 (Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles) Hazardous Materials – Green Chemistry;
•    AB 1329 (Brownley) Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Packaging;
•    AB 1358 (Jerry Hill, D-So. San Francisco) Disposable Food Containers;
•    SB 346 (Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego) Hazardous Materials – Motor Vehicle Brake Materials;
•    SB 443 (Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica) Supermarkets – Cleaning Products Reviews;
•    SB 772 (Mark Leno, D-San Francisco) Home Furnishing – Juvenile Products; and
•    SB 797 (Pavley) Product Safety – Bisphenol A.

For more information on these bills, go to

To join the Green Chemistry Alliance, contact Mike at

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