Reminder: Upcoming Meeting of the DTSC Green Ribbon Science Panel

Green Chemistry Regulations:

Quick reminder:  The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will convene the Green Ribbon Science Panel (GRSP) on Thursday, May 5 in the afternoon, and Friday, May 6th, all day, 2011, in Sacramento, California and via webcast. The public is invited to attend and provide comments on agenda items.

This is the first meeting of the GRSP to discuss  the Safer Consumer Product Alternatives (SCPA) Regulations since the California EPA announced on December 23, 2010, that it would ignore a statutory deadline and delay their adoption.  This is also the first full meeting of the GSRP since it decided on February 4, 2011, to reorganize itself into three subcommittees to improve its overall efficiency and the usefulness of its advice to DTSC.  The subcommittees have each met twice since their formation.   

A quick review of the agenda suggests this meeting could be quite lively.  Several hot-button topics in the SCPA Regulations are slated for discussion.  These include:  the regulation of de minimis and unintentionally-added chemicals; and the identification and prioritization of chemicals and products. 

Readers interested in the future of the SCPA Regulations should log in to the live webcast.  Although DTSC has in the past made available an archived version for those who were unable to attend, there’s no mention of making one available for this hearing. 

Meeting notice:

Meeting agenda:

Design for the Environment–EPA’s Safer Product Labeling Program

Green Chemistry/Design for the Environment:

Readers interested in EPA’s Safer Product Labeling Program may want to look through the list of products now authorized to carry EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) label.  The list is available here.

On April 20, in anticipation of Earth Day, EPA announced that 2,500 products are now approved to carry the DfE label, including all-purpose cleaners, laundry and dishwasher detergents, drain line maintainers, and car and boat care products. DfE-labeled products do not contain known chemicals of potential concern, like carcinogens, reproductive or developmental toxicants. Even minor product components, like dyes and fragrances, are screened for safety.  In fact, according to EPA, before allowing the DfE logo to be used on a product label, the Agency conducts a scientific evaluation to ensure that candidate products are formulated from the safest possible ingredients.  The Agency’s press release explains that “[t]he DfE label means that EPA has screened each ingredient for potential human health and environmental effects and that the product contains only ingredients that, in EPA’s scientific opinion, pose the least concern among chemicals in their class.”

EPA also announced that DfE labeled products will soon be required to disclose their ingredients (other than trade secrets) to consumers. In addition, new DfE-approved products will need to meet additional life-cycle requirements such as sustainable packaging and limits on volatile organic compounds.  The new disclosure and life-cycle requirements will be phased in for existing DfE products, but some companies are already moving to comply with those standards.

Instructions on the application process for DfE labeling are available here.

Click here for the DfE home page.

Green Chemistry Law Report Selected as a LexisNexis Top 50 Environmental Law & Climate Change Community Blog for 2011

Today LexisNexis announced its selection of the Top 50 Environmental Law & Climate Change Community Blogs for 2011.  Verdant Law, PLLC was pleased to learn that the Green Chemistry Law Report was chosen from among a large, diverse, and competitive field of candidates.  According to LexisNexis, the award “recognizes preeminent thought leaders in the blogosphere…. Most good blogs provide frequent posts on timely topics, but the authors in this year’s collective take their blogs to a different level by providing insightful commentary that demonstrates how blogs can—and do—impact the practice of environmental and climate change law.”

Philip Moffat, the Firm’s founder, said “The Firm owes a debt of gratitude to its readers.  Without their support, the Green Chemistry Law Report may not have received the recognition it deserves.  Verdant is a boutique law firm specializing in product risk management with a particular emphasis on sustainability and other environmental challenges.  As such, I feel the Firm has a unique perspective to offer on the evolving debate over chemical regulatory reform and the green chemistry movement in the United States and elsewhere.” 

A complete list of the 2011 winners is available here

EPA Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee


For readers looking for an update on US EPA FIFRA regulatory, policy and program implementation efforts, consider attending the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) Meeting: Wednesday April 20 & Thursday April 21, 2011.

PPDC meetings provide a forum for a diverse group of stakeholders to provide feedback to the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs on various pesticide regulatory, policy and program implementation issues.

The PPDC meeting is open to the public. Attend in person at EPA’s Potomac Yard Conference Center (2777 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA) or dial-in to the meeting (Conference Line: 1-866-299-3188; conference Code: 703-308-4775#).

The agenda, information about workgroups and past meetings can be accessed at

Topics to be discussed at this week’s meeting include:

Tuesday April 20, 2011
• Integrated Pest Management (see e.g.,
• Spray Drift (see e.g., )
• Inerts Disclosure (see e.g.,
• Water Quality/Drinking Water (see e.g.,
• Pollinator Protection (see e.g.,
• Children/Worker Risk Protection (see e.g.,
• OPP Strategic Directions (see e.g.,
• Improving Regulations (see e.g.,
• Comparative Safety Statements (see e.g.,
• Public Health Issues—Bed Bugs, Lyme Disease Prevention (see e.g.,

Wednesday April 21, 2011
• Endangered Species (see e.g.,,
• Clean Water Act Pesticide General Permit (see e.g., (Also note, the ABA is hosting a program focused solely on this permit April 27–The NPDES Pesticide General Permit: Perspectives from the Hill, EPA, the Regulated Community, and Environmental Advocates. For registration information see
• 21st Century Science Activities (see e.g., (Also note, the EPA Science Advisory Panel Meeting May 24-26, 2011 will focus on toxicity testing—Integrated Approaches to Testing and Assessment Strategies: Use of New Computational and Molecular Tools. More at

EPA Publishes Chemical Action Plans For Diisocyanate Compounds


On April 13, 2011, EPA published chemical action plans for methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and related compounds.  According to EPA, diisocyanates are well known dermal and inhalation sensitizers in the workplace and have been documented to cause asthma, lung damage, and in severe cases, fatal reactions. Worker exposures are already subject to protective controls in occupational settings, but EPA is concerned about potential health effects that may result from exposures to the consumer or self-employed worker while using products containing uncured (unreacted) MDI, TDI, and their related polyisocyanates (e.g., spray-applied foam sealants, adhesives, and coatings) or incidental exposures to the general population while such products are used in or around buildings including homes or schools. 

The Agency is proposing a number of regulatory actions under the Toxic Substances Control Act.  These include promulgation of significant new use rules (SNURs) under Section 5(a)(2) for TDI and its related polyisocyanates in consumer products; Section 4 test rules requesting certain exposure monitoring; reporting and data call-ins under Section 8(c) and 8(d); and certain restrictions adopted pursuant to Section 6.  The chemical action plan for MDI and related compounds is available here.  The plan for TDI and related compounds is available here

Senator Lautenberg Continues in His Quest to Reform TSCA

TSCA Reform:

Guest Columnist: 
Irene Hantman
University of Maryland Law Fellow
US EPA Office of Civil Enforcement
Waste and Chemical Enforcement Division

On April 14, 2011, Senator Lautenberg of New Jersey introduced the 2011 Safe Chemicals Act (2011 SCA), almost a year after he introduced a similar bill (S. 3209) that failed to garner sufficient Congressional support.  Senator Barbara Boxer of California, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota, and Senator Charles Schumer of New York co-sponsored the bill.  The 2011SCA is intended “to modernize the ‘Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976’ (TSCA) and protect Americans from exposure to dangerous toxins.”  Readers familiar with the bill introduced in 2010, S. 3209, will find many of the same concepts and requirements in the 2011 SCA.  Whether this latest bill will progress further than its predecessor is unknown, but there are many reasons to believe that it will not, despite support from the high-ranking Democratic Senators Boxer and Schumer.

According to Senator Lautenberg, the 2011 SCA addresses many of TSCA’s weaknesses identified by the US Government Accountability Office in its 2005 Report to Congress, Options Exist to Improve EPA’s Ability to Assess Health Risks and Manage Its Chemical Review Program.  It also adopts many of the recommendations for US Chemicals Management Policy advocated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, former EPA Associate Administrators for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, and National Institutes of Health officials.  Readers unfamiliar with those recommendations should know that they stressed that efforts to modernize TSCA must: (1) ensure that chemicals in commerce demonstrate reasonable certainty of no harm, at all stages of human development, and through all possible exposure routes; (2) provide EPA practical tools to assess the safety of chemicals currently in use; and (3) establish public access to chemical safety information.  Senator Lautenberg also emphasized that the 2011 SCA would require safety testing of all industrial chemicals, and put the burden on industry to prove that chemicals are safe in order to get on, or remain on, the market.  In contrast, current TSCA parameters generally do not require chemical companies to test new chemicals for toxicity or to gauge exposure levels before they are submitted for EPA’s review.

Again, the 2011 SCA has many conceptual similarities to legislation the Senator sponsored in 2010 (S. 3209), but there are differences in some of the details of implementation.   The 2011 SCA would:

  • require manufacturers to submit minimum data sets to allow the EPA to conduct screening-level risk assessments for new and existing chemical substances (see amended §4(a));
  • facilitate data sharing across federal agencies (see amended §4(f));
  • require manufacturers and processors to submit new chemical notifications for chemical substances (and mixtures upon certain EPA findings) that EPA could approve upon a finding that the substance meets the Section 6 safety standard or that the substance does not meet other criteria concerning production volume, release, toxicity, etc. (see amended §5);
  • require manufacturers to submit reports describing current manufacturing or processing (see amended §8(a)), including
    • chemical identity,
    • manufacturing and processing facility location,
    • known uses of, exposure to, and fate information, and
    • health and safety studies not previously filed with the Administrator;
  • allow the Administrator to order manufacturers to make supplemental information submissions (see amended §8(b)) to assist
    • in making safety determinations, and
    • any aspect of administering TSCA; and
  • establish an Internet-accessible database to provide public access to significant chemical safety information (see amended §§5(b)(2), 8(d)), including
    • premanufacture notices (PMNs),
    • safety testing, and
    • Agency decisions.

In addition to maintaining a number of the conceptual changes to TSCA proposed in 2010, the 2011SCA includes new authorities regarding safety standard determinations and confidential information.   For example, the amended Section 6 would establish a risk classification scheme for chemical substances currently in use.

  • Priority Class 1 would comprise chemical substances that are assessed by the Administrator as requiring immediate risk management.  Substances in Class 1 would be those that are degraded and metabolized into persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic substances with the potential for widespread exposure to humans or other organisms. Within 18 months of assignment to this priority class, the Administrator would be required to impose conditions on the manufacturing, processing, use, distribution in commerce, and disposal of the substance to achieve the greatest practicable reductions in human and environmental exposure.  
  • Priority Class 2 would include chemical substances, presently in commerce, for which the Administrator found a more-than-theoretical concern of uncertainty that they could meet the safety standard required for new chemicals.  Assignment to Class 2 would be conducted in order of risk presented to human health and the environment.  
  • Priority Class 3 would include only those chemical substances for which the Administrator determined no immediate action was required because the substance did not and would not, at any stage of the lifecycle, pose any risk of adverse effects to human health or the environment under existing, proposed, or anticipated levels of exposure to, or production or patterns of use of, that chemical substance.

No judicial review would be available for assignment to any priority class.

The 2011 SCA also specifies minimum considerations for safety standard determinations of both new and existing chemicals (see amended §6(b)).  The legislation would require the Administrator’s risk assessment to include consideration of scientific literature relating to the effect of cumulative exposure to chemical substances.  The Administrator would be permitted to find that a substance meets the safety standard only when there is a reasonable certainty that neither human health nor the environment would be harmed from aggregate exposure.  Judicial review would not available for determinations that manufacturers have not established that chemical substances meet applicable safety standards.

The 2011 SCA would limit protections for confidential business information.  Section 14 would also allow the Administrator to determine that particular information previously considered eligible for confidential treatment is no longer entitled to such treatment.

Lastly, 2011 SCA would have limited preemptive effect.  States and their subdivisions would remain free to adopt or enforce any regulation, requirement, or standard of performance that was different from, or in addition to, a regulation, requirement, liability, or standard of performance established under TSCA, unless it was impossible to comply with both, in which case the TSCA requirement would control.  Although the preemption provision was revised from the 2010 bill, Senator Lautenberg continues to prefer robust state involvement in chemicals management.

The website for Senator Lautenberg’s office provides summaries of and the text of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 and 2011 (2010 bill, 2010 summary, 2011 bill, 2011 summary).

* * * *

DISCLAIMER:  This work is not a product of the United States Government or the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the author is not doing this work in any governmental capacity.  The views expressed are those of the author only and do not necessarily represent those of the United States or the US EPA.                       

Leading Consumer Products Companies Explain How and Why They Share Chemical Data Along the Supply Chain

Green Chemistry/Sustainable Supply Chain Management:

The Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) recently published a report titled, Meeting Customers’ Needs for Chemical Data: A Guidance Document for Suppliers.  The Guidance Document is designed to improve supply chain communication between suppliers and their customers concerning chemical identities and health and safety data.  In the report, leading companies such as HP, Johnson & Johnson, Method, Nike, SC Johnson, and Wal-Mart explain why they want such data and how they interact with their suppliers to obtain it. 

Readers unfamiliar with GC3 should know that it is a business-to-business forum for members to discuss and share information and experiences relating to the advancement of green chemistry, design for the environment, and sustainable supply chain management.  GC3, which began in 2005, is a project of Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  GC3 prepared the Guidance Document with two goals in mind: “(1) to advance the efforts of companies trying to obtain the chemical data needed for regulatory and corporate sustainability programs and in response to market demands, and (2) to advance the efforts of suppliers to provide chemical data needed by their customers.”

The Guidance Document is a response to the growing demand for increased transparency concerning chemical-related data. Companies attempting to bring “green” or “safer” products to the market need chemical identity and health and safety data at the product design phase.  Access to this information enables them to evaluate and manage market, regulatory, and tort liability risks, as well as respond to requests from their customers, including consumers, wanting more information.

The Guidance Document should prove helpful to suppliers less familiar with the trend toward greater transparency, the rationale supporting it, and the techniques used to sustain it.  The document explains why fabricators and formulators are requesting chemical data, what chemical data are being sought, how suppliers can benefit from sharing data, why Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) often provide inadequate data, how companies are handling confidential business information, how fabricators and formulators collect data from their suppliers and what they are doing with the data, and where suppliers can obtain the data being requested.  In addition to describing the chemical data collection practices of different companies, the Guidance Document also provides customizable letters and forms that companies can use to facilitate their communications. 

More information about GC3 is available here.