EPA to Post List of Chemicals Acceptable for DfE-labeled Products

Design for the Environment (DfE) / Green Chemistry:

EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) team announced today that, in September, it will post on the agency’s website a list of chemicals that are acceptable for use in DfE-labeled products.   Questions or comments about the proposal should be submitted to EPA by August 24, 2012.  The contact at DfE is Bridget Williams (williams.bridget@epa.gov).

As readers know, over the years many DfE stakeholders have requested that EPA issue a list of safer chemicals.  According to the agency’s press release, EPA’s intent is for the list to serve as a resource for product formulators and consumers, to increase understanding of the DfE Safer Product Labeling Program and the types of chemicals in DfE-labeled products.  The list is also intended to enhance the dialogue on safer chemicals and products.  

EPA is compiling its list from the ingredients in DfE-labeled products, as well as from chemicals eligible for use in labeled products – i.e., chemicals that meet the DfE criteria. The chemicals will be identified by their specific chemical name and Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) number and grouped by functional class—surfactants, solvents, etc. (chemicals with more than one common functionality may be listed in multiple classes).

A color code will appear next to each chemical to indicate its safer chemical status.  A green circle will appear next to chemicals that have met the DfE component-class criteria; a green/yellow square next to chemicals that have met the DfE criteria as adapted for their necessary functional characteristics, but are missing some experimental data on potential hazards; and a yellow triangle next to chemicals that have met the DfE criteria as adapted for their necessary functional characteristics, but have unresolved hazard profile issues.

No other information about the chemical—not its source, manufacturer, or use; association with a trade name product, percentages in formulation, etc.—will appear in the listing. EPA intends to include on this list the ingredients in third-party formulations sold by manufacturers to DfE participants, and will likewise not associate those ingredients with specific products. Also, no chemicals on the confidential portion of the Toxic Substances Control Act Inventory will be included in the listing.

According to the agency’s press release, the DfE list will complement the Green-Blue Institute’s CleanGredients database (www.cleangredients.org), which will continue to serve as a marketplace for chemicals that are acceptable for use in DfE-labeled products and provide trade name chemicals, physical-chemical and functional properties, hazard information, vendor contacts, and other information.

Phil Moffat to Speak at ASC 2012 Fall Expo on California's Green Chemistry Initiative

Green Chemistry Regulation:

Verdant is pleased to announce that Philip Moffat will be speaking at the Adhesive and Sealant Council’s 2012 Fall Expo in Louisville, Kentucky.  Mr. Moffat will discuss California’s efforts to use regulation to drive “green” innovation in the chemicals and consumer products industries.  His presentation, “California’s Green Chemistry Initiative – A Legal Perspective,” will cover the history of the state’s vaunted initiative, the challenges of implementing it into regulation, the current status of the regulations, as well as their projected legal and other impacts to businesses in California, the United States, and abroad.  The Fall Expo will be held from October 21- 22 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown.  More information is available here.

Cefic Reports on EU Chemical Industry Sustainability Initiatives

Sustainability:

The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) published The Chemical Industry in Europe: Towards Sustainability on May 8. In the report, Cefic stresses the importance of applying sustainable chemistry to the entire product life cycle, beginning with consideration of raw material sourcing impacts, and including manufacturing, packaging, transport and distribution, sales and use, and post-use recovery or disposal. Towards Sustainability asserts that chemistry innovation is a catalyst for sustainable innovation in up- and downstream industries including consumer product sectors. In addition, the authors argue that “Industry’s ongoing focus on using renewable raw materials is helping identify new ways of protecting the environment.”

Towards Sustainability details chemical industry initiatives to reduce waste, drive down emissions, conserve resources, and improve energy efficiency. Major reductions in emissions purportedly have been achieved through optimizing production processes and implementing improved emission control technologies. Industry initiatives promote energy efficiency through the value chain. Many companies have applied new technologies and processes to use fewer raw materials and to reuse or recycle products in a closed loop system. In addition, reducing the amount of material in products without performance loss, down-gauging, has helped industry optimize resources. Also, partnerships throughout industry have turned waste into resources. According to the report, successes include:

  • an International Association for Soaps sustainability project which reduced water use during manufacture, emissions, packaging;
  • detergent manufacturers reduced the impact of shipping by reducing chemicals, packaging and energy used in product manufacturing;
  • excess heat and CO2 from fertilizer manufactures pumped to local greenhouses;
  • glucose-containing effluent generated by a one producer is used by a nearby chemical complex to maintain bacteria levels in its biotreatment plant; and
  • a new abatement system at an ink manufacturer reduced emissions from the stream by 98 percent.

The industry has also published technical information on abatement and recovery options for solvent emissions.

Featured in the report is a case study on the relationship between new chemical industry products and development of a sustainable construction sector. For example, Cefic explains, plastic insulating materials save many times the amount of energy used in production. The materials are stable and durable, and unaffected by moisture, rotting, or mold. And plastic materials are easily and completely recyclable or recoverable.

Towards Sustainability stresses the importance of sustainability to corporate viability. The authors quote securities analyst statements, such as

“Investors are beginning to acknowledge the impact of sustainability topics on a company’s financial valuation. By adopting effective product life cycle assessment strategies chemical companies can realign their portfolios towards sustainable innovation and at the same time provide financial investors with increased transparency about their commitment to sustainability.” Andrea Ricci , Equity Analyst -Sustainable Asset Management

The report also highlights Cefic members’ efforts to enhance chemicals management throughout the supply chain. Activities include:

  • an effort in the polyvinyl chloride industry to improve behavioral safety;
  • outreach by the solvents sector on safe working practices;
  • safe handling cyanides through the entire value chain; and
  • best practices outreach by the formaldehyde industry.

Towards Sustainability also reports that industry is working with academia, regulators and NGOs to identify alternatives to the use of animal testing. Cefic is a founding member of the European Platform for Alternatives to Animal Testing which focuses on meeting safety requirements while also reducing the use of and replacing animal testing.

Towards Sustainability can be downloaded from Cefic’s website.

DTSC Requests Nominations to Green Chemistry Category of GEELA 2012 Awards

Green Chemistry:

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control is requesting nominations for the “Green Chemistry Category” of the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) Program.  The so-called GEELA awards are California’s highest environmental honor.  More information is available in the excerpt below.  If readers know of any deserving candidate – and there undoubtedly many – please forward to the appropriate person a link to this blog entry.

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The Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards

GEELA 2012

The Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award Program is California’s highest environmental honor. The program recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made notable, voluntary contributions in conserving California’s precious resources, protecting and enhancing our environment, building public-private partnerships and strengthening the State’s economy. 

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) invites your organization to submit entries for the 2012 GEELA Awards in the Green Chemistry category. This category focuses on businesses, academia and nongovernmental organizations that are leading innovation and development of safer, and more environmentally benign consumer products, formulations, and technologies. Entries should demonstrate benefits to human health and the environment through using less hazardous chemical components and processes. Lifecycle perspectives should also be presented, especially those incorporating pathways for reuse, recycling, and improved management of chemical components.   

Anyone wishing to apply for, or nominate an individual, organization, or business, for a 2012 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award should submit an application by June 22, 2012.

For more information, visit:http://www.calepa.ca.gov/Awards/GEELA/2012/GrnChemApp.htm

California DTSC Announces Two-Day Workshop on Alternatives Assessment

Green Chemistry/Alternatives Assessment:

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has announced an upcoming two-day workshop on alternatives assessment, a key component of the department’s much-anticipated Safer Consumer Product Alternatives (SCPA) Regulations.  Those regulations are in turn a key component of the state’s vaunted Green Chemistry Initiative.  The timing of this announcement suggests that DTSC will soon release the official draft of the SCPA Regulations.  The workshop will be held in Chatsworth, California from June 4 -5, 2012. Registration information and other details are set out below.

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Alternatives Assessment 101

What: Two-Day Training

When: June 4-5, 2012

Where: Chatsworth, CA

California’s Safer Consumer Products draft regulation requires alternative assessments for certain priority chemicals and products. Would you like to know more about alternatives assessment?

 

 

If you have not performed an alternatives assessment-

 

 

This training is for you! Gain practical, hands-on experience and insights.

 

If you have already conducted alternatives assessments-

 

 

Strengthen your understanding, exchange experiences, and learn from your peers through this two day training from specialists in alternatives assessments.

This two day training from the University of Massachusetts (UM) is in partnership with California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). Participants will be introduced to the process of assessing safer alternatives for chemicals and products through sharing experiences with researchers from UM’s Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) and the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production. DTSC staff will lead a discussion on the role of alternatives assessment in California’s draft Safer Consumer Products Regulation.

 

 

 

Visit for more information and to register:

http://sustainableproduction.org/proj.summerinstitute.overview.php

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DTSC Delay of Official Draft SCPA Regulation Is Too Coincidental

Green Chemistry Regulations:

As of Friday, stakeholders have reason to doubt the assertions of good faith by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).  As readers will undoubtedly know, DTSC has made a concerted effort to reassure stakeholders that it’s operating in good faith – protecting the interests of all stakeholders – when drafting the Safer Consumer Product Alternatives (SCPA) Regulation.  There are YouTube videos and Facebook feeds, and many public meetings have been held.  That facade crumbled Friday.

Last week, DTSC made known that it was deferring until April publication of the official draft of the SCPA Regulation.  The regulation had been scheduled for publication this month, launching the formal rulemaking process.  The delay in itself wasn’t necessarily bad; DTSC could have needed time to refine the regulation in response to the hundreds of pages of public comments it received on the last informal draft. 

On Friday, however, Director Raphael’s confirmation hearing was scheduled for — you guessed it — this month, March 28 to be exact.  Surprise!  So, gone is the opportunity for questioning on the official draft.  No one at the hearing will know – except DTSC staff and other insiders – what the formal draft looks like.  One has to ask:  Why the secrecy?  Why the avoidance?

Delaying publication until after the DTSC Director’s confirmation hearing arguably signals a lack of good faith.  The timing in no way appears coincidental.  One would be justified in expecting the impending draft to be quite controversial.  Whose ox is getting gored is anyone’s guess, although suspicions abound given the deaf ear DTSC has recently turned to a number of industry’s legitimate concerns (e.g., hazard identification, de  minimis thresholds).

Stay tuned for more posts on this impending and important regulatory development. 

Environmental Advocates Want Disclosure of Chemicals in Consumer Products

Chemicals in Consumer Products:

Researchers at the Silent Spring Institute argue that the findings of their consumer product evaluation illustrate the need for full disclosure of ingredient information. The Institute tested consumer products — ranging from toothpaste to laundry detergent — for compounds identified as either endocrine disruptors or asthma-related. Most products evaluated by the Institute included one or more “chemicals of concern.”  In their report, the researchers emphasize that current chemical testing and product labeling requirements do not prevent the use of hormone disruptors or asthma-associated chemicals in products or provide enough information for consumers to avoid them. Silent Springs published its findings in the March 8, 2012 issue of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Environmental Health Perspectives.  The report has proven highly controversial and been severely criticized by industry for a flawed methodology and equating the mere presence of a chemical in a product with a lack of product safety.

The Institute, and other environmental and public health advocates, clearly plan to use the report to support their arguments for robust reforming of TSCA, the primary federal statute for regulating chemicals in the United States.  Such advocates argue that many consumer products contain chemicals known to adversely affect human health. They note that for numerous common commercial chemicals, information about their presence in consumer products is limited. In particular, little information is available about hazardous chemical exposures from personal care and cleaning products.

The Institute found 55 chemicals of concern in conventional and “green” consumer products. The evaluation assessed consumer products for the presence of 66 known endocrine disruptors and asthma causing chemicals. Tested consumer products ranged from toothpaste to laundry detergent. The researchers found bis-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, diethanolamine, and glycol ethers in high concentrations. They found phthalates, monoethanolamine, alkylphenols, parabens, and cyclosiloxanes in many of the products.  Sunscreens and scented products such as air fresheners and dryer sheets contained both the largest number of target chemicals and some of the highest chemical concentrations. However, the Institute did not report whether these chemicals were present above limits setting safe levels of exposure.  For example, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends diethanolamine exposure be limited to 3 parts per million.

The researchers allege that regulations require only limited product labeling, thereby limiting the information available to consumers.  Personal products such as sunscreens, deodorants, and anti-bacterial hand soaps are largely regulated as over-the-counter drugs by the FDA. FDA regulations mandate only that “active” ingredients be identified on product labels.  The Institute asserts that EPA has primary regulatory oversight of cleaning products, and only when these products are pesticide products (e.g., products that will kill bacteria and viruses) is active ingredient labeling required. Many consumer products call themselves “natural,” “non-toxic,” and “green;” however, the Institute contends that these terms are unregulated and the chemical contents of such products do not necessarily differ from comparable products.

The Institute also argues that gaps in ingredient information are also problematic for regulators.  It argues that EPA, for example, relies on ingredient concentrations in products for exposure modeling. 

And lastly, the researchers conclude that further study of the risks posed by the types of chemical mixtures that are found in personal care products, cleaning products, etc. are needed to understand their effects on human health.

US News, Forbes, Consumer Reports, and many other news outlets have published stories on this report.

California DTSC Releases Public Comments on Informal Draft Green Chemistry Regulations

Green Chemistry Regulations:

The public comment for the latest informal draft version of California’s “Safer Consumer Product Regulations” closed on December 30, 2011.   On January 20, 2012, the implementing agency, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), posted the comments on its website.  DTSC received ninety submissions from a range of stakeholder interests.  More information about the regulations is available here.

US EPA and California DTSC Form Green Chemistry Partnership

Sustainable Products/Green Chemistry:

On January 12, 2012, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced their Green Chemistry Partnership.  The agencies’ agreement is memorialized in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines principles by which the agencies will cooperate to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products, create new business opportunities in the emerging safer consumer products economy, and reduce the burden on consumers and businesses struggling to identify what’s in the products they buy for their families and customers.

The agrement supposedly will allow DTSC and EPA to minimize duplication of effort and promote consistency in their assessment methodologies, potentially providing increased environmental protection. The agreement sets up a framework for the agencies to collaborate on Green Chemistry issues so that California’s innovative “Green Chemistry” program can grow.

Jim Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention said:  “This partnership will build and harmonize common tools and practices used to conduct alternative assessments to promote safer products ….  These alternative assessments inform and speed the adoption of safer chemicals for use in products, homes, schools, and workplaces, which produce significant environmental and economic benefits.”

In its press release, EPA said:  “The agreement represents a major advance for Californians looking to buy safer children’s toys, personal care products, household cleaners and other products. By shifting the question of an ingredient’s toxicity to the product development stage, concerns raised by … consumers can be addressed early on. The approach results in safer ingredients, and provides an opportunity for California industry to once again demonstrate its innovative spirit by making products that meet consumer demand throughout the world.”

EPA and DTSC signed the agreement in a ceremony at California’s Kaiser Permanente Sidney R. Garfield Health Care Innovation Center in San Leandro. Kaiser Permanente is nationally recognized as an industry leader in safer products, using its purchasing power and a sustainability scorecard to press suppliers for safer chemicals in medical products. 

Reminder: Upcoming Workshop on California's Green Chemistry Regulations

Green Chemistry Regulations:

For readers interested in learning more about California’s latest revision of the so-called Green Chemistry Regulations, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is convening a public workshop on December 5, 2011, to discuss the latest proposal.  Details of the workshop are set out below.

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DTSC: Green Chemistry Initiative

Please join us for the Workshop on Safer Consumer Product Regulations:

December 5, 2011

9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Cal/EPA Headquarters Building

Byron Sher Auditorium

1001 “I” Street, 2nd Floor

Sacramento, CA 95814

As a reminder, if you have questions about the informal draft Safer Consumer Product regulations that you would like to have addressed at the workshop, please submit them via e-mail to gcregs@dtsc.ca.gov by November 28, 2011.  You may submit comments or questions in real time during the workshop and, as time allows, DTSC staff will read and respond to them aloud.  Submitting your questions in advance will ensure your questions will be addressed at the workshop.

Additionally, if you plan to speak at the workshop, please let us know by December 1, 2011, via e-mail at gcregs@dtsc.ca.gov.  Include in the e-mail: (1) affiliation, (2) subject of your comments/questions, and (3) the amount of time you are requesting.  This information will assist DTSC staff in planning the workshop and will place you in the speaker?s queue.  Please note, however, that DTSC cannot guarantee that each speaker will get the full amount of time requested. 

The December 5, 2011, Workshop Notice may be found at:

http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/LawsRegsPolicies/Regs/upload/SCP-Workshop-Notice-10312011.pdf

The regulations and other related documents may be found at:

http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/LawsRegsPolicies/Regs/SCPA.cfm  and http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/SCPRegulations.cfm