Reminder: Upcoming DTSC Workshops on Draft Green Chemistry Regulation for Safer Consumer Products

Green Chemistry:

This evening, the California DTSC circulated the following reminder about its upcoming workshops seeking public comment on the Draft Green Chemistry Regulation for Safer Consumer Products.   These should be interesting events, which I plan to report on in a future post.  Stay tuned!

“DTSC: Green Chemistry Initiative 

Your Input is invited on the Draft Regulation for Safer Consumer Products at 2 workshops scheduled for July 7 and July 8, 2010 in Sacramento and via webcast.  Both workshops will be held in the Cal/EPA Building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, Byron Sher Auditorium during the following times:

July 7, 2010, 8:30 – 12:00 PDT

July 8, 2010, 1:30 – 5 PDT

Participants are also invited to join via webcast at: http://www.calepa.ca.gov/Broadcast/

The workshop agenda, draft regulation and information on additional opportunities for public input are available at:

http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/PollutionPrevention/GreenChemistryInitiative/gc_draft_regs.cfm

EPA Recognizes Recipients of 2010 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

Green Chemistry:

This past Monday, June 21, at the Ronald Reagan Center in Washington, DC, EPA held the 2010 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony.   This year’s winners include BASF; The Dow Chemical Company; Merck & Co., Inc.; Codexis, Inc.; Clarke; LS9, Inc.; and James C. Liao, Ph.D.  Additional details regarding the Challenge Awards Program and this year’s winners are provided below.

Background on the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program

For those readers that are less familiar with the Challenge Awards Program, EPA offers the following description on its website:

“The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program is an opportunity for individuals, groups, and organizations to compete for annual awards in recognition of innovations in cleaner, cheaper, smarter chemistry. The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program provides national recognition of outstanding chemical technologies that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, and use, and that have been or can be utilized by industry in achieving their pollution prevention goals.

The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program invites nominations that describe the technical benefits of a green chemistry technology as well as human health and environmental benefits. The Awards Program is open to individuals, groups, and nongovernmental organizations, both nonprofit and for profit. The nominated green chemistry technology must have reached a significant milestone within the past five years in the United States (e.g., been researched, demonstrated, implemented, applied, patented, etc.).

Nominations received for the awards are judged by an independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute. Typically five awards are given annually to industry and government sponsors, an academic investigator, and a small business.”

According to EPA, the awards are typically granted in the following five categories:

  • Small Business: A small business* for a green chemistry technology in any of the three focus areas.
  • Academic: An academic investigator for a technology in any of the three focus areas.
  • Focus Area 1: An industry sponsor for a technology that uses greener synthetic pathways.
  • Focus Area 2: An industry sponsor for a technology that uses greener reaction conditions.
  • Focus Area 3: An industry sponsor for a technology that includes the design of greener chemicals.

* A small business is defined here as one with annual sales of less than $40 million, including all domestic and foreign sales by the company, its subsidiaries, and its parent company.

This Year’s Winners by Category

EPA’s website list this year’s winners, a summary of their innovations and their benefits, as well as a podcast overview of each innovation that is narrated by Dr. Richard Engler of EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics.  The winners include:

  • Greener Synthetic Pathways Award
    The Dow Chemical Company
    BASF
    Innovative, Environmentally Benign Production of Propylene Oxide via Hydrogen Peroxide (summary / podcast)
  • Greener Reaction Conditions Award
    Merck & Co., Inc.
    Codexis, Inc.
    Greener Manufacturing of Sitagliptin Enabled by an Evolved Transaminase (summary / podcast)
  • Designing Greener Chemicals Award
    Clarke
    NatularTM Larvicide: Adapting Spinosad for Next-Generation Mosquito Control (summary / podcast)
  • Small Business Award
    LS9, Inc.
    Microbial Production of Renewable PetroleumTM Fuels and Chemicals (summary / podcast)
  • Academic Award
    James C. Liao, Ph.D.
    Easel Biotechnologies, LLC
    University of California, Los Angeles
    Recycling Carbon Dioxide to Biosynthesize Higher Alcohols (summary / podcast)

Review of the ABA Conference: "Chemicals Regulation: REACHing for TSCA Reform"

TSCA Reform, Green Chemistry:

Last week, on Friday, June 11, I attended the ABA conference: “Chemicals Regulation:  REACHing for TSCA Reform.”  In my opinion, the conference was a success.  It was well-attended by a range of stakeholders and the speakers’ topics were generally interesting.  Blake Biles did a fantastic job in his opening remarks setting the context in which TSCA was passed in 1976 and the challenges that EPA has faced implementing the statue.  All in all, I think the conference was worth the investment.

The conference provided a brief overview of the Congressional bills to modify TSCA and more detail regarding the role of states in chemicals regulation, the recent green chemistry initiatives, and some of the legal issues that go beyond regulatory compliance.  If anyone would like a copy of the agenda, which includes a biography (of sorts) of supplementary reading material, please let me know.  The suite of conference materials is probably available from the ABA.

I was a little disappointed that the speakers did not cover the mechanics of the new bills in any detail, however.  Presumably this was because they felt that it was premature to do so. In other words, they probably expect the final legislation to differ from what’s currently proposed. Based on what I’m hearing, I would generally agree with that conclusion. However, the recent convergence of chemical industry executives on Capitol Hill suggests that there may be some residual concern about the bills passing this session in something similar to their present form, so more discussion of the mechanics would have been helpful to some attendees, I’m sure.

Reminder: June 9 California DTSC Symposium on Alternatives Analysis

Green Chemistry:

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is convening a symposium tomorrow on alternatives analysis in Sacramento and via webcast.  The DTSC reminder for the symposium is set out below.

“DTSC: Green Chemistry Initiative

There is still time to join the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the outstanding slate of speakers gathered for Alternatives Analysis Symposium I: Issues and Evolution, Capitalizing on Success tomorrow, June 9, 2010, in Sacramento and via web cast. We will expand the dialogue on the alternatives analysis process for chemicals used in consumer products – a core element of the California Green Chemistry Initiative – and identify opportunities for chemical alternatives analysis through the lens of organizations implementing successful policies and programs.

Presenters include:

Jay Bolus – McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC); Clive Davies – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Design for the Environment (DfE) program Lauren Heine, Ph.D. – Clean Production; Action Libby Sommer – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, DfE program; Alex Stone, Sc.D. – Washington State Department of Ecology; Donald J. Versteeg, Ph.D. – Procter & Gamble.

Join us for any or all in the Byron Sher Auditorium inside the Cal/EPA Headquarters Building or via web cast.  See the agenda, download presentations, register and find web cast information at: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/PollutionPrevention/GreenChemistryInitiative/Alternative-Analysis-1-Symposium.cfm.”

California Non-Profit Formed to Certify the Sustainability of Products

Green Chemisty:

On May 20, 2010, Google held a public event at its headquarters in Mountain View, California to announce the launch of the non-profit, the Green Products Innovation Institute (GPII).  Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, several top Google executives, and other notables attended the event.  The Institute was formed to help companies comply with California’s Green Chemistry Initiative, as well as to advance the safety and sustainability of consumer products generally.  The Institute will certify products meeting certain criteria and will provide a publicly-accessible database to help companies identify alternatives to chemicals of potential concern.

GPII appears to enjoy the support of California regulators and several large companies, and its work programs are responsive to current market demands, so readers of this blog may want to follow GPII and its initiatives.  Whether the Institute will succeed in accomplishing its larger goals or instead merely implement a program with niche appeal remains to be seen.  Further details about GPII are set out below.

Product Certification

GPII will use the so-called “cradle-to-cradle” (C2C) framework developed by William McDonough and Michael Braungart of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) to establish a rating system. Products meeting the rating system’s criteria will receive the Institute’s C2C certification mark, indicating that the product has been designed or re-designed for sustainability.  GPII will train assessors, called “Licensed Assessment Partners (LAPs),” to assist companies in complying with protocol and meeting the ratings criteria, but also to advise on compliance with California’s Green Chemistry regulations.  LAPs will submit their product assessments to GPII for review and approval before the Institute will issue the C2C certifications.

The C2C framework is intended to reduce waste through innovative product design.  The goal is to enable product components and end-of-life products to be capable of use as raw materials for other products or as nutrients for ecosystems.  The framework has five criteria that GPII’s rating system will build upon.  Products will be evaluated for compliance with criteria in each of the following categories:  (1) safe and appropriately sourced materials; (2) material reutilization; (3) renewable energy; (4) access to and release of abundant, clean water; and (5) social responsibility.  After the GPII has rated a product and issued the C2C certification, the Institute will continue to work with a company to identify opportunities for improvement across each of the five categories.

Public Database

In addition to its product certification, GPII is developing a database that tracks product chemical data and also creates a list of “positive” alternative chemicals, materials, and processes.   According to GPII’s website, the database is intended to help companies reformulate or retool to create new products and to augment the Toxics Information Clearinghouse being developed by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) as part of California’s Green Chemistry Initiative.  DTSC and the California Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA) have expressed interest in using the database to help provide stakeholders with data on the toxicity characteristics of chemicals and materials used in products.

The database will be compiled from information companies share with the Institute about the chemicals and materials, along with manufacturing processes, used to produce their products.  The database will be partially proprietary, and partially collaborative and public.  The proprietary portion consists of a detailed review of the makeup of a product.  The characteristics of individual chemicals and materials, disassociated from product formulations, will become public.  It’s not clear from GPII’s website whether receipt of the C2C product certification will be conditioned on reaching an agreement to publicly share data.

* * * *

Additional information about GPII is available here.

Upcoming ABA-UM Law Conference on TSCA Reform in Baltimore, MD

TSCA Reform:

38th National Spring Conference on the Environment

Chemicals Regulation: REACHing For TSCA Reform

Date:   June 11, 2010

Enacted in 1976, the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) is the primary means by which the United States regulates commercial chemicals. Although intended to be ambitious in scope, TSCA has proven to be a poor regulatory framework and generally is considered inadequate. In the 33 years since its enactment, advances in toxicology and analytical chemistry have raised new questions about the effects of certain chemicals on human health and the environment. These questions have left the public anxious and confused about the safety of myriad different products. Technology seems to have outstripped the regulatory regime.

There is a growing national consensus that the United States needs to modernize its chemical management law. In recent years, individual states have entered what they perceive to be a regulatory vacuum, raising the prospect of an inconsistent regulatory patchwork. The European Union’s recently enacted REACH initiative has dramatically expanded the regulatory compliance obligations for United States companies doing business in the EU. Moreover, the Obama Administration has identified risk-based chemical regulation as one of its environmental priorities. While affirming the Administration’s commitment to green innovation, U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson also has called on Congress to grant the Agency new enforcement authority and has proposed a new funding mechanism for generating the information necessary to assess chemical safety. Recent high-profile Congressional hearings also underscore the momentum for change. It is very likely that both Houses of Congress will take up the issue of TSCA reform in the next turn.

This 38th National Spring Conference on the Environment addresses the question of chemical management regulation. Featuring prominent federal, state, and private-sector experts at the center of the emerging proposals for TSCA reform, the day-long conference will provide a wide-ranging discussion about the unprecedented opportunities and challenges inherent in crafting a national regulatory framework capable of ensuring public and environmental safety while also promoting green-chemistry innovation. The conference will consider the legal implications of regulatory change and will focus on the key policy choices at the heart of the reform process.

Keynote presentations from the primary initiator of TSCA and the Senior U.S. EPA Policy Advisor responsible for the Agency’s current TSCA efforts will add unique and timely perspectives to this critical set of discussions.

Program Co-Chairs
Rebecca M. Bratspies • Sara K. Orr
Blake A. Biles

This conference is hosted by the University of Maryland of Maryland School of Law and takes place in the Ceremonial Moot Court Room at the Nathan Patz Law Center, 500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland.

http://new.abanet.org/committees/environmental/Pages/38thNationalSpringConference.aspx

Upcoming Meeting of California's Green Ribbon Science Panel

Green Chemistry – California:

For those readers interested in learning more about California’s Green Chemistry Initiative and the State’s draft regulations for safer products, you might be interested in participating via webcast in the upcoming Green Ribbon Science Panel’s meeting where the regulations will be discussed.

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) just circulated the following reminder to its listserv:

“DTSC will convene the Green Ribbon Science Panel (GRSP) on May 12 – 13, 2010 to receive input on the outline of the Draft Regulations for Safer Products and on concepts to expand DTSC’s pollution prevention program as addressed in the California Green Chemistry Initiative Final Report. The meeting will be held in Sacramento and be available via webcast.

May 12, 2010, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. PDT May 13, 2010, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. PDT

See information about the GRSP, the agenda, how to participate and provide input at:

http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/PollutionPrevention/GreenChemistryInitiative/GreenRibbon.cfm

. . . .

The meeting will be webcast at: http://www.dgs.ca.gov/Webcasts.htm

To view and comment on the outline of the Draft Regulations for Safer Products go to: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/PollutionPrevention/GreenChemistryInitiative/safer_products_regs_outline.cfm

To subscribe to or unsubscribe from the DTSC Green Chemistry Initiative Listserv or other Listservs, please go to http://www.calepa.ca.gov/listservs/dtsc.  For information on DTSC`s Green Chemistry Initiative, go to http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/PollutionPrevention/GreenChemistryInitiative/index.cfm

14th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

Green Chemistry:

The American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute (ACS GCI) will hold the 14th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Washington, D.C. on June 21 – 23, 2010.  Pasted below is a summary of the conference, excerpted from the ACS GCI website.  For more information, follow the link embedded below the summary.

“The 14th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference returns to downtown Washington, DC.  With the theme “Innovation and Application” and with one of the renowned founders of green chemistry, Dr. John Warner (President and CTO, Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry) as the chair, this conference is shaping up to be one you won’t want to miss! Confirmed keynote speakers include the popular environmentalist, entrepreneur and author Paul Hawken; 2005 Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Robert Grubbs; Senior Vice President of Research and Technology at 3M, Mr. Steven Webster; and US Congressman John Tierney (D-MA), co-sponsor of the “Green Jobs Act.”

Schedule

(subject to change)

Monday

  • Keynote address presented by Paul Hawken (renowned environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author who leads the Highwater Research LLC and Natural Capital Institute)
  • Technical Sessions
  • Exhibits
  • Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Ceremony (pre-registration required)

Tuesday

  • Technical Sessions
  • Luncheon with guest speaker US Congressman John Tierney (D-MA, co-sponsor of the “Green Jobs Act”)
  • Keynote address presented by Robert Grubbs, 2005 Nobel Prize winner
  • Poster Session
  • Exhibits
  • Reception

Wednesday

  • Keynote address presented by Mr. Steven Webster (Senior Vice President Research and Technology Commercialization, 3M)
  • Technical Sessions
  • Exhibits
  • Closing session keynote address presented by Dr. John Warner (President and CTO, Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry)

Thursday

  • Student Workshop (pre-registration required)”

http://acswebcontent.acs.org/gcande/

Welcome!

Welcome to the Green Chemistry Law Report, a legal blog produced by Verdant Law, PLLC, a boutique environmental and sustainability law firm in Washington, D.C.  Although located in the United States capital, Verdant has a global perspective, providing high-quality, personalized legal services to domestic and foreign clients on matters at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as those arising internationally.

Green Chemistry and Chemicals Management is one of the Firm’s principal areas of practice.  Because this is a rapidly evolving area, articles and conference speeches are not as well-suited to a timely discussion of the issues as a legal blog is.  Therefore, the Firm is launching the Green Chemistry Law Report to provide timely, in-depth coverage of regulatory issues concerning chemicals and products, and hopefully serve as a forum for discussing them.  Here you will find analysis and commentary on the latest legal and regulatory developments, as well as notices about news and events. Some of the topics the Report will cover include:

  • TSCA Reform,
  • REACh,
  • Product stewardship,
  • CEPA, 1999 and
  • California’s Green Chemistry Initiative.

So, check back frequently and actively participate.  And again, Welcome to the Green Chemistry Law Report!