Cal/EPA Taking on Toxic Chemicals

The California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) on Jan. 31 released a compilation of policy options to reduce the impacts of toxic chemicals on public health and the environment. The Green Chemistry Phase 1 report is a comprehensive list of options that will be evaluated further this spring.

"The state's Green Chemistry Initiative will establish a first-of-its-kind comprehensive policy to foster a 'cradle-to-cradle' approach that promotes innovation and safer substitutes, creates new jobs and reduces toxic waste," said Linda Adams, secretary for Environmental Protection.

Adams announced the California Green Chemistry Initiative in May 2007, asking Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Director Maureen Gorsen to lead this groundbreaking effort. To evaluate the options outlined in the Phase 1 report, DTSC will host in-person workshops and Web forums.

The Phase 1 report identifies several key elements from the options submitted by manufacturers, industry, environmental groups, academics, labor organizations, and the public. The following key elements form the basis for each of the policy frameworks to be evaluated this spring:

1. Include Green Chemistry principles in the Education and the Environment Initiative.
2. Train a new generation of scientists, engineers, and technical workers.
3. Account for chemical toxicity and impacts in state procurement decisions.
4. Collect accurate and comprehensive chemical information.
5. Disseminate information on toxic chemicals.
6. Empower consumers to make informed choices.
7. Expand California's pollution prevention program.
8. Strengthen consumer protection laws.
9. Forge strategic international partnerships.

Cal/EPA is forming interagency teams to begin work on the key elements. The teams will work concurrently and will hold public workshops this spring.

For more information on the Green Chemistry Initiative, visit http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/PollutionPrevention/GreenChemistryInitiative.

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