Reminder: Upcoming Teleconferences and Meetings of the DTSC Green Ribbon Science Panel

Green Chemistry:

Readers will recall that the Green Ribbon Science Panel convened on February 4, 2011 to discuss its role in advising DTSC on green chemistry matters.  During that call, the Panel agreed to arrange itself into three subcommittees to work on specific aspects of the Safer Consumer Product Alternative Regulations.  Below is an excerpt from the DTSC website describing each subcommittee and providing its upcoming teleconference schedule.  Also, the full Panel will convene in-person May 5 – 6, 2011. 

Although more focused attention by the Panel will be welcomed by some, the numerous teleconferences and meetings will make it incredibly difficult for stakeholders to remain actively engaged throughout the Panel’s deliberations.


GRSP Topic Subcommittees

The Green Ribbon Science Panel has formed three subcommittees to more deeply discuss issues related to DTSC’s Green Chemistry Program. The subcommittees will each meet via teleconference twice prior to the next scheduled meeting of the entire Panel (scheduled for May 5 and 6, 2011, in Sacramento). At that time, there will be a discussion of these issues by the entire GRSP. All GRSP subcommittee meetings are open to the public, and will include an opportunity for the public to make comments to the GRSP subcommittee.

Green Ribbon Science Panel Subcommittees

#1: Chemical Identification and Prioritization
(chaired by GRSP Co-Chair Ken Geiser, Ph.D.)

#2: Product Identification and Prioritization
(chaired by GRSP Co-Chair Debbie Raphael, M.A.)

#3: De Minimis and Unintentionally-Added Chemicals
(chaired by GRSP Co-Chair Bill Carroll, Ph.D.)

This subcommittee will meet:

  • April 4, 2011, from 9:30 to 12 noon Pacific Time. See the agenda and public notice.
  • April 13, 2011 (time and other details to be determined). 

This subcommittee will meet:

  • April 11, 2011 (time and other details to be determined).
  • April 19, 2011 (time and other details to be determined).

This subcommittee will meet:

  • April 6, 2011, from 9:30 to 12 noon Pacific Time. See the agenda and public notice.
  • April 18, 2011 (time and other details to be determined).

Subcommittee #1 members are:

  • Julia Quint, Ph.D.
  • George Daston, Ph.D.
  • Meg Schwarzman, M.D.
  • Julie Zimmerman, Ph.D.
  • Lauren Heine, Ph.D.
  • Art Fong, Ph.D.
  • Rich Liroff, Ph.D.
  • Tim Malloy, J.D.

Subcommittee #2 members are:

  • Bruce Cords, Ph.D.
  • Jae Choi, Ph.D.
  • Mike Kirschner
  • Scott Matthews, Ph.D.
  • Kelly Moran, Ph.D.
  • Dele Ogunseitan, Ph.D.
  • Julie Schoenung, Ph.D.
  • Roger McFadden
  • Mike Wilson, Ph.D.

Subcommittee #3 members are:

  • Ann Blake, Ph.D.
  • Tod Delaney, Ph.D.
  • Richard Denison, Ph.D.
  • Dale Johnson, Ph.D.
  • Bob Peoples, Ph.D.
  • Joe Guth, J.D., Ph.D.




Reminder: Fewer than Two Weeks Remaining to Complete Chemical Registrations in Turkey


There are fewer than two weeks remaining to complete registrations under Turkey’s new “Bylaw on the Inventory and Control of Chemicals.”  March 31, 2011, is the deadline for registering chemical substances imported or manufactured at or above 1 metric tonne per year.  Turkey’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) will use the information to establish a chemical inventory and regulate “priority chemicals.”  The bylaw is part of a suite chemical-related bylaws Turkey enacted in 2008 in preparation for joining the EU.  The other two bylaws concern safety data sheets (SDS) and the classification, labeling, and packaging (CLP) of dangerous substances and preparations.  A short summary of each bylaw is provided below.

Chemical Inventory and Control Bylaw

The registration requirements are set out in Articles 7 and 8.  Article 7 imposes substantial data requirements for substances imported or manufactured above 1,000 metric tonnes per year.  The information requirements for quantities below that threshold are minimal; they’re similar to the EU’s pre-registration requirements under REACh.  Turkey’s bylaw also provides exemptions similar to those available under REACh.  However, some of those are identified only in a guidance document currently available only in Turkish.  Lastly, registration is limited to Turkish entities, meaning that some companies will need to use an Only Representative (OR) to perform the registration, should one be required. 

SDS and CLP Bylaws

Turkey also enacted bylaws concerning the classification, labeling, and packaging of dangerous substances and preparations, as well as the preparation and distribution of Safety Data Sheets.  The classification and labeling requirements are based on the EU’s Dangerous Substances and Preparations Directives.  The SDS requirements are similar to the EU’s, but a person certified by Turkish authorities must prepare the SDS and submit it electronically to MoEF.  

* * * *

Additional information about Turkey’s new bylaws is available here.

Chemical Heritage Foundation Posts the Video from its TSCA Reform Event


The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) posted the video from its recent event on the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the primary federal statute governing the safety of chemicals in U.S. commerce.  Readers less familiar with CHF should know that it is a Philadelphia-based non-profit that aims to foster an understanding of chemistry’s impact on society.  CHF is currently completing an oral history project on the statute’s evolution from legislative proposal through implementation and now reform.  The project has required CHF to interview various persons, including former EPA officials, responsible for key aspects of that evolution.  The March 3 event, entitled “TSCA: From Inception to Reform, a Public Dialogue,” was an outgrowth of the oral history project.

The event featured a panel of five former administrators in the EPA office responsible for implementing the statute at various times since its enactment in 1976. They included James V. Aidala, Charles M. Auer, Charles L. Elkins, Mark A. Greenwood, and Glenn E. Schweitzer.  Each panelist discussed the statute’s perceived strengths and weaknesses, major accomplishments achieved under it, and some of the ways in which Congress could address the perceived weaknesses in future legislative amendments.  Afterward, they answered questions from the audience.

The event was a terrific success.  For readers unable to attend, more information about CHF, its oral history project, and the video recording are available here.

EPA's Chemical Screening Gets a Big Boost – From a Robot!

Chemical Screening:

On March 10, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially launched a robust new tool for screening chemicals for health and environmental hazards.  It’s a robot called the Tox21 Robotic Testing System, or “ToRTS” for readers preferring acronyms.  Robots have been used previously for chemical testing, but ToRTs appears to be one of the bigger systems.  EPA says it will use the robot to test 10,000 different chemicals for potential toxicity.  A video of the robot is available here.

ToRTS is located at the National Institutes for Health (NIH) Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC) in Rockville, MD.  It is part of the Tox21 project, which merges existing agency resources (research, funding, and testing tools) to develop ways to more effectively predict how chemicals will affect human health and the environment. The ToRTS system marks the beginning of a new phase of the Tox21 collaboration, which aims to working to protect human health by improving how chemicals are tested in the United States.

Tox21 was established in 2008 between the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Toxicology Program (NTP), the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), and the EPA.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) joined in 2010.  More information on Tox21 is available here

EU Environmental Law Group Releases Reports on Member State Implementation and Enforcement of REACh


The EU public interest environmental law group, ClientEarth, recently released a series of progress reports summarizing Member State activities under the European Union (EU) regulation: Registration, Evaluation, and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACh).  Each report reviews a different Member State’s efforts to implement and enforce REACh.  Reports also are available for three non-Member State countries that have enacted REACh – Lichtenstein, Norway, and Iceland.

The reports are essentially responses to a lengthy questionnaire from the European Commission.  Activities reviewed include communications between Member State authorities and EU authorities, such as the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA); operation of the national helpdesks; development and promotion of alternative test methods; participation on REACH committees; evaluation of substances; preparation of Annex XV dossiers; and details concerning enforcement-related activities, such as inspections and the imposition of sanctions.  The reports may prove useful to companies wanting insight into the level and types of enforcement activity occurring within the countries regulating their operations.

ClientEarth received the reports through a public records request, insisting that their broad dissemination was necessary “so that [the public] can know if REACH is really working.” (Critics probably think they know the answer already.)  The reports are available here.