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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.