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.