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Greener Chemistry is California's Dream

February 06, 2008

Source: Los Angeles Times

The state of California is aiming to reduce the prevalence of toxic chemicals used in consumer products from prescription drugs, plastic food packaging, pesticides, cosmetics and household cleaners.

After a UC Berkeley report last March found that the United States had fallen behind in protecting people and the environment from toxic chemicals, the California Environmental Protection Agency (an RPN member) jump-started a statewide effort to address the problem.  California EPA Secretary, Linda Adams, authorized the state Department of Toxic Substances Control to collect ideas from business leaders, scientists, environmentalists and academic experts for promoting "green chemistry."

A key component of the eight recommendations put forth is to alter the state's procurement process to take into account the environmental effects and "life cycle" costs when contracts are awarded and products purchased.  This could lead to, for example, the purchase of more fuel efficient vehicles and green cleaners.

Other priorities include creating incentives for scientists at state universities to design safer chemicals for industrial use, expanding state programs for helping businesses prevent pollution, and strengthening laws to protect consumers and disclosure toxic substances in products.

Said Maureen Gorsen, director of the Department of Toxic Substances Control: "We're trying to develop an entirely new state policy framework to move California to a . . . sustainable society. No government's ever done that."

source: Los Angeles Times

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