California Becoming Green Chemistry Leader With EU-Style Regulation

California is working on a systematic solution to the problem of hazardous materials in consumer products. The deal would allow state oversight of chemicals in California. Here's a good example of why new legislative authority is needed. According to the Sacramento Bee, Maureen Gorsen, director of the Calif. Department of Toxic Substances Control said:

"We have lunchboxes that contain lead. When you throw them out, we can treat them as hazardous waste. But a kid could eat out of it every day ... and there's not much we can do about it right now."

The proposed measure has "green chemistry" as a backdrop; with a 2011 deadline to have "Systems in Place." The docket includes giving the state the power to regulate - or ban if needed - chemicals that pose unacceptable risk in consumer products; a state-run Web site where consumers can search for information on chemical hazards; and a scientific advisory panel, a so-called "Green Ribbon" panel.

The California DTSC, the Green Chemistry Initiative's implementing agency states:

This new approach is similar to measures adopted by the European Union and the Canadian government to encourage greater manufacturer responsibility.
Hopefully the drafters of the legislation will have a way to prevent subversion of legislative intent by packing the "Green Ribbon" panel with members not supportive of Green Chemistry principles, something that could easily happen in a future administration. They seem to have alredy made a good tactical choice by inviting panel members from all over the USA.

Another risk to the program would be for lobbyists to push for an override at the Federal level--which is what happened with Clean Air Act regulations in 2007. That risk is pretty hard to prevent, but who knows what they might come up with?

Image credit::California Green Chemistry Initiative, Earthflask

Via::Sacramento Bee
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