GMA is working with a number of different state regulatory agencies to ensure that rational, scientific and effective risk based approaches to chemicals management and assessment are embodied in state legislations and regulations, that informed decision-making is the centerpiece of alternatives assessment, that regulatory approaches do not fuel retailer, consumer or shareholder concerns about specific chemicals and that the proliferation of chemicals management legislation at the state and local level is effectively and efficiently addressed.
Since a myriad of Green Chemistry proposals or systems varying state by state would only introduce a patchwork quilt of chemicals regulations, GMA supports chemicals policy reform at the federal level. Chemicals management is a national issue, not limited to any single state.
Ensuring the safety of our products is the single most important goal of the consumer products industry. Product safety is the foundation of consumer trust, and our industry devotes substantial resources towards achieving this goal. GMA maintains that Confidential Business Information (CBI) protection is imperative to promote innovation for the benefit of the consumer, and to protect the intellectual property of a company's R&D program.
There is a broad movement at the state level to establish a precautionary approach to regulating chemicals. A key campaign strategy of environmental and consumer groups on this issue is to focus on chemicals used, often at very low levels, in consumer products and food and beverage packaging. Instead of continuing to ban one chemical at a time, California enacted two “Green Chemistry” laws in 2008 that take a more comprehensive approach, requiring ways to reduce the effects of chemicals on people and the environment. Maine and Washington also enacted their “Green Chemistry” law in 2008 while Minnesota passed green chemistry legislation in 2009. Existing and proposed uses of chemicals will be assessed, based on those chemicals identified as high priority. The intent is to eliminate or significantly reduce certain chemicals and specific uses of concern, and promote “safer” substitutes.
In 2009, California and Maine began developing detailed regulations to implement these new laws. In 2010, Maine adopted as final rule their broader framework, and soon after designated BPA as their first priority chemical for further evaluation. California took a more thorough approach, and hosted numerous workshops, symposia, and provided many opportunities for interested stakeholders to comment over the course of 3 years, to help develop their framework. California continues to work on their regulations in 2011. The California framework will be the most comprehensive, and will most likely serve as a model for other states and federal law. Washington finalized their implementing regulations July 2011. Minnesota is only required to have a list of chemicals of high concern by July 2010, and a list of priority chemicals by February 2011.
GMA Contact: Manojit Basu, Ph.D. - Technical Lead, Consumer Product Safety & Regulatory Affairs