Executive Update

GMA Engages in Green Chemistry Activity

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 and federal legislation and regulations. 

Since the passage of Green Chemistry legislation in 2008, the momentum of the California Green Chemistry Initiative has increased and the process has shifted to implementation.  In December 2008, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released six major recommendations, two of which were embodied in the two bills that passed in 2008. The objective of the green chemistry bills is to significantly reduce adverse health and environmental impacts of chemicals used in California commerce.  

GMA’s Consumer Products Policy Committee continues to be actively engaged with the development process.  The California Green Chemistry Alliance(GCA) continues to meet on a regular basis as does the Food Packaging Coalition (FPC) and GMA continues to actively participate in workshops relevant to green chemistry.  

GMA has been advocating for several key concepts: risk-based prioritization; a qualitative “weight-of-evidence” approach to risk assessment; and restriction of scope to chemicals and intentionally added ingredients used in consumer products above a 0.1 percent (w/w) de minimis level.  Additionally, GMA proposes that uses of concern should be identified and prioritized prior to an alternatives assessment. 

Both DTSC and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) continue to work on drafting implementing regulations for both the Safer Consumer Product Alternatives and for the Toxics Information Clearinghouse (TIC). GMA is actively participating in the ongoing Green Ribbon Science Panel (GRSP) Subcommittee discussions, and face-to-face meetings held in May and then again in July.

GMA reached out to sister consumer products trade associations to form the Alternatives Analysis (AA) Industry Coalition, which meets regularly to discuss various AA frameworks and devise an approach that is flexible and amenable to industry needs. GMA also hosted an informal “industry-only” workshop in July to showcase best practices and ensure that any AA regulatory framework aligns with the product R&D paradigm.  GMA has developed a path forward on AA and has briefed the GCA and DTSC on the various aspects of the program. GMA continues to work with DTSC to educate and encourage it to adopt the AA format as presented by GMA.

On Sept 15, GMA and DTSC in collaboration with ACI, CSPA, PCPC, and TIA hosted the "Alternatives Analysis Symposium III: Industry Practices in Product Research and Development, an Alternatives Analysis!"

A 2008 Maine law requires the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in consultation with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, to publish a list of “chemicals of high concern.” 

GMA continued throughout the 2011 legislative session to work with the Maine Impacted Stakeholder Coalition, which collectively drafted a bill to reform the 2008 law. Following the bill’s introduction, it went through an extensive revision after a March hearing and was eventually approved by both chambers and signed into law. The underlying green chemistry framework remains in place and is a poor model that will likely continue to be used as the basis for legislative proposals throughout the nation.

The legislation has no practical effect on the existing regulatory processes already moving ahead in regard to BPA and nonylphenols, though it is possible that the DEP can be encouraged to re-examine the regulatory processes that were employed under the original law in light of the modest changes to the law.  GMA anticipates making a new effort at reform in the 2012 legislative session.

Legislation was introduced in the House and Senate that requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to publish lists of chemicals of concern and priority chemicals designated in accordance with specified criteria.

GMA testified against the bills in committee hearings in the House and Senate.  The fiscal note stated the new law would cost the state nearly $500,000 in FY 2013Due to the new and expansive nature of the law’s requirements and potentially comprehensive regulations, the committee took no further action on the legislation and the bills died.

Appropriations Chair Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw), a physician, held a press conference in January and said that a bipartisan package of green chemistry legislation would be introduced by the end of the month. The legislation would require large manufacturers and importers to disclose if they used chemicals on the list, perhaps via labels.  Kahn said the package would be similar to legislation introduced in the House last term.  That package of bills passed in the House, but the bills got tied up in the Senate Health Committee without receiving a hearing.

In 2008 Washington passed the Consumer Safety Protection Act (CSPA) directing the Department of Ecology to develop regulations implementing their green chemistry initiative.

GMA submitted final public comments seeking clarification as to the applicable products. GMA and the Department of Ecology discussed issues concerning scope, intentionally added ingredients, and de minimis thresholdsSubsequently the Department of Ecology notified GMA that food, food packaging, over the counter drugs, and medical devices regulated by FDA will not be part of the regulatory program.  The regulations will be limited to “intentionally-added ingredients” so long as manufacturers have QC/QA protocols in place to address “known” contaminants that are unintentionally present in the final product. The final rule was issued on July 21, 2011. GMA is reviewing the rule to ensure it is consistent with the agreements reached during the public process.