January 30, 2012
Approximately 27 trillion pounds of chemicals are produced or imported into the United States every year, more than one trillion of them in California alone. In the face of relative inaction at the federal level, state governments have moved to address hazardous chemical use. Our third Pritzker Brief evaluates California's green chemistry legislation (AB 1879).
California’s green chemistry program would shift the focus in chemical regulation to alternatives analysis. This means the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) would be tasked with identifying and prioritizing products containing chemicals of concern. Then product and chemical manufacturers would be required to determine the relative safety and viability of potential substitutes for those priority chemicals of concern. DTSC reviews these alternatives analyses and develops regulatory responses to limit use of the priority chemical accordingly. Unlike TSCA, California’s program would shift much of the analysis burden to producers and manufacturers, encouraging them to design safer products and taking advantage of their existing chemical expertise. Professor Malloy’s four key recommendations seek to improve the implementation and effectiveness of California’s green chemistry program: