State environmental commissioners pass resolution supporting National Pollution Prevention Roundtable’s 2025 Safer Chemistry Industry Challenge Program

Here’s the full text of the resolution:

ON CHEMICALS PRIORITIZATION AND THE SAFER CHEMISTRY CHALLENGE PROGRAM

WHEREAS, the 2011 International Year of Chemistry established by the United Nations commemorates the achievements of chemistry; and

WHEREAS, raising awareness of chemistry among the general public to attract young people into the field, as well as highlighting the role of chemistry in solving global problems is critical; and

WHEREAS, the chemical industry is responsible for significant improvements to the health and well being of all Americans and for people around the world, and is vital to the U.S. economy by providing hundreds of thousands of jobs and supplying hundreds of products; and

WHEREAS, there are increasing concerns about the safety of chemicals in commerce and an overwhelming agreement on the need to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures brought thousands of people from across the United States to create an Action Agenda to help governments strengthen efforts to protect the public from harmful chemical exposures; and

WHEREAS, people expect to be kept safe from harmful chemical exposures and recognize the urgency to protect children and other vulnerable populations and the environment; and

WHEREAS, workers have the greatest risk of industrial chemical exposure given their proximity to chemicals in the workplace, often in high concentrations; and

WHEREAS, many businesses are working to achieve high levels of environmental compliance and performance through sustainable business practices to remain competitive in the global marketplace; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. EPA’s National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP) reduced 42 million pounds of chemicals in partnership with more than 280 public and private organizations; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention intends to identify priority chemicals for review and possible risk management action under TSCA, and supports enhanced chemicals management and design for environment (DfE) programs to assess the full life-cycle risks posed by the use of toxic chemicals in products; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office has awarded a grant to the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) to conduct business technical assistance to reduce the use of priority chemicals of concern through source reduction with a goal to prevent at least 2 million pounds of toxic chemicals from entering the Great Lakes ecosystem; and

WHEREAS, alternatives assessment is a process of identifying and comparing potential chemical and non-chemical alternatives to a chemical of concern to facilitate informed substitution; and

WHEREAS, pollution prevention can achieve toxics use reduction, promote green chemistry and engineering, and provide educational and economic opportunities to develop safer chemicals, processes and products; and

WHEREAS, states, universities, and businesses play an important role in implementing pollution prevention programs, voluntary initiatives, and technical assistance services, including providing assistance to small businesses.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

ECOS member states should actively participate in U.S. EPA’s process for identifying priority chemicals for review and assessment, including providing input on data sources for prioritization. States should provide input on sources of hazard data sources and risk data sources to assist U.S. EPA in selecting specific chemicals from the initial group for further assessment. U.S. EPA’s identification process is outlined here: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/chempridiscguide.html.

ECOS state members, led by the Great Lakes region, support collaborative efforts to work with the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable and other organizations to support the 2025 Safer Chemistry Industry Challenge Program with a goal to reduce the use of chemicals of concern by 25% using 2005 use as a baseline.

To the extent possible, states should work in partnership with industry sectors or individual facilities to target chemicals of concern to promote the substitution of hazardous chemicals with less toxic alternatives, green chemistry, research and development, recognition programs, and public education.

ECOS requests the Administrator of the U.S. EPA to endorse and fund toxic use reduction efforts through the State Performance Partnership Agreements, state pollution prevention grants, and public-private partnership efforts.

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