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California Governor Signs Two Green Chemistry Bills

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills moving the state toward a comprehensive green chemistry program to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals in products and the environment.

AB 1879 is jointly authored by Assemblymembers Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and co-authored by Assemblymembers Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim) and Senators Simitian and Ron Calderon (D-Montebello). SB 509 by Simitian was co-authored by Assemblymember Feuer and Senator Ron Calderon.

AB 1879 establishes authority for the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to develop regulations that create a process for identifying and prioritizing chemicals of concern and to create methods for analyzing alternatives to existing hazardous chemicals. It also allows DTSC to take certain actions following an assessment that range from no action to restrictions or bans.

The bill also establishes a Green Ribbon Science Panel made up of experts to provide advice on scientific matters, chemical policy recommendations and implementation strategies, as well as ensuring implementation efforts are based on a strong scientific foundation. Moreover, it expands the role of the Environmental Policy Council, made up of the heads of all California Environmental Protection Agency boards and departments, to oversee critical activities related to the implementation of the green chemistry program.

SB 509 creates an online Toxics Information Clearinghouse, a web-based database, to increase consumer knowledge about the toxicity and hazards of thousands of chemicals used in California every day.

This bi-partisan package of environmental legislation propels California to the forefront of the nation and the world with the most comprehensive Green Chemistry program ever established. It also puts an end to the less effective chemical-by-chemical bans of the past. With these two bills, we will stop looking at toxics as an inevitable byproduct of industrial production. Instead they will be something that can be removed from every product in the design stage-protecting people’s health and our environment. I am excited to lead this effort, which will spur a new era of research and innovation and promises to drive economic growth and competition in the green chemistry sector.

—Governor Schwarzenegger

At the Governor’s request, the Secretary for Environmental Protection has established a Green Chemistry Initiative to develop policy options for implementing a green chemistry program. Instead of making chemical policy through the Legislature on a case-by-case basis, the goal of this initiative is to work with scientists from California and around the world to evaluate the health effects of chemicals and possible alternatives with a systematic and comprehensive approach that is science-based. AB 1879 and SB 509 build on this initiative and contain provisions to implement two of six key recommendations from the upcoming Green Chemistry Initiative - Phase Two Report to be released later this fall.


Henry Gibson

There is not one substance on the face of the earth that is not toxic under some cicumstances. Long before passing a bill of this type, all tobacco products should have been prohibited. The government of California should read the constitution about restricting the products from other states. There are many atoms and molecules that have valuable uses and can be used relatively safely and could prevent the illness and demise of more people than could be prevented by forbidding its use. Lead pipes are an example. Lead pipes used in Africa would not cause the early demise of one person a year, but their use to prevent drinking contaminated water would save hundreds of thousands. About five thousand children a day are fatally attacked by malaria. At least one fifth of these could be prevented by small amounts of DDT inside their huts. ..HG..


somehow i don't think that using lead pipes is the proper solution to the clean drinking water problems.

personally i think this is great, especially the information clearinghouse which will be accessible via the web – as everything should be in this day and age. hopefully the interface for it will be easy to use...


Sounds good to me!


This is so long overdue.
Substances such as Red dye 40 should not be used in foods, especially children's foods. They are only added for their color, to make things more 'alluring', but they have adverse effects on health.
Toilet bowl cleaners should not contain toxic chemicals that take decades to degrade and poison the environment.
Henry G. Things are diffeent in the 3rd world. Let's concentrate on cleaning up the mess we're creating here first. The fact that ddt would saves lives in africa does not mean it should be used in california...totally different circumstances.


North America DDT was outlawed in the late 60s because it was shown to cause serious damage to nesting bird populations amongst other things. The idea of introducing it elsewhere in the world is ludicrous unless there is no wildlife or human life there. Better to focus on other methods of mosquito control than to dredge up an old school pesticide that's been condemned for fifty years now.

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