Lawmakers, Researchers, Doctors Reject Schwarzenegger’s Flawed Green Chemistry Proposal

For Immediate Release

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Contact: 

Renee Sharp, (510) 444-0973 x302 or renee@ewg.org

Lawmakers, Researchers, Doctors Reject Schwarzenegger’s Flawed Green Chemistry Proposal

Legislation’s Author Pulls Support

OAKLAND, Calif. - Lawmakers, public health advocates, scientists, public utility
managers and medical doctors are demanding that California Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger withdraw his administration's proposed Green Chemistry
regulations.

An earlier version of the regulations had the qualified support of a
broad array of stakeholders, but the state Department of Toxics
Substances Control (DTSC) gutted the proposed rules at the last minute,
prompting key creators and supporters of the California Green Chemistry
Initiative to withdraw their endorsement.

Among those now calling for withdrawal of the proposed regulations
are: Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-L.A.), author of the California Green
Chemistry law (AB 1879) that created the program; the two lead authors
of a 2008 University of California report titled Green Chemistry:
Cornerstone to a Sustainable California; and several members of the
Green Ribbon Science Panel that was overseeing development of the
regulations.

"The revised proposal not only fails to address the flaws of the
earlier version but compounds them by fundamentally altering the
approach called for under legislation I authored," Feuer wrote in a Dec.
3 letter to the Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Thirty-three organizations wrote to the governor on Tuesday (Dec. 14)
calling on him to "take immediate action to stop implementation of the
draft regulations" because they do not meet the intent of the Green
Chemistry legislation and no longer have the support of the scientific,
environmental, and public health communities or the state's academic and
legislative green chemistry champions.

The law mandates that the regulations be completed by Jan. 1, 2011.
Missing this deadline would be unfortunate, but implementing the
regulations in their current form would have even graver implications.

"It would be better for the people of California if Governor
Schwarzenegger left this on the governor-elect's plate instead of moving
forward with this half-baked proposal that will continue to expose
families to dangerous chemicals," said Renee Sharp, director of EWG's
California office.

Among other defects, the new regulations would:

-- set an extremely high bar for the state to take action on a
dangerous chemical by requiring proof of harm, which can be difficult to
demonstrate when a substance causes subtle changes such as
irregularities in infant brain development

-- expand the loophole for proprietary information so that chemical
makers can shield even more data on safety testing than current law
allows

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

-- exempt from regulation chemicals found in concentrations of less than 1,000 parts per million

-- fail to provide credible independent scientific review of
chemical manufacturers' assessments of alternatives to chemicals under
scrutiny

-- offer no fast track to get particularly dangerous chemicals out of products

-- limit the jurisdiction of the California Department of Toxics
Substances Control to three narrow categories of products until 2016

-- place off-limits chemicals that other federal or state programs regulate

-- exempt nanomaterials from regulation

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The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. EWG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles.

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