Green Chemistry and Safer Consumer Products

Californian Green Chemistry Program

CHANGE has always been invested in the potential of the California Green Chemistry Initiative because it holds solutions to the legacy of contamination that our communities confront daily. CHANGE continues to put into practice a move upstream in the way we produce things at the same time that we must find better ways to restore front-line communities’ soil, air, and water systems.  CHANGE believes that Green Chemistry and the emerging practices of clean production must be rooted in justice and solving the legacy of contamination of the past. 

From the outset of the Green Chemistry Program, environmental justice and worker health and safety advocates were concerned about the program not going far and fast enough upstream. 

The Green Chemistry Program could provide a unique opportunity to shift to a cradle to cradle economy and should be part of our larger efforts to de-carbonize, detoxify and democratize our economy, but that will only happen with  bold leadership, strong community engagement and most importantly agency accountability. However, the Green Chemistry Program lacks a coherent long term strategy, strong coordination, funding, and linkage to other Department of  Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) programs like pollution prevention and permitting.  Additionally, funding for this program must not come at the expense of other programs, which speaks to the need to fix DTSC overall structure, because both of the department’s funding sources are in deficit and are not sufficient.

Safer Consumer Products

On the Safer Consumer Products regulation, DTSC has focused primarily on identifying a candidate chemicals list based on their potential to cause harm yet little has been done to address the urgency to invest in safer alternatives that can start shifting our economy towards a just transition.  

We strongly support reorienting the Safer Consumer Products and Green Chemistry programs towards adopting a more environmental justice based approach that moves faster upstream. We request that the State of California dedicate substantial resources to explore how to close the innovation, safety and data gaps and promote a green economy by working directly with impacted communities. We ask DTSC to promote partnerships between Environmental Justice communities, green chemistry innovators, workers, and a broad range of industries, so we can begin to  identify, develop, and implement clean production practices that can provide real opportunities to de-carbonize and detoxify our communities while creating new economic opportunities.