Round And Round it Goes

In 2008, then-Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law the Green Chemistry Initiative, a bipartisan bill package that created a first-in-the-nation environmental regulatory program, including a requirement for manufacturers to determine whether alternatives can replace chemical ingredients designated by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).

The Green Chemistry Initiative was supposed to be a scientifically based approach to identifying chemical ingredients that should potentially be regulated.

Where It Stops Next...

Instead of relying on science, the Green Chemistry Initiative seems to have become a process directed by politics and public perception. DTSC's approach has caused consumer confusion and unjustified de-selection of products, potentially resulting in falling sales and job losses.

In fact, there is no clear roadmap based on transparent criteria or to explain why certain products or chemicals are selected. Instead, DTSC has designated seven broad categories of consumer goods and dozens of chemicals for evaluation that could implicate thousands of individual products. No effort has been made to prioritize products and chemicals that actually pose the most compelling risks to Californians.

No One Knows!

“Actually, no one knows exactly what the state is thinking.”—George Skelton, columnist, Los Angeles Times.

“It’s like throwing darts on a board.”—Maureen Gorsen, former director of DTSC. Los Angeles Times.

DTSC included spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation as one of the first three products identified for possible "alternative analysis." The process for identifying this product was muddied by politics and misinformation, compromising the credibility of the entire program.

DTSC offered little scientific justification for their priority products and instead of speaking with industry experts and manufacturers, relied on input from professional activist groups. This failure to adhere to a scientifically driven process undermines the purpose and foundation of the Green Chemistry program.

“DTSC has been unable to provide a science-based rationale for why the chemicals or seven product categories are on its priority list.”—Green Chemistry initiative co-author and former State Senator Sam Blakeslee. Sacramento Bee.

DTSC issued multiple documents with incorrect information on SPF insulation, demonstrating a severe lack of knowledge about the products it seeks to regulate. In fact, DTSC used its official Twitter account to promote a product that is not known to be commercially available or viable, indicating that it could potentially compete with SPF insulation. This kind of marketplace commentary is irresponsible and inappropriate from a government agency.

DTSC's missteps demonstrate the need for improved transparency, accuracy, scientific integrity and credible evaluation criteria.

California Deserves Better! Tell DTSC to Fix Green Chemistry.
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