Issue 7, Winter 2014
IC2 News
IC2 Releases Alternatives Assessment Guide

On January 8, the IC2 released the IC2 Alternatives Assessment Guide. The IC2 collaborated with businesses and non-governmental organizations on the development of the Guide, which is the product of 20 months of effort.

 

An alternatives assessment (AA) is a set of tools that manufacturers, product designers, businesses, governments, and other interested parties can use to make better, more informed decisions about the use of toxic chemicals in their products or processes. The IC2 understands the benefits of consistency in alternatives assessments but recognizes that one approach will not work in all situations. The Guide was designed to be very comprehensive and includes three ways in which an AA can be conducted.

 

Along with the Guide, the IC2 released two Response-to-Comment (RTC) documents. The summary RTC document  groups comments received and documents how the Guide was either updated or not altered based upon input received. The detailed RTC document contains a response to each individual comment.

 

During 2014, the IC2 plans to hold webinars to provide training on the Guide and highlight examples of how it is being used, with a focus on capacity-building support for AA and guidance by state programs.

 

To support AA, the IC2 will continue to post GreenScreen™ and QCAT assessments and develop strategies to add more of them to the Chemical Hazard Assessment Database. The Database presently includes 17 GreenScreen and one QCAT assessments. 

IC2 Welcomes Topher Buck 

IC2 welcomes Topher Buck as its new Project Manager. Adam Wienert, the former IC2 Project Manager resigned last November so that he could spend more time with his two young daughters. We greatly appreciate all of Adam's work for IC2 and wish him well.

 

We are very excited to have Topher join us. He has an impressive background in work on ingredient disclosure and alternatives assessment. Most recently, he worked for a small Cambridge (MA) start-up. From 2006 through 2011, Topher worked for GreenBlue, directing their Chemicals Program and CleanGredients´┐Ż project. CleanGredients is an online database of ingredient chemicals for cleaning products, each profiled according to relevant human and environmental health hazard characteristics that provide formulators with information to make informed chemical substitution choices.

 

He worked as a consultant to EPA and other agencies on variety of environmental projects and a number of other groups prior to his time at GreenBlue. He was a Ph.D. student in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley for several years; has a Master of Forest Science Degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; and has a Bachelor's degree in chemistry and religious studies from Wesleyan University.

 

Topher is working full time for the IC2, managing various online database and information projects, alternatives assessment initiatives, the cleaning product ingredient disclosure effort with New York State, and initiatives to develop a multi-state approach to product disclosure and product testing.

IC2 State Chemicals Policy Database Update

Since the last E-Bulletin, we have added more than 100 new records covering 2013 to the State Chemicals Policy Database. Although most of the work to add new records takes place during the summer months, we continue to make minor updates throughout the year.

IC2 Chemical Use Disclosure Meeting

On October 16, 2013, the IC2 held a meeting on Chemical Use Disclosure at Staples Headquarters in Framingham, MA. The meeting provided an opportunity for Members and Supporting Members of the Clearinghouse to hear from members of the BizNGO Working Group, the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3), and others about growing efforts to increase transparency concerning chemical ingredients in products. Agenda topics included:

 

Much of the time was devoted to discussion of ideas and recommendations for improving the current availability of information. Some of the brainstormed ideas for IC2's next steps include:

  • Define and clarify the "users" of ingredient disclosure data, what they want to see, and the data that is most useful to them
  • Take some of the analyses of the WA DoE data and frame the results in a variety of formats for different end users
  • Find ways to get the WA DoE data analysis to the business community and demonstrate how it can and is being used 
  • Work to harmonize data systems as much as possible and rely on the experiences of other programs that have already addressed similar issues
  • Identify gaps in disclosure to better inform what the state programs should be asking for
  • Identify the types of data needed to answer proposed user scenarios
  • Focus on the fragrance industry to better understand the data that is available and confidentiality issues
  • Develop data field definitions to harmonize across different programs
  • Further define "functional use", including the end uses of chemical ingredient information
  • Examine international efforts and harmonize with the U.N, Environment Program's (UNEP) Chemicals in Products efforts
  • Engage industry to find out what data are they interested in and how will they use it
  • Develop a framework and proposal for state level harmonized chemicals in products projects

Topher will be facilitating the IC2 Database Workgroup's effort to implement some of these ideas in the coming year.

In this issue
IC2 E-Bulletin
The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) is an association of state, local, and tribal governments that promotes a clean environment, healthy communities, and a vital economy through the development and use of safer chemicals and products. The IC2 is a program of the Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA). NEWMOA provides management and staff support for IC2 and serves as its fiscal agent. The purpose of the IC2 E-Bulletin is to inform IC2 Members and Supporting Members and others of the activities of the Clearinghouse, its members, and related national and international programs. It is published approximately three times per year and is provided free. Funding for the E-Bulletin is provided by the IC2 membership. Previous issues are available.
Membership Invitation
The IC2 invites businesses, non-governmental organizations, academic researchers, consultants, and others to join the Clearinghouse. Supporting Members sign a Memorandum of Agreement demonstrating support for the principles of the Clearinghouse and provide annual dues to help fund baseline activities. All IC2 Supporting Members are eligible to participate in the IC2 Council and in IC2 Workgroups.  

For more information, contact Topher Buck, (617) 367-8558 x309.
IC2's Online Resources
State Chemicals Policy Database Update
Since the last E-Bulletin, we have added more than 100 new records covering 2013 to the IC2 State Chemicals Policy Database. Although the work to add new records traditionally takes place during the summer, we make minor updates throughout the year.
New IC2 Website Coming Soon
IC2 has been developing a new website for some time and expects to launch it within the next six to eight weeks. While the new site will feature an updated appearance, it will retain most of the content from the existing IC2 website. IC2 will announce when the new site goes live.
State Updates
California Safer Consumer Products Program
The Department of Toxic Substances Control's (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products (SCP) regulations took effect October 1, 2013 and will be phased in over the next several years.

California's 2008 Green Chemistry Law authorizes DTSC to identify and prioritize chemicals in consumer products and to establish a process for evaluating those chemicals and their potential alternatives. The goals are to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products, create new business opportunities in the emerging safer consumer products economy, and reduce the burden on consumers and businesses struggling to identify what's in the products they buy for their families and customers
. The SCP Program will rely on reports submitted by responsible entities, such as manufacturers, to inform and increase the use of safer chemicals in products, homes, schools, and workplaces.

DTSC's deadline for proposing a list of Priority Products that will be subject to the regulations is April 1, 2014. By October 1, 2014, DTSC will issue a Priority Products work plan that identifies the product categories it will evaluate to identify product-chemical combinations over next three years. Before the Priority Product list is finalized, it will undergo a rulemaking process that may take up to one year
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Maine Proposes Four New Priority Chemical Designations 
Maine DEP has proposed rules that would designate cadmium, formaldehyde, mercury, and arsenic as priority chemicals; however, the proposed rules (chapters 884, 885, 886, 887) have not yet been adopted. The public comment period ended on January 31, 2014. Maine's Toxic Chemicals in Children's Products law empowers the ME DEP to require manufacturers or distributors of certain children's products that are available for sale in Maine to report the intentional use of these chemicals above de minimis levels.

Maine lists approximately 1,400 compounds as chemicals of concern. From this list, chemicals of high concern are designated and, upon further review, may be elevated to priority chemical status which results in regulatory action.
Maine Prohibits Uses of Bisphenol A
The Maine Legislature and Board of Environmental Protection have approved a statewide sales prohibition on infant formula packaging and baby food packaging containing intentionally-added bisphenol A (BPA) in an amount greater than a de minimis level after March 1, 2014. BPA is one of six priority chemicals designated by the ME DEP to date.
Massachusetts Adds Methylene Chloride to Higher Hazard Substances List

In December 2013, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) announced that methylene chloride has been added to the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) list of higher hazard substances. Methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane, is used as a metal degreaser, coolant, and paint stripper and is an ingredient in some adhesives.

 

Currently, MA manufacturing companies with more than 10 employees that incorporate 25,000 pounds or more of the chemical in their products, or use 10,000 pounds for production and operations, are required to report to the MA DEP, pay a reporting fee, and conduct toxics use reduction planning. The new designation drops the reporting threshold to 1,000 pounds for all applications

Oregon & Washington Collaborate on "Green" Janitorial Supplies Contract
Government offices and schools in Oregon and Washington will be healthier places to work and visit thanks to a new "green" janitorial supplies contract developed by Oregon's Department of Administrative Services in partnership with Washington's Department of Enterprise Services (and with support from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, WA DoE, and Responsible Purchasing Network).

Oregon Executive Order No. 12-05 calls on state agencies to support the advancement of green chemistry in Oregon through multiple strategies, including new state purchasing policies focused on less toxic products. Washington Executive Order 04-01 directs all state agencies to purchase equipment, supplies, and other products that do not contain persistent, toxic chemicals unless there is no feasible alternative
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Changes to Washington's Children's Safe Product Chemical List
In October 2013, the WA DoE announced changes to the Children's Safe Product Act (CSPA) reporting list. Ecology added a chlorinated flame retardant (tris[1,3-dichloro-2-propyl]phosphate) and removed the solvent n-butanol. The changes respond to two petitions Ecology received to amend the reporting rule, based on information that was not available to the Agency when the reporting rule was developed in 2011.

Ecology, in consultation with the state Department of Health, developed the
list of chemicals of high concern to children. The list currently contains 66 chemicals. Under the law, manufacturers of children's products must report to Ecology if their products contain these chemicals. The reporting rule phased in the reporting requirements. Ecology has now received three sets of data reports from manufacturers. CSPA data from the most recent reporting period (ending September 3, 2013) are now available.
Federal Updates
On January 29, 2014, through its Design for the Environment (DfE) program, EPA released a final alternatives assessment for BPA in thermal paper. BPA is used as a developer in thermal paper, and this AA evaluates potential hazards associated with 19 thermal paper developers that are likely to be functional alternatives to BPA. The assessment provides background information about how thermal paper is made and considerations for choosing an alternative.
DfE Supplements the Safer Chemical Ingredients List

In late January, DfE updated the Safer Chemical Ingredients List, adding 50 chemicals and bringing the number of listed fragrance chemicals to 150 and the total number of listed chemicals to nearly 650.

 

The Safer Chemical Ingredients List contains chemicals that meet the criteria of the DfE Safer Product Labeling Program. This voluntary program recognizes formulated products that are high-performance and cost-effective using the safest chemical ingredients. At present, more than 2,500 products carry the DfE Safer Product Label. This list of safer chemical ingredients is arranged by functional-use class and will assist product manufacturers in identifying chemicals that the DfE program has already evaluated and identified as safer.

Draft EPA HBCD Alternatives Assessment

EPA's DfE program released a draft AA titled Flame Retardant Alternatives for Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in September 2013. EPA expects to issue the final report later this year. HBCD is a brominated flame retardant that has been found to have persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) characteristics. People may be exposed to HBCD from products and dust in the home and workplace, as well as its presence in the environment.

 

Although HBCD is used in a variety of materials, such as textiles and high-impact polystyrene in electronics housings, it is most commonly used as a flame retardant in expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) and extruded polystyrene foam (XPS). EPS and XPS are used as rigid foam insulation in the building and construction industry. The AA includes hazard assessments for HBCD and two chemical alternatives that are relevant to EPS and XPS insulation.

Update to Furniture Flame Retardancy Report

Last fall, EPA announced its plan to update the DfE Alternatives Assessment for flame retardants in flexible polyurethane foam. The original 2005 report was known as the Furniture Flame Retardancy Report. DfE will evaluate 17 chemicals and 2 proprietary blends in the updated report; DfE has also compiled a list of chemicals it does not plan to evaluate. EPA developed these lists based on stakeholder input.

EPA Releases Chemical Screening Data

In December 2013, the EPA announced the release of chemical screening data accessible through the new interactive Chemical Safety for Sustainability or iCSS Dashboard. The iCSS Dashboard provides access to data from innovative screening technologies for chemicals that are found in industrial and consumer products, food additives and drugs.

EPA Launches ChemView Database

In September 2013, EPA launched a new database, named ChemView, designed to improve chemical safety and provide more streamlined access to information on chemicals. ChemView greatly improves access to health and safety data on chemicals regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). It contains information EPA receives and develops about chemicals including those on EPA's Safer Chemical Ingredient List.

OSHA's New Resources

In February 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched two new web resources to help companies keep their workers safe.

 

The first resource is a toolkit to identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of more hazardous ones. This toolkit walks employers and workers step-by-step through information, methods, tools, and guidance to either eliminate hazardous chemicals or make informed substitution decisions in the workplace by finding a safer chemical, material, product, or process.

 

The second resource is a set of Annotated Permissible Exposure Limits, or annotated PEL tables, which will enable employers to voluntarily adopt newer, more protective workplace exposure limits.

Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2)
129 Portland Street, Suite 602
Boston, MA 02114-2014
617-367-8558 x309