IC2 Member Spotlight: Alex Stone 

This issue of the IC2 e-Bulletin shines its light on Alex Stone, Safer Chemical Alternative Chemist at the Washington State Department of Ecology, and Chair of the IC2 Alternatives Assessment Workgroup.

Photograph of Alex Stone
As many of you know, Alex will retire from Ecology in early 2017. The IC2 thanks Alex for his many contributions, his industriousness, and his good cheer.

Thank you, congratulations, and best wishes, Alex!

IC2: Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Alex: When people ask me about myself, the first thing that I say is that I'm an environmental chemist. Most of my education (more on this later) was in chemistry or environmental related studies and a commitment to the environment pretty much sums up my life for the last 30-plus years. It has been important to me to do work that helps make the environment a better place or, failing that, to prevent as much as possible further degradation. Humans are unusual in their approach to the only planet in the solar system that created and supported them and often make poor decisions that, although profitable for the short term, are catastrophic over the long term. I have seen my role as the voice for the general public and the planet in an attempt to control the greed and self-serving approach used by many industries. I hope that government continues this role even through the difficult times ahead.
IC2: What is your job at Ecology?
Alex: My job title is Safer Chemical Alternative Chemist, which pretty much encapsulates what my job is all about. I'm responsible for furthering the adoption of chemical hazard and alternatives assessment techniques to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives. I spent a lot of time working with other states through IC2 and industry to further adoption of these techniques while communicating and demonstrating how chemical hazard and alternatives assessments are good for everyone involved.
IC2: What is your involvement in promotion of safer alternatives?
Alex: As mentioned above, my job is all about safer alternatives. Over the years I've done a lot of work on developing alternatives assessment methodologies. I led the team that created the IC2 Alternatives Assessment Guide, provided a peer review of the National Academy of Sciences Framework to Guide Selection of Chemical Alternatives, and worked with other states as they attempt to implement alternatives assessment as a viable technique. I also worked closely with Clean Production Action, the creators of the GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals by providing input on technical issues and proposed changes to the GreenScreen methodology. I utilized this knowledge to create the Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT), a simpler tool geared toward small and medium-sized companies with limited knowledge and expertise in the area of chemical hazard assessments. I also participated in the Chemical Commons and Inter-Agency Alternatives Assessment Initiatives and have spent considerable amount of my time in providing training on these techniques.
IC2: What do you like most about your job?
Alex: There are two things that I loved about my job. The first was working on the new and exciting area of safer alternatives. It is rewarding to think that one contributed to development of a new technique that will make products safer and, by doing so, help to protect human health and the environment. It has been a lot of work, but it has been fun! The second thing I loved about my job was the working with the people involved. I have rarely seen such a dedicated, well informed, and collaborative group of people. A lot of what I have been able to work on and accomplish is due to the support received from my co-workers and colleagues. I make the joke that it takes a village to raise an idiot, and I'm the idiot I am today due to the support received from coworkers and colleagues.
IC2: What is your vision for the IC2 over the next two years? What do you hope it will accomplish?
Alex: IC2 provides a great service by enabling members to work together to create a common vision for alternatives assessment. The IC2 AA Guide is a perfect example where several states worked together to create a consistent vision for alternatives assessment. I believe that IC2 can best succeed by continuing the creation of a uniform approach for chemical hazard and alternatives assessments across member states. After all, we are stronger together than we are separately. I hope over the next few years that the IC2 furthers adoption of chemical hazard and alternatives assessments by conducting AAs based upon the IC2 Guide and proving that alternatives assessment is a viable and valuable technique. What states need now to further adoption of the AA technique are case studies proving the viability of the methodology. With concrete examples, states can show their legislatures that this is a technique worthy of support and implementation.
IC2: What is one fun thing that most people in the IC2 don't know about you?
Alex: This is a rather difficult question to answer since I am hardly the shy and retiring type so people know a lot about me. Perhaps one amusing thing about me is that my life turned out very different than originally planned. Few people know that after graduating with an undergraduate degree, I thought the best place for me was in industry. I furthered this goal by getting a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). After a few years working in industry, however, I realized it wasn't for me. I found I was much better suited to the technical side, which caused me to go back to college to change my career path. To this day, I'm glad I did so as it led me to the work that I did for the Department of Ecology for the last 24 years and allowed me to spend 5 interesting years in Norway getting my doctorate. So if my life hadn't taken a dramatic change, who knows how I might have ended up?
IC2 News
Multi-state Chemicals-in-Products Reporting System

NEWMOA/IC2 will issue a Request for Proposals (RfP) in the near future for an IT contractor to

  • Design and develop a Web-based data system through which companies can submit data on chemicals in products to participating states
  • Establish a node presence on the EPA National Environmental Information Exchange Network (NEIEN) and create an Exchange Network data flow
  • Create a public-facing search interface to allow external users to easily query the database and download data in several common data formats.

This work is supported by an EPA Exchange Network (NEIEN) grant awarded to the Oregon Health Authority, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the IC2 earlier this year.

Chemicals Policy Database

In 2015, the IC2 Board approved changes to the scope of the IC2 Chemicals Policy Database. These changes are now reflected in the Database. The revised Database encompasses enacted policies and laws, includes a simplified and condensed set of policy categories, and has a slightly changed user interface.

If you have not yet seen the updated Database, check it out and share your feedback. We are especially interested in receiving:
  • Notice about 2015 and 2016 policies and laws that should be added

  • Links to agency web pages that provide information or guidance on specific policies covered by the Database

Chemical Hazard Assessment Database

IC2 staff continue to add new hazard assessments (both GreenScreens and QCATs) to the IC2 Chemical Hazard Assessment Database as they become available. Recent additions include three GreenScreens provided by the Washington Department of Ecology for ammonium bifluoride (CASRN 1341 - 49 - 7), DCOIT (CASRN 64359 - 81 - 5), and ECOSOLV (CASRN 68551 - 19 - 9) and five QCATs for chemicals used as alternatives to perchloroethylene in dry cleaning.
IC2 Procurement Workgroup

During the fall, a group of IC2 members interested in state and local agency procurement programs and in exploring how the Clearinghouse can play a role in most effectively advancing low toxicity product procurement came together to form an IC2 Procurement Workgroup. This group met twice during the fall and plans to continue its conversation by meeting every few months. Areas of interest for this group include:
  • How patterns of chemical use can inform environmentally preferable procurement
  • What product categories would be good targets for action
  • How states and municipalities can work together to enhance the market for less toxic products
  • Sharing specification language and facilitating or coordinating joint procurement
  • Collaboration with other organizations focused on procurement
If you would like more information or want to get involved, let us know.
Upcoming Events
Highly Fluorinated Compounds: Social and Scientific Discovery

On June 14 and 15, 2017, a diverse group, including scientists, government agency professionals, community-based organization leaders, national and regional environmental advocates, retail and industry representatives, journalists, and lawyers will gather in Boston to address the social, scientific, political, economic, and environmental health issues raised by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). This conference will examine both ubiquitous exposure in consumer products and discrete historic and recent contamination discoveries in drinking water and soil around the world.

Dr. Linda Birnbaum, Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, will be the keynote speaker. Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, will also speak. In addition to plenary speakers and panels, there will be time for smaller discussions on topics such as community activism, waste management, and journalism.

The conference organizers hope to provide some financial support for community advocates to attend. This conference is sponsored by the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (Northeastern University, Boston, MA), Silent Spring Institute (Newton, MA), Testing for Pease (Portsmouth, NH), and Toxics Action Center (Boston, MA). A detailed program will be published online in early 2017. To be notified when registration opens, send your email address to Stephanie Knutson.
Member Updates

January Workshop on PFASs
There will be a Public Workshop on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on January 31, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM PST in Sacramento, CA. The workshop will also be viewable via webcast.

This day-long public workshop with experts from industry, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and government agencies will be hosted by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). Participants will discuss the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in carpets, rugs, indoor upholstered furniture, and their care and treatment products.

To register for the workshop and obtain more information, visit: www.dtsc.ca.gov/SCP/PFAS-Workshop.cfm.

Don't Forget to Provide Input in CalSAFER
The deadline to provide input on specific questions pertaining to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in carpets, rugs, indoor upholstered furniture, and their care and treatment products is quickly approaching. Input can be provided in CalSAFER until December 30, 2016 at 12:00 PM (PST). Input received through CalSAFER will be used to formulate discussion topics for the PFAS Workshop.

New Higher Hazard Substances: Toluene Diisocyanates (TDI)
As of January 1, 2017, 2,4-TDI (CAS 584-84-9); 2,6-TDI (CASRN 91-08-7); and TDI Mixed Isomers (CASRN 26471-62-5) are designated as Higher Hazard Substances (HHS). Tracking the use of these substances is required beginning in calendar year 2017, and the first reports are due to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) by July 1, 2018. The new reporting threshold for these substances is 1,000 pounds per year for all uses. Find more information on TURA reporting on the MassDEP website and the Designation of TURA Higher & Lower Hazard Substances in Massachusetts fact sheet. The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) has also updated its Fact Sheets for toluene diisocyanates (TDI) and n-propyl bromide (nPB).

Rhode Island has received many queries from municipalities, universities, and other institutions that are making decisions about maintenance and installation of athletic playing fields. In response, TURI is compiling information on a range of issues related to sports turf. All of their current information can be found on the TURI website.

Finally, TURI has prepared two useful educational documents about the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The first is a brief overview; the second is a fact sheet on preemption provisions in the Act.

Working on product chemistry? MPCA is seeking a Minnesota facility to host a Green Chemistry and Engineering intern next summer; a $9,500 grant is available. See www.pca.state.mn.us/waste/green-and-safer-product-chemistry-grants. Apply by January 13th.

The University of Minnesota will be the site of a free green chemistry teaching workshop in June 2017. See http://csp.umn.edu/education-and-outreach/green-chemistry-teacher-workshop/ for more information.

Metro has posted a Request for Proposals (RfP) on the Oregon Procurement Information Network (ORPIN) to identify a researcher for a Regional Toxics Reduction Options Study. The purpose of the Study is to identify Metro's potential long-term options and roles for eliminating or reducing toxic chemicals in consumer products used in the region, and eliminating or reducing the negative health and environmental impacts (especially on communities of color, children, the elderly and other disproportionally affected populations) from chemicals during products' entire life cycles. This work will inform the development of the 2019 Regional Waste Plan and related toxics reduction work by Metro. The following are key objectives of the study:
  1. Identify actions Metro and partners can complete within the next 10 years that will actually result in fewer exposures and fewer health impacts from exposures associated with consumer products used in our region
  2. Make sure the Portland metropolitan region's end of life system operations and all 2030 Regional Waste Plan elements eliminate or reduce impacts from toxics
  3. Contribute to the larger goal of comprehensive chemical's policy
The deadline for questions is December 29, and proposals are due January 9. Register with ORPIN to view this opportunity.

In November, the Washington Department of Ecology published a report entitled Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Consumer Products, written by Alex Stone. Ecology evaluated the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in 201 consumer products, with an emphasis on products likely contaminated with PCBs through the manufacturing process. Many chemicals contain low levels of PCB contaminants due to the use of chlorine in  manufacturing; recent studies have also shown a PCB presence in pigments and dyes used in consumer products. This study evaluated whether consumer products contain PCBs as a contaminant and, if so, the range and amounts of PCBs found and the contribution from organic pigments and dyes.

The Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction (HWTR) Program within the Department of Ecology has an opening to join its team working on safer chemicals and products. The Hazard Assessment and Alternatives Assessment Specialist position serves as a designated agency specialist for identifying safer chemical alternatives. The HWTR Program's work is focused on efforts that eliminate or replace toxic chemicals of concern in products and processes with high performing and cost effective alternatives. 
Supporting Member Updates
Clean Production Action

CVS Health, Vizient, Inc., and Rhode Island Treasury join the Chemical Footprint Project, increasing the momentum for companies to measure and report on their chemical management programs. Businesses, governments, investors, retailers, and purchasers increasingly recognize the potential for adverse effects caused by exposure to hazardous chemicals on human health and the environment. "By benchmarking companies on their chemical management programs, highlighting leadership companies, and publicly reporting the data, the Chemical Footprint Project is catalyzing companies to implement policies and processes for safer chemicals," explained Mark Rossi, co-founder of Chemical Footprint Project and Executive Director of Clean Production Action.

In signing on to the Chemical Footprint Project, CVS Health, Vizient, Inc., and Rhode Island Treasury join other leading purchasers (including Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, and Hackensack University Medical Center) and 40 investors from across the globe (Trillium Asset Management, Calvert Investments, BNP Paribas, and more) in seeking greater transparency in how companies manage chemicals in their products and supply chains.

Similar to Carbon Footprinting, the Chemical Footprint Project aims to:
  • Establish a common metric for assessing progress to inherently safer chemicals
  • Bring transparency to chemicals management practices
  • Benchmark company performance
The Chemical Footprint Project's Survey is the result of years of collaboration between the tool's creators and leading firms in the healthcare, retail, government, building product, electronics, apparel, cleaning, beauty and personal care, and investment sectors.

For companies interested in demonstrating their leadership by participating in the Chemical Footprint Project, the deadline for responding to the 2016 survey is January 31, 2017.
U.S. EPA Updates
EPA Moves to Ban Trichloroethylene in Aerosol Degreasers & Dry Cleaning Spot Removers

EPA has proposed to ban certain uses of the toxic chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) due to health risks when used as an aerosol degreaser and as a spot removal agent in dry cleaning. Specifically, EPA's proposal would prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce and prohibit commercial use of TCE for aerosol degreasing and for spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities. EPA is also proposing to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors (except for retailers) to provide downstream notice of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain and to keep limited records. The proposed rule was issued under section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.

EPA recently announced the inclusion of TCE on the list of the first ten chemicals to be evaluated for risk under TSCA. That action will allow EPA will evaluate the other remaining uses of the chemical.
EPA Names Chemicals for Review Under New TSCA Legislation

In late November, EPA announced the first ten chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health and the environment under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform:
  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • 1-Bromopropane
  • Asbestos
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster
  • Methylene Chloride
  • N-methylpyrrolidone
  • Pigment Violet 29
  • Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene
  • Trichloroethylene
EPA must release a scoping document within six months and must complete a risk evaluation within three years for each chemical. If the Agency determines that a chemical presents an unreasonable risk, it must mitigate that risk within two years.

These chemicals were drawn from EPA's 2014 TSCA Work Plan, a list of 90 chemicals selected based on their potential for high hazard and exposure as well as other considerations. Additional chemicals will be designated for evaluation, and TSCA requires that EPA begin another risk evaluation for each one it completes. By the end of 2019, EPA must have at least 20 chemical risk evaluations ongoing at any given time.

For more on the chemicals listed and additional information: www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/evaluating-risk-existing-chemicals-under-tsca.
EPA Adds Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) Category to Toxics Release Inventory List

In late November EPA finalized a rule adding a hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) category to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list of reportable chemicals. This action will expand the scope of chemicals subject to TRI reporting and provide communities with more complete information on toxic chemical releases.

HBCD is a brominated flame retardant used mainly in expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) and extruded polystyrene foam (XPS). EPS and XPS are used primarily for thermal insulation boards in the building and construction industry. HBCD may also be used as a flame retardant in textiles. Concerns about releases and uses of HBCD have been raised because it is found worldwide in the environment and wildlife and has also been found in human breast milk, fat tissue, and blood.

EPA also determined that HBCD meets the environmental effects criterion for listing because it is highly toxic to aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Additionally, HBCD bioaccumulates and is persistent in the environment. As a result, HBCD meets the TRI criteria for a Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) chemical and is designated as a chemical of special concern, with a 100-pound reporting threshold.

For more information on EPA's work with flame retardants, visit: www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/fact-sheet-assessing-risks-flame-retardants and www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/hexabromocyclododecane.

EPA Releases EJ 2020 Agenda

On October 27, EPA released the EJ 2020 Action Agenda , the Agency's environmental justice strategic plan for 2016 to 2020. EJ 2020 will further integrate environmental justice considerations in all of the Agency's programs, strengthen EPA's collaboration with partners, and demonstrate progress on significant national challenges facing minority and low-income communities. EJ 2020 builds on the foundation established by EPA's previous strategic plan, Plan EJ 2014, as well as decades of significant environmental justice practice by the Agency, communities, and other environmental justice stakeholders.
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 purpose of the IC2 e-Bulletin is to inform IC2 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.

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.
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, in IC2 Workgroups, and in webinars.

For more information, contact Topher Buck, (617) 367-8558 x309.
IC2's Workgroups

If you work for an IC2 Member or Supporting Member, consider becoming active in one of the four IC2 Workgroups. These provide a great opportunity to work on critical projects and to collaborate with others that are insightful and dedicated to improving public health and the environment through the development and use of safer chemicals and products.

Alternatives Assessment Workgroup
The IC2 Alternatives Assessment Workgroup supports state and local development of alternatives assessment (AA) methods, coordinates with other organizations involved in AA activities, and makes resources, common protocols, and results available to the IC2 membership.

Database Workgroup
The IC2 Database Workgroup assesses the chemical data needs and priorities of the IC2 membership and develops IC2 data and information systems to address those priorities. The Workgroup has reviewed a variety of chemicals databases and has developed several online systems.

Governance, Outreach, & Recruitment Workgroup
The IC2 Governance, Outreach, and Recruitment Workgroup maintains the Clearinghouse's governance framework, including membership criteria, member contributions, Board structure, and overall goals and objectives. The Workgroup also leads member recruitment and outreach efforts.

Training Workgroup
The IC2 Training Workgroup plans informational and technical training sessions for the IC2 members. These trainings, in conference call and webinar formats, are presented approximately four times per year.

If you are interested in any of these groups, visit the IC2 website or write to Topher Buck.
The IC2 staff wishes everyone a safe and happy new year !
Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse | (617) 367-8558 x309| theic2.org