Green chemistry follow-up report unveiled

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Jan. 24, 2008

Last Thursday, January 17th, Michael Wilson (the UC–Berkeley professor who authored the initial 2006 green chemistry report to the legislature) disclosed an updated report commissioned by Cal/EPA’s Department of Toxic Substance Control recommending actions be included in a green chemistry program.  Authors of this report, Wilson, Megan Schwarzman (a UC colleague of Mr. Wilson’s), and Timothy Malloy (a UCLA professor), made a presentation the following day to legislators and their staff and later to industry representatives at CMTA’s office. 

The report raises numerous concerns.  It does not include any of the problems and drawbacks inherent with implementing a green chemistry initiative.  The need to educate a new breed of chemists in toxicology and environmental impacts is mentioned, but not stressed enough.  Without the chemists, companies will not be able to discover the alternative chemicals and processes needed for the success of the green chemistry initiative.

Another major drawback to full disclosure of product constituents is the issue of trade secret protection.  A means to protect confidentiality in dealing with proprietary products must be found in order for companies to be willing to invest in the research to derive safer alternatives. 

CMTA was a proponent of a previous study by Cal/EPA, the Green Chemistry Initiative, because it appeared to get politicians away from deciding which chemicals are good or bad and put those decisions in the hands of scientists.  Unfortunately, this report does not do that. 

In addition, the timing of it’s release is also suspicious – just five weeks before the February 22nd deadline for submittal of new bills.  Newly introduced legislation on this topic will likely result.
To see the full report, click here: UC_Green_Chemistry_REPORT.pdf

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