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California Green Chemistry Evaluation Project

California has unique laws intended to protect public health and exceed federal protections against pollution and toxic chemicals. Two laws enacted in 2008 built on a foundation of other policies related to clean air, clean water, and children’s health protection. Assembly Bill (AB) 1879 established the Safer Consumer Products Program at the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and Senate Bill (SB) 509 established the Toxics Information Clearinghouse. The new laws focused on green chemistry with the goals of providing more information about chemicals in products and encouraging substitution of toxic chemicals with less toxic or non-toxic alternatives.

Nearly a decade after the passage of these groundbreaking laws, it is time to do a systematic and comprehensive evaluation of their performance, with a special focus on whether they have been effective at protecting Californians from exposure to chemicals that may cause or contribute to breast cancer. Findings and recommendations from this project will assist policymakers in making any necessary improvements to improve the functioning of the laws. This policy research project is designed specifically to test the hypothesis that there are several politically and scientifically feasible policy enhancements that could significantly strengthen and assist in the implementation of California’s existing laws on green chemistry and toxic chemicals.

The investigators will conduct a systematic review of the literature to identify best practice policies that protect public health from toxic chemicals, including European, federal, and state models. The investigators will also conduct structured interviews with experts from government, academia, industry, and non-governmental organizations, designed to elicit recommendations on green chemistry science and policy. Within six months, the investigators will issue a report with findings and recommendations, and a spreadsheet identifying known and suspected breast carcinogens showing how they have been, or might be, addressed by policy efforts in California. An advisory group of experts in green chemistry, chemical policy, and breast cancer will oversee and advise the project. The intention is to release the report on or around the ten-year anniversary of the passage of the green chemistry legislation.

Program Director(s)

Gina Solomon