Case Studies from the Field
DTSC’s second in a series of alternatives analysis symposiums provided the opportunity to hear stories of success and challenges from companies engaging in alternatives analysis.
About 100 attendees filled the Byron Sher Auditorium in the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters. Another 90, including viewers in the Netherlands, China and Canada, attended via webcast.
These discussions will help scientists, manufacturers and stakeholders understand and develop the alternatives analysis process as California moves forward with implementing its Green Chemistry Initiative. Alternatives analysis seeks less toxic ingredients to use in the manufacture of products. It is an essential part of the Green Chemistry Initiative draft Regulation for Consumer Products. The regulation would require that an alternatives analysis be conducted on consumer products containing chemicals determined to be a threat to public health or the environment.
Presenters brought to the discussion an industry perspective on finding safer alternatives to toxic chemicals in our products.
- Thomas Carter, the vice president for sales and strategic initiatives for The Wercs Ltd., spoke about the company’s software for chemical regulatory reporting and environmental data management of material safety data sheets.
- Helen Holder, Hewlett-Packard Co.’s corporate material selection manager, spoke about how she evaluates and qualifies materials for use in the company’s products.
- Dennis McGavis, the director for product stewardship and regulatory affairs for Shaw Industries Group Inc., focused on product life cycle assessments and product eco-label certifications.
- Michael Schmeida, director of sustainable programs for Tremco Commercial Sealants & Waterproofing, shared how sustainability is relatively easy to work toward once sustainable practices are integrated into the core strategy.
- George Thompson, Ph.D., the president and chief executive officer of Chemical Compliance Systems Inc., spoke about the company’s vast hazardous chemical, product and regulatory databases and how industry can access them.
- Margaret Whittaker, Ph.D., ToxServices LLC’s managing director and chief toxicologist, said that the participation of third-party evaluators ensures speed of evaluation, confidentiality, impartiality and use of state-of-the-science tools to evaluate human health and environmental hazards.
- Teresa McGrath, the supervising toxicologist for green chemistry programs for NSF International, said that companies should be provided with a voluntary and standardized procedure to define and report on a chemical’s hazardous profile and the impact of the chemical manufacturing process. It was also her opinion that consumers should be assisted in evaluating the relative “greenness” of a chemical product and its life cycle.
- Pam Palitz, the staff attorney and environmental health advocate for Environment California, said the best way to engage the public in green chemistry is to make it relevant to their lives.
After each session, in-person and online attendees asked panelists specific questions about the implementation of alternative analysis.
The agenda and presenter biographies are available in our archive, and presentations have been posted.