Chemicals Policy in the Great Lakes


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This workshop will explore state-level Green Chemistry initiatives and chemicals policy reform efforts, which aim to protect public health and the ecosystems in the Great Lakes basin. Participants will learn how chemicals policy is an integral aspect of Great Lakes restoration, and how green chemistry fits into this discussion.

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  • Official presentation start slide.
  • Children eat, drink, & breathe 2 1/2 times more pound for pound than adults. Increased metabolic rate. Smaller body size. Multiple exposures at once. Live closer to the floor. Hand-to-mouth behaviour. Children ’s developing bodies and brains are more vulnerable. Children are the future.
  • Over 35 years ago, Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control chemicals that pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. Unfortunately, the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is outdated and ineffective. TSCA does not give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adequate power to identify and regulate dangerous chemicals, leaving businesses in the dark about product safety. The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 would remedy thissituation by improving the safety of chemicals used in consumer products, increasing public informationon chemicals and their health impacts, ensuring that the EPA is using the best available science when doingresearch on chemicals, and supporting businesses that are innovating and voluntarily using safer chemicals.
  • PBT ’s - They persist in the environment for long periods of time and can be transported long distances; they accumulate in living organisms and increase in concentration as they move up the food chain; and, they are highly toxic, often at very low levels of exposure. Because they exhibit all three of these hazardous properties, PBTs are inherently unsafe.
  • Potent neurotoxin
  • Michigan was the first state in the nation to have an executive directive entirely devoted to green chemistry
  • One of the key activities of the Green Chemistry effort is to highlight and reward green chemisry innovators in the state with the Governors green Chemistry award
  • Example of winner of one of the awards – a chemical made out of lobster shells that replaces a toxic formaldehyde ingredient!
  • The exec directive establishes a roundtable, and that roundtable staffs the state program. The roundtable includes reps from industry, academia, health groups and environmental groups One of the activities of the group is to create an annual conference., This year it is in ann arbor. We hope you can make it.
  • There is a tremendous lineup of speakers including the governor and the president of the university of michigan
  • We have also launched a web portal to go live soon which will be the one stop shop for all things related to green chemistry in the state.
  • Official presentation end slide.
  • Chemicals Policy in the Great Lakes

    1. 1. <ul><li>Chemicals Policy in the Great Lakes </li></ul><ul><li> Woodward Ballroom C Friday, October 14 10:30-11:30 a.m. </li></ul>
    2. 2. Michigan Network for Children ’s Environmental Health
    3. 3. The Michigan Network – Our Mission
    4. 4. The Michigan Network Members <ul><li>American Academy of Pediatrics (Michigan Chapter) </li></ul><ul><li>Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) </li></ul><ul><li>Association for Children's Mental Health </li></ul><ul><li>Autism Society of Michigan </li></ul><ul><li>Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination </li></ul><ul><li>Clean Water Fund </li></ul><ul><li>Clinton County Family Resource Center </li></ul><ul><li>Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice </li></ul><ul><li>East Michigan Environmental Action Council </li></ul><ul><li>Ecology Center </li></ul><ul><li>Environment Michigan </li></ul><ul><li>Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) of Michigan </li></ul><ul><li>LocalMotionGreen </li></ul><ul><li>Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners </li></ul><ul><li>Michigan Coalition for Children and Families </li></ul><ul><li>Michigan Environmental Council </li></ul><ul><li>Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund </li></ul><ul><li>Michigan Nurses Association </li></ul><ul><li>Michigan Psychological Association </li></ul><ul><li>Science and Environmental Health Network </li></ul><ul><li>Sierra Club Michigan Chapter </li></ul><ul><li>Voices for Earth Justice </li></ul>
    5. 5. The Nature of the Problem <ul><li>Children are uniquely vulnerable </li></ul><ul><li>Approximately 40,000 synthetic chemicals in use– we are all exposed to complex mixtures without safety testing </li></ul><ul><li>We know some common chemicals are potent neurotoxicants, others are linked to cancer and reproductive harm </li></ul><ul><li>We all a complex mix of industrial chemicals in our bodies </li></ul>
    6. 6. We all have industrial chemicals in our bodies
    7. 7. US chemical law: old and outdated <ul><li>Over 35 years ago, Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regulates all industrial chemicals in commerce except food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Never been reauthorized </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Did not work well from the beginning (asbestos) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Under TSCA, the EPA has </li></ul><ul><ul><li>required testing on fewer than 200 chemicals and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>restricted only 5 chemicals in commerce. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most chemicals in the US inventory were “grandfathered” when the law was written and have not been adequately tested </li></ul>
    8. 8. Few Chemicals Have Been Adequately Tested
    9. 9. The Great Lakes: Why it matters <ul><li>There are 37 Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes. These are places where chemical contamination has seriously endangered the quality of life for people and wildlife. </li></ul>
    10. 10. The Costs of PBTs in the Great Lakes <ul><li>Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals (PBTs) are uniquely dangerous because they pose a triple threat </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They persist for long periods and can be transported long distances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They accumulate in living things and can increase in concentration as they move up the food chain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They are highly toxic, often at low levels of exposure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unfortunately, PBT chemicals continue to pose an economic threat to the region ’s $7 billion fisheries industry and $16 billion tourism industry, while also endangering public health. The legacy of contamination from PBTs already released to the Great Lakes will likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up </li></ul><ul><li>All of the Great Lakes and their connecting channels are currently under fish consumption advisories for one or more toxic chemicals —including mercury, PCBs, dioxins, and chlordane. There have been at least 1,500 advisories against eating fish in the Great Lakes </li></ul>
    11. 11. New report:
    12. 12. Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 <ul><li>On April 14, 2011, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the Safe Chemicals Act (S. 847) . The Safe Chemicals Act would: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Require the EPA to take immediate action on Persistent Bioaccumulative and Toxic chemicals (PBTs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve the safety of chemicals used in consumer products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase public information on chemical safety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect our most vulnerable populations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reform EPA ’s science practices to ensure the best available science is being used </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support innovation in the marketplace and provide incentives for the development of safer chemical alternatives. </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. What do we want?
    14. 14. States Step In <ul><li>Because of Congress ’ legacy of inaction on this issue, states are stepping in to try to fill in the gaps </li></ul><ul><li>Many states have passed laws or introduced legislation to both educate the public and regulate the use of some of the most toxic chemicals. Some states have introduced laws to create broad chemicals management systems </li></ul><ul><li>MNCEH works together with other states in a coalition called SAFER. We work collaboratively to share state strategies and push for comprehensive reform at the federal level. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Michigan Responds: Prior Legislation <ul><li>Lead: In the wake of numerous recalls of children ’s toys, Michigan banned lead in many children’s products in 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Penta/Octa: Because of the presence of PBDEs in the Great Lakes and their known health effects on people and wildlife, the Michigan Legislature banned manufacturing, processing and distribution of materials containing more than 0.1% penta-BDE or octa-BDE in 2004 </li></ul>
    16. 16. Current State Priorities <ul><li>Children ’s Products </li></ul><ul><li>Green Chemistry </li></ul><ul><li>Cadmium </li></ul><ul><li>Deca-BDE </li></ul><ul><li>Lindane </li></ul>
    17. 17. Children ’s Products <ul><li>The Safe Children ’s Products legislation would give Michiganders a right-to-know whether children’s products contain harmful chemicals. </li></ul><ul><li>Legislation would require the state by to create a comprehensive list of chemicals of concern known to cause cancer, reproductive or developmental harm, neurotoxicity, hormone disruption, or other toxicity, or which are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic. </li></ul><ul><li>The legislation would authorize Michigan to participate in an interstate clearinghouse to share information and promote safer alternatives. </li></ul>
    18. 19. Michigan Green Chemistry
    19. 20. Michigan Green Chemistry
    20. 22. Michigan Green Chemistry
    21. 23. Michigan Green Chemistry
    22. 24. Michigan Green Chemistry
    23. 25. For more information <ul><li>You can sign up to receive action alerts and updates </li></ul><ul><li>Sign the sign-up list or visit: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Like us on Facebook </li></ul>
    24. 26. Contact us MNCEH Alexis Blizman Michigan Network for Children ’s Environmental Health 734-369-9281 [email_address]
    25. 27. <ul><li>Spread the word! </li></ul><ul><li>Wireless password: HOW11 </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Conference website: </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Email us photos, comments, tweets or video & we will post online: </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>On Twitter? Use the hashtag: #healthylakes </li></ul>