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Ken Geiser MAS2019

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Presentation for the Sustainable Communities and Campuses Conference on March 29, 2019 in Cambridge, MA

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Ken Geiser MAS2019

  1. 1. Strategies to Reduce 
 Toxics In Products and Processes Ken Geiser Distinguished University Professor Emeritus University of Massachusetts Lowell March 29, 2019 Shaping the Future of Sustainability
  2. 2. Today, many Products contain Toxic Chemicals “In high consumption economies the most likely source of exposure to hazardous chemicals now comes from consumer products.” --United Nations, Global Chemicals Outlook-II, Synthesis Report released March 16, 2019
  3. 3. Strategies for reducing Chemicals of Concern in Products and Processes • Government bans and regulations • Government or Institutional Procurement • Consumer boycotts • Consumer awareness resources • State toxics use reduction programs • State consumer product assessments • Private retailer restrictions on chemical ingredients • Sector based chemical reduction programs
  4. 4. Strategies for reducing Chemicals of Concern in Products and Processes • Government bans and regulations • Government or Institutional Procurement • Consumer boycotts • Consumer awareness resources • State toxics use reduction programs • State consumer product assessments • Private retailer restrictions on chemical ingredients • Sector based chemical reduction programs
  5. 5. Toxics Use Reduction in Massachusetts
 Promoting Industry Planning • State program focused on reducing or eliminating toxic chemicals used in the state’s largest industries • Some 190 chemicals are targeted • 550 firms must prepare plans on how to reduce or eliminate these chemicals • Firms must report annually on their progress • Firms must pay an annual fee to support • the Department of Environmental Protection • The Office of Technical Assistance • The Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell
  6. 6. History of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Program • 1980’s – Significant public concern about hazardous waste dumping and waste incineration • 1986-1989 - NGO community built a movement for reducing hazardous wastes by reducing the use of toxic chemicals in industrial production • 1989 –Toxics Use Reduction Act enacted by unanimous vote of the Legislature • 1990-2000 -TURA Program built, laboratory built, technical assistance provided • 2006 - List of Higher Hazard Substances established
  7. 7. Results of 25 Years of TUR Progress Theory of Change: A government regulatory framework can drive industry planning and innovation. Result: Reducing or eliminating the use of toxic substances in manufacturing facilities reduced toxic chemicals going into products and the environment. • From 1990-2016, Massachusetts companies reduced hazardous chemical use by 40%, onsite releases by 90% and waste by 72%. • Trichloroethylene (TCE) From 1990 to 2016 there has been a 93% reduction for use of TCE (over 3 million pounds) and a 96% reduction of TCE releases (over 1 million pounds). • Over 50% of surveyed firms reported that one of the biggest benefits realized was a safer working environment for employees
  8. 8. Safer Consumer Products in California
 Targeting Specific Product Markets • State program focused on requiring manufacturers wishing to sell products in the state to seek safer alternatives to toxic chemicals in selected products • Every two years State identifies three toxic chemicals in products for which firms must conduct Alternative Assessments to identify safer substitutes • Based on these Alternative Assessments state may take actions ranging from required product labeling to chemical bans
  9. 9. History of California Safer Consumer Products Program • 2006 -- UC Berkeley released Green Chemistry in California calling for a new state program to promote safer chemicals in products and industrial production • 2008 -- California enacts legislation to establish the Safer Consumer Products Program, advised by a Green Ribbon Science Panel • 2018 – ten year Evaluation finds limited program success
  10. 10. Results of the Safer Consumer Products Program Theory of Change: Chemical specific government regulations can drive the market to search for safer chemical ingredients. Requiring firms to seek safer alternatives can drive innovation. Result: industry fought back Six chemicals in six products have been targeted: First Tier • Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCPP) phosphine in children’s mattresses Market shifted • Targeted methylene chloride in paint strippers Federal action • methylene diphenyl diisocyanate is spray foam insulation Industry challenged Second Tier • Perfluoro/polyfluoro alkyl substances (PFAS) in rugs and carpet Delayed • Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) in Laundry detergents Delayed • 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) in varnish and graffiti removers Delayed
  11. 11. Retailers Restricted Substance Programs
 Promoting Industry Competition • Over the past decade some major US retailers have been using Restricted Substance Lists (RSLs) to guide their efforts in reducing the use of chemicals of high concern • In 2013, 8 of the largest retailers formed the Retail Leaders Council to • understand which chemicals of concern are in their products • develop and implement chemicals policies/strategies • engage their suppliers in identifying safer alternatives and improving chemicals management • adopt safer alternatives that perform and are cost-effective • educate their customers about safer products
  12. 12. Retailer’s Chemical Policies Theory of Change: Promoting competition and co-operation among firms in consumer-facing industries can drive change in supply chains Result: Majority of “big box” retailers are actively driving out lists of chemicals of high concern in products they sell • Walmart (2013)--- instituted a chemical policy to reduce 10% of the hazardous chemicals in 50,000 products in the beauty, personal care, baby care and cleaning products categories. • Target (2015)----policy launched to remove formaldehyde and phthalates from its beauty, baby care, personal care and household cleaning products and remove all per-fluorinated compounds and flame retardants in its apparel by 2022. • CVS (2018)---- updated its list of chemicals restricted from use in its over 600 private- label baby, beauty, personal care and food products.
  13. 13. Mind the Store • Since 2016, the Mind the Store Campaign has released an annual Score Card grading 40 major North American retailers on their initiatives to disclose and replace dangerous chemicals in their products. • In 2018, Apple, Walmart, Target and Ikea received the highest scores • The lowest scores included Subway, Starbucks, McDonalds and Office Depot See: https://retailerreportcard.com/2018/10/executive-summary-2018/.
  14. 14. Lessons • State regulatory programs can drive the search for safer chemicals in products and processes • Such programs should set frameworks that provide flexibility, rather than target specific chemicals • Competition and cooperation among competitors within economic sectors (retail, textiles, auto manufacturing, electronic product manufacturing) focused on flexible frameworks can drive safer chemical selection For more Information, see Ken Geiser, Chemicals without Harm, Policies for a Sustainable World, MIT Press, 2015.

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