Guide aims to help companies assess chemical safety

Published: December 3, 2012 6:00 am ET
Updated: January 3, 2013 6:26 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Public Policy, Materials, Suppliers

WASHINGTON (Dec. 3, 8:30 a.m. ET) — A coalition group of more than 500 leaders from businesses, non-governmental organizations, universities, and government agencies has put together The Guide to Safer Chemicals as a way for companies to assess chemicals and find replacements for potentially harmful chemicals.

“Comprehensive programs for safer chemicals are essential to innovation, informed decisions, and clear communication with suppliers,” said Mark Rossi, lead author of the guide, co-director of Clean Water Action, and founder and co-chair of BizNGO which released the guide today at its seventh annual meeting, which is being held in Berkeley, Calif.

“This ... is intended to revolutionize the way companies are able to move away from hazardous chemicals and replace them with safer alternatives,” said Rossi. “Such steps offer new market opportunities by positioning U.S. businesses to meet emerging global consumer demands and be far ahead of any regulation.”

There was no immediate comment from the American Chemistry Council on the 64-page guide.

BizNGO said it was motivated to publish the guide because of continued new scientific research that emerges daily that links exposure to chemicals of high concern in products to the increasing incidence of serious chronic health problems, including asthma, childhood cancers, infertility and learning and developmental disabilities.

“The uncertainty surrounding the safety of chemicals is eroding consumer confidence in a wide range of products,” said BizNGO, whose stated mission is to promote the creation and adoption of safer chemicals and sustainable materials.

“The Guide will be an evolving resource of current and best practices of how organizations can implement safer alternatives to chemicals of high concern to human health or the environment,” stated BizNGO, which is a project of Clean Water Action.

“This is our first attempt at detailing the actions organizations are taking on the paths to the BizNGO principles for safer chemicals,” said the guide. “We recognize that many gaps exist in our reporting and that the benchmarks are imperfect and will need refinement.”

Staples, Hewlett-Packard, Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, Construction Specialties, Novation, Perkins+Will, Shaw Industries, Seventh Generation, Method, and Premier are among the businesses that have endorsed BizNGo’s principles.

Environmental groups that are members of BizNGO include Health Care Without Harm, the Center for Environmental Health, the Breast Cancer Fund, the Ecology Center, Clean Water Action, Clean Production Action, and the Healthy Building Network.

BizNGO said companies should take four steps to determine whether the chemicals they use are harmful and to make continuous progress toward the goal of safe chemicals.

• Identify the chemicals in their products and within their supply chain and set goals to disclose that type of information to the public.

• Evaluate the chemicals in their process and products to identify chemicals of high concern and then implement programs to substitute safer alternatives.

• Establish a corporate chemicals policy, set goals for moving to safer chemicals, and publicly report on that progress.

• Advocate for the implementation of the above principles into public policies and industry standards through collaboration with NGOs and support of regulations and legislation supporting those principles.

The guide includes examples of how companies such as Seventh Generation, Clorox, Hewlett Packard, Nike, carpet manufacturer Interface, Timberland, Construction Specialties and hard drive manufacturer Seagate approach chemical assessment and safety.

“The combination of The Guide and the GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals provides a comprehensive framework for managing chemicals in products,” said Troy Virgo, director of sustainability and product stewardship at Shaw Industries Group Inc., one of the world’s largest carpet manufacturers, in a statement issued by BizNGO in its press release.

Helen Holder, materials manager at Hewlett-Packard Co., also testified to the usefulness of the new guide.

“The guide establishes clear steps for building a meaningful program for developing and adopting better materials,” she said. “We have found it to be helpful in communicating across the supply chain how to implement a green chemistry program.”

“Managing chemicals in products requires a systematic approach and constant attention to changing materials, consumer demands, and emerging science on the hazards of chemicals,” added Howard Williams, vice president and general manager at Construction Specialties Inc., a U.S.-based manufacturer of building and construction products. “The guide is the how-to-resource on how to succeed in managing chemicals in products and across supply chains.”


Comments

Guide aims to help companies assess chemical safety

Published: December 3, 2012 6:00 am ET
Updated: January 3, 2013 6:26 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Vinyl siding's lead slips, but industry pushing back

July 29, 2014 2:04 pm ET

Vinyl siding continues to be the top cladding choice for home builders and remodelers but fiber cement is gaining ground — at an alarming rate...    More

Unipex Group buys Ferguson Chemical Innovation

July 29, 2014 1:57 pm ET

Chemical distributor Unipex Group Inc. announced July 29 that it had purchased Ferguson Chemical Innovation, a Brampton, Ontario-based supplier of...    More

Image

Carbon black supplier Orion begins trading on NYSE

July 29, 2014 11:29 am ET

Orion Engineered Carbons S.a.r.l. has priced the initial public offering of 19.5 million common shares at a price to the public of $18 per share.    More

Image

Dow sees solid second quarter performance

July 29, 2014 11:19 am ET

Dow Chemical Co. has reported its second quarter figures, with its seventh consecutive quarter of growth, according to the company.More

Image

Evonik sells polyimide foams operation to Boyd

July 29, 2014 10:46 am ET

Modesto, Calif.-based Boyd Corp., a manufacturers of specialty material and sealing agents, has purchased Evonik Industries’ Solimid...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recyclers Data Report & Directory

This exclusive MS Excel database contains all the companies from Plastics News' ranking of top North American Recyclers and Brokers by reprocessed volume and also includes a directory with materials processes, services offered and company contact information. Data is based on primary research by PN editorial staff.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events