States seeks input on draft guidance for assessing alternatives to toxic chemicals

BOSTON– The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2), an association of state, local, and tribal governments, announces the availability of draft guidance on alternatives assessment and chemical risk reduction. The document is available for public review and comment through April 19, 2013.

Over the past year, eight of IC2’s state members have been working together to develop a draft framework for alternatives assessment,” said Ken Zarker, Washington Department of Ecology and Vice-chair of the IC2.  “We are coordinating our efforts to make the most of limited resources. Seeking public input is the next important step forward.”
Alternatives assessment (AA) is a process that encourages companies to consider the potential harm that alternative chemicals could have on human health and the environment before they are used in products. The IC2 is seeking input on the draft guidance to leverage industry, government, and non-government AA experiences.

“States continue to provide leadership in an effort to advance sound chemical management strategies,” Zarker said. “I’m optimistic that this alternatives assessment guidance will be a win-win for businesses and consumers. States are interested in providing  economic opportunities  through green product innovation, while allowing for more informed chemical choices.”

“As more states consider incorporating alternatives analyses requirements in their laws and regulations, this effort by IC2 to gather input from all potentially-affected stakeholders is important,” said Maureen Gorsen, Partner at Alston and Bird, and supporting member of the IC2. “This is a brand new area of law, and it is critical that good guidance be established.”

The draft guidance is based on an alternatives assessment process pioneered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Design for the Environment Program. A function of the IC2 is to support health and environmental agencies with the development and implementation of programs to promote the use of safer chemicals and products. After gathering and responding to input on the draft guidance, the IC2 members will seek businesses to pilot its use.

The public may submit comments on the draft through Friday, April 19, 2013 at http://blog.purestrategies.com/ecology/Providing-Comments. The IC2 and the Washington State Department of Ecology developed this special website to support public outreach for and commentary on the alternatives assessment guidance. The Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) provides staff and facilitation support for IC2.

For more information:IC2 Guidance for Alternatives Assessment and Risk Reduction(www.newmoa.org/prevention/ic2/aaguidance.cfm)

U.S. EPA’s Design for the Environment Alternatives Assessment Program (www.epa.gov/dfe/alternative_assessments.html)

Broadcast version:

Eight states are seeking public comment on a draft document for assessing alternatives to toxic chemicals. The proposed guidance provides companies with a voluntary process to consider the potential harm that substitute chemicals could have on health and the environment.

The eight states that are collaborating on the project are members of the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2). The IC2 will share the results of this initiative with industry, NGOs, and the other IC2 members after the comment period has closed.

The public may submit comments on the draft guidance through Friday, April 19th at a special website set up by the IC2 and the Washington Department of Ecology for this purpose. Go to www.newmoa.org/IC2/aaguidance.cfm for the link to this website.