by Eric F. Greenberg
Eye-opening developments in chemical safety
If you're trying to keep an eye on regulatory programs dealing with the safety and environmental effects of chemicals, it's hard to know which way you should be looking. If you focus too much on a voluntary federal program, you could lose sight of a mandatory state program. Today we'll look at both.
On the federal level, you may have noticed that there's a symbol on some consumer product labels that companies use to brag about their product being safer for the environment. It's called the "Design for the Environment" or DfE program and is already on about 2,500 products. Well, the EPA plans to change the look of the symbol itself, in part because you may not have noticed it or understood what it meant. While EPA's program is voluntary, a set of 'safer chemicals' requirements is starting to be implemented in California, and might influence other states.
The symbol is part of an EPA program that reviews products and grants permission for some to use the label logo if EPA determines that "their ingredients and finished product line up on the green end of the health and environmental spectrum while maintaining or improving product performance."