213037 Role of Chemicals Policy and Green Chemistry in the Clean Energy Economy

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:10 AM

Michael P. Wilson, PhD, MPH , Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
As the U.S. prepares to spur a new era of economic growth in clean energy technologies and energy efficiency, it has an opportunity to generate important co-benefits by simultaneously reshaping outmoded policies governing industrial chemicals. Doing so will (1) reduce worker, community, and ecosystem harms caused by chemical exposures and pollution; (2) build a sustainable footing for the clean energy sector; and (3) open new opportunities for investment and employment in the design and use of safer alternatives, based on the principles of green chemistry.

Chemical Production:

In 2005, U.S. chemical manufacturers reported producing or importing about 74 billion pounds per day of chemicals used in products and industrial processes, 90% of which were produced using oil. If converted to gallons of water, this mass of material would fill a line of tanker trucks about 10,000 miles long, each carrying 8,000 gallons. At some point in its lifecycle, all of this material enters finite ecosystems, and much of it comes in contact with people through the use of products, in the workplace, and in air, food, water, soil and waste streams.

The great majority of the tens of thousands of chemicals in commerce, however, have never been sufficiently evaluated for their effects on humans or ecosystems. This is a legacy of weaknesses in the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), which has produced a chemical data gap, safety gap, and technology gap in the U.S., with their attendant health and environmental consequences.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to describe the principals of green chemistry

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My education and knowledge in this topic including papers published in the area of green chemistry
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.