Green Chemistry

Materials minimization, replacement of toxic materials, and corporate/personal accountability embody green chemistry reflecting the ten key values of sustainability, ecological wisdom, community-based economics, and personal and global responsibility.

Green Chemistry is the design and use of chemicals (organic, inorganic, and organometallic), processes, and products that are safer for human and environmental health. The approach prevents hazardous exposures by designing out the hazards posed by chemicals and chemical processes.
Chemicals and their products are usually selected by industry on the basis of their price, function, and performance rather than safety or health.
Whenever major safety and health problems occur, governments pay for the damages, this amounting to massive subsidies of the chemical industries.
This state of affairs would end if the manufacturers were responsible for the "cradle to grave" fate (from manufacture to disposal) of their chemicals and products rather than governments and the public. Safety and health issues are significant because 1000 new chemicals of unknown toxicity are produced every year and 42 million pounds of chemicals are produced and imported each day in the United States.
The Green Party recommends the following:
Corporations that produce chemicals and their products, whether in the United States or not, must be financially responsible for all adverse health and adverse environmental effects during synthesis, manufacture, product use, waste generation, and waste disposal. If negligent, they should be fined appropriately.
Corporations producing chemicals and their products must disclose adequate information to regulatory agencies and the general public about potential health or environmental hazards of the chemicals and products. In turn, the government must ensure information about toxicity, antidotes, directions, adverse environmental effects, and use are available to the public, either on a label on the product and/or in documentation that can be accessed before product purchase by the public. Such information must be updated at least annually to keep pace with changes in technology, science, and industrial processes.
Governments and corporations should fund research, development, education, and technical assistance in Green Chemistry. Universities and schools should develop courses on Green Chemistry, environmental health, environmental chemistry, safety, risk assessment, pollution prevention, risk prevention and control, and sustainability.
Governments and private enterprise should fund research into whether chemicals have been absorbed into humans and into the flora, fauna (collectively called "biomonitoring"), and environmental media of ecosystems. Biomarkers in humans need to be developed to assess whether toxics exposure has occurred, and how much exposure has occurred. Biomarkers also need to be developed to show if human health is adversely affected or potentially so via personalized medicine, metabolomics, and genetics.
The sale of products that are prohibited on the basis of health and environmental effects outside the United States should also be prohibited in California.
Governments and private enterprise must support clean energy technologies,sustainability, and optimally efficient manufacturing processes that conserve energy, minimize environmental pollution, and minimize waste.
Recycling and reuse should be optimized to minimize waste disposal volume and toxicity. Incentives to research and development in this area need to be provided.
Chemicals should be designed to break down into non-toxic compounds after use.
The use and production of toxic, bioaccumulative, and persistent chemicals must be minimized.
Tracking data on chemical use from cradle to grave (manufacture to disposal) must be collected and analyzed that include all corporations involved in product chemical synthesis, manufacture, use, marketing, sale, delivery, recycling, and disposal.
Tax incentives, credits, low-interest loans, and awards should be provided to corporations who voluntarily incorporate Green Chemistry in the production of their chemicals.
Plastics that are to be disposed of must be made biodegradable.
Human health adverse effects over the life cycle must be prevented. Such susceptible populations as infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and workers should act as sentinel populations.
Cost-benefit analyses for Green Chemistry must take into consideration all direct and indirect costs.
Ongoing annual and five-yearly reports on the state of Green Chemistry in California should be produced by the Government that are accessible to the general public, for example, on the internet. Such reports must also cumulate data, provide trends relative to the report years and previous 5-year periods, list the contributing corporations, and specify the major problem areas that need attention via prioritized lists of pollutants, of corporate polluters, of large fines for negligent corporations, and of large corporate legal settlements. Corporations, producers and marketers must also complete similar non-confidential reports for their chemicals and products that are being tracked, and submit them to the appropriate Government agency.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and its state counterparts must be strengthened.