BCGC Newsletter June 2016

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The Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry

Helping to transform society's production and use of chemicals and materials

The University of California Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry is an academic program that advances green chemistry through interdisciplinary scholarship. BCGC pursues innovations in education, research and public engagement. We are faculty, researchers, and students in the Colleges of Chemistry, Natural Resources and Engineering, and the Schools of Public Health and Business.

BCGC June 2016 Newsletter


Executive Director Tom McKeag, Associate Director, co-instructor Heather Buckley, and SAGE fellow David Faulkner separately addressed five different breakout groups at the American Chemical Society/Green Chemistry Institute sponsored eventDavid Faulkner outlined his latest paper in “A practical guide for green molecular design: Using in silico approaches to reduce toxicological risk." He explained his review of various toxicology software programs, the

McKeag gave three talks as part of the Innovators’ Roundtable, the Electronics Council and education sessions, Design of the State of the Art Green Chemistry Curricula. He paired up with Dawn Danby, Senior Sustainability Manager at Autodesk, for the first two, explaining the successful collaboration that BCGC and the software maker have forged through the Greener Solutions program and the potential impact it will have on the additive manufacturing industry.

in Portland on June 14-16. In addition, Laura Armstrong of the undergraduate program in green chemistry at Berkeley gave a talk at the education session, with Michele Douskey, a lecturer in the UC Berkeley College of Chemistry, in attendance. Douskey later gave a “rapid fire” talk about integrating sustainability into the undergraduate curriculum at a subsequent session about curricular materials design.challenges and benefits of using them, and proposed the parameters for an ideal program that would best aid the chemist in designing sustainable materials from the start. Heather Buckley summarized the methods and outcomes of her exciting work to develop a benign waterproofing for cardboard roofing tiles in “Valorizing waste cardboard as a low-cost green building material for India."

“The GC&E is an important and inspiring conference, with over 700 authors and luminaries like Paul Anastas addressing the assembly and working in breakout groups," McKeag said of the experience. "We were all very proud to convey UC Berkeley’s accomplishments there, and look forward to strengthening our ties with our friends and colleagues at ACS/GCI.”

You can view the presentation Tom gave on the Greener Solutions program here.
Marty Mulvihill's Overview of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (originally published via Marty's Safer Made newsletter)

This week President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act into law, a bipartisan bill that modestly expands the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to oversee chemicals in commerce. This bill is designed to reform the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) which is widely recognized as ineffective and out of date.
Many people incorrectly assume that the US government and the Environmental Protection Agency already test chemicals used in consumer products like shampoo and couches for safety. Even under the proposed expansion, the chemicals used in consumer products will remain largely unregulated and consumers interested in making safer choices will still need to rely on third-party assessments to find safer products. Even though this bill does very little to protect consumers, it does empower the EPA to gather more information about the health impacts of chemicals used in commerce. Below you can find a point by point summary of what the bill does and does not do to change the regulation of chemicals in the US.
For Safer Made this bill underscores the growing awareness of chemicals of concern in consumer products as demonstrated by the broad support for this bipartisan bill. Given the relatively modest scope of the bill, actions being taken in the private sector by industry leaders like Target, Walmart, Patagonia, Levis, Seventh Generation, Method and many others will still be a far greater positive influence on the chemical supply chain than federal regulation. Safer Made will continue to partner with these industry leaders to identify and support alternatives to hazardous chemicals ahead of action by the EPA.

Summary of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
What the Bill does for the EPA:
  • Allows the EPA to review all chemicals currently used in commerce. When TSCAwas passed in 1976 all chemicals already on the market (60,000) were grandfathered into use and the EPA could not request any further information.
  • Allows the EPA to reassess confidential business information claims (CBI), which were widely used to withhold critical information from the EPA under TSCA. The current bill mandates that CBI claims must be substantiated by the chemical producer and must be renewed every 10 years.
  • Allows the EPA to require additional testing of chemicals by the industry without going through the lengthy rule making process that was required under TSCA.
Remaining issues to be resolved:
  • This regulation does not give consumers a right to know what is in their products. Product and chemical transparency remain one of the biggest barriers to action and this bill does not make things any better.
  • Chemical review will be extremely slow. EPA will likely only review 10-20 chemicals per year despite the fact that there are tens of thousands of registered chemicals, including at least 1000, that EPA considers a high priority and 700 new chemicals introduced every year.
  • The safety standard set in the new bill is still relatively weak. There is no minimum standard for toxicity testing on chemicals and the legal burden “no unreasonable risk of harm” is weaker than the standard set for chemicals in other settings “reasonable certainty of no harm.”
Areas where the effect of the Bill is still unclear:
  • Implementing a health standard rather than a cost-benefit standard for the assessment and regulation of chemicals. It appears that the EPA will only need to demonstrate health risks in order to prioritize chemicals, but that they may still need to pass the cost-benefit test in order to regulate a given chemical.
  • It is not clear if the EPA will have the resources needed to meet the mandates of the new bill.
  • It is not clear how the review process for chemicals prioritization works and how much influence companies will be able to exert over it.
States’ ability to regulate chemicals of concern will be superseded by the federal regulation on a chemical by chemical basis. With the exception of California’s Proposition 65 and the Massachusetts Toxic Use Reduction Act which will both be unaffected by the new law, the federal ruling on a given chemical will take precedence.

Copyright © 2016 Safer 

BCGC in the News

BCGC's Heather Buckley on CBC's Quirks and Quarks
Heather Buckley, BCGC's associate director of international partnerships, was interviewed earlier this month on CBC's "Quirks and Quarks," one of the top radio shows in Canada. Heather talked about her work developing low-cost, green, waterproof roofing material out of cardboard. You can listen to the interview and read about it on the show's website here.

Green Chemistry Community

July 30 - August 4, 2016 Green Chemistry Gordon Research Conference (GRC) 

September 4-8, 2016 - 6th International IUPAC Conference on Green Chemistry Conference, Venice, Italy
Abstract submission deadline – May 15, 2016

October 16-19, 2016  - 8th Green Solvents Conference in Kiel/Germany and 1st Green Solvents Workshop

November 27-30, 2016 - 6th Asia-Oceania Conference on Sustainable and Green Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong

December 12, 2016 Frontiers in Green Materials, London, UK
This one day symposium will provide a forum to discuss and inspire inter-disciplinary, innovative research based on reducing the use of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture and application of chemical and material products. Chemists, engineers and materials scientists from both research and industry are invited to register. For more details, please visit


Green Chemistry Opportunities

 October 22-23 K12 Informal Science Opportunity at October Bioneers Conference in Marin.

Design and host a hands-on green chemistry exercise as part of a family fair. As part of the Bioneers conference 
( we will be producing the Family Fair: science, art, nature and biomimicry activities for kids and families on October 22nd and 23rd at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael. We will be offering hands-on educational activities and would like to invite some students from your program to design and host a green chemistry activities at the Family Fair.  

The Family Fair runs from 10AM-4 PM October 22nd and 23rd at
the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael. We would provide comp 3
day registration passes to the  Bioneers conference for those who help design and organize similar activities .

Over the years, Bioneers has worked closely with John Warner, Paul Anastas and others to highlight the important emergence and growth of the field of Green Chemistry. The Bioneers Conference, now in its 27th year as a unique forum for highlighting multi-disciplinary solutions to social and environmental problems, attracts 3,000-4,000 participants each fall.

In 2015, we worked closely with John and Amy Cannon from Beyond Benign to develop educational activities for youth, ages 6-12, as part of the Family Fair at the annual Bioneers Conference in Marin and were thrilled to be able to include Cal Green Chemistry students as part of the event.

Contact: Arty Mangan
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Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry · Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry · 50 University Hall, MC 7360 · Berkeley, CA 94720 · USA

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