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January 6, 2010

New York Considers Listing Chemicals that Agencies Should Avoid Buying

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

The New York Interagency Committee on Sustainability and Green Procurement has voted 9-1 to recommend a “chemical avoidance list,” which would be a list of 85 chemicals that New York government agencies should avoid buying. Listed chemicals would not be banned, but industry representatives have criticized the proposal, noting that the list would not address the actual risk from exposure. The Committee intends the list to comply with Governor David Paterson’s 2008 Executive Order directing state agencies, public authorities, and public benefit corporations to buy environmentally friendly products. Information on the Executive Order and the Interagency Committee is available online.

The list is drawn from federal, international, other state and municipal lists. According to Anne Rabe, an advisory council member from the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, some chemicals on the list, such as pesticides and clothing flame retardants, are already banned by New York. Other chemicals include components of solvents, herbicides, plastics, preservatives, glues, carpets, paints, dyes, and lubricants. The Committee referred the list to a subcommittee to examine it in terms of the actual purchasing that state agencies are required to do. According to Committee members, the final recommendations will be posted and subject to public comment.

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