Green Chemistry

Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, Oscar Hernandez, "Creative Adaptation: Enhancing Oversight of Synthetic Biology Under the Toxic Substances Control Act," Industrial Biotechnology, October 2014.

Synthetic biology is delivering on its promise as an emerging scientific field in providing society with effective new sustainable products in diverse areas including renewable energy, contamination remediation, and medical applications, among others. As is the case with any rapidly evolving technology, the pace of technological innovation challenges regulators’ ability to identify and address adequately the substantial uncertainties they confront when discharging their legal obligations under controlling laws to ensure human and environmental safety. This article provides a brief description of synthetic biology, discusses the current domestic regulatory framework that governs the regulation of products of synthetic biology, and focuses narrowly on options and opportunities the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), innovators in the area of synthetic biology, and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)-regulated community at large may wish to consider to enhance TSCA’s core adaptive capacity to identify and address potential health and environmental risk implications posed by the commercialization of products of synthetic biology.

Kathleen M. Roberts, "How to Make Friends and Win EPA Approvals: tips for biobased chemicals," Biofuels Digest, May 28, 2014.

In last week’s Special Report on Scale-up in Industrial Biotechnology, the Digest noted that a consistent lesson shared by leading biotech heavyweights at the BIO World Congress scale-up session is to “avoid an afterthought approach to regulatory compliance.” As luck and good scheduling would have it, after lunch on the same day, savvy conference-goers got up-close-and-personal with two senior U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulators and a seasoned company executive involved with biobased chemicals at a session titled “Commercializing Renewable Chemicals and Biobased Products: The Importance of Successfully and Efficiently Navigating the Regulatory Process.” This article highlights the top tips for gaining EPA regulatory approval shared by EPA’s Dr. Tracy Williamson and Dr. David Widawsky at the session.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Brave New World: California Finalizes Safer Consumer Products Regulations," Environmental Quality Management, Spring 2014.

It is official. California’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products regulations, and the program went into effect on October 1, 2013. The regulations mark the much-anticipated regulatory implementation of California’s Green Chemistry Initiative. The regulations and final statement of reasons are available at http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/SCPRegulations.cfm. This new program is a true game-changer, and it will have profound national and international business, regulatory, and commercial implications for consumer product manufacturers and others for the reasons noted in this Washington Watch article. 

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Targets Flame Retardants DecaBDE and BPA," Chemical Processing, February 13, 2014.

On January 29, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released two final Alternatives Assessment Reports for the flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE) and bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper. The EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) program developed the assessments, which profile the environmental and human health hazards for DecaBDE, BPA, and their alternatives. This article explains why these assessments are important.

Lynn L. Bergeson, Kathleen M. Roberts, "Promoting Renewable Chemicals," The Environmental Forum, January/February, 2014.

Biofuels have gotten all the press. But biobased chemicals have equal environmental and health potential, and also the most exposure under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Implications range from irritating to crippling, depending upon a manufacturer’s response.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Toxic Chemicals: Prepare for Product Regulations," Chemical Processing, October 15, 2013.

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products Regulations are now in effect (See "California Cracks Down on Chemicals"). While the most onerous requirements for "responsible entities" (manufacturers, importers, assemblers and retailers) will not hit for a while, companies should consider taking some initial steps now to understand how these regulations may affect operations in the future.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The Regulation of Renewable Chemicals Under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA)," Environmental Quality Management, Fall 2013.

The application of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to biobased chemicals is sometimes overlooked, given the enthusiasm supporting the commercialization of biobased products. This “Washington Watch” article explains TSCA’s application to these products and outlines strategies to ensure the successful marketing of biobased chemical products.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "California Cracks Down On Chemicals," Chemical Processing, September 16, 2013.

On August 23, 2013, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released changes to the near final Safer Consumer Products Regulations (SCPR). These game-changing regulations took effect October 1, 2013. This column broadly outlines the rule and summarizes the changes.

Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, and R. David Peveler, "TSCA and the Regulation of Renewable Chemicals," American Oil Chemists, July/August, 2013.

While regulators are generally supportive of new chemistries that can replace older, petroleum-based ones, biobased chemicals are subject to the same Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that governs every other chemical substance in the United States. Surprisingly, biobased chemicals that are considered to be “new chemicals” may actually receive more scrutiny under this law than established chemicals do. The following article provides practical information about the TSCA provisions that are most relevant to biobased chemicals, regulatory outcomes of Premanufacture Notification (PMN) review, and strategies stakeholders can use to assure compliance and successful commercialization of biobased chemicals.

Lynn L. Bergeson, Kathleen M. Roberts, and Heidi B. Lewis, "Why BRAG Before You Go to Market? The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) Helps Companies Commercialize Their Products," Industrial Biotechnology, August 2013.

Renewable chemicals are emerging at a fast pace, paving the way for new, innovative, and sustainable biobased products. The renewable chemicals’ market is estimated to reach $83.4 billion by 2018 in applications ranging from transportation and agriculture to textiles and cosmetics. In addition to all the elements great companies need to succeed -- a great product, a great brand, inspiring leadership, and vision -- biobased product companies need to understand how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) occupies a virtual seat at their management table, whether or not they know it.

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