Event Details

Date

Oct. 22 - Dec. 10th, 2013

Time

11AM, Pacific Time

Location

www.sixclasses.org

Downloads and Media

Webinars
 Fluorinated Chemicals (stain and water repellants)
Jennifer Field, PhD
Professor of Chemistry, Oregon State University
Watch: Video
Download: Slides, Factsheet.
Anti-Microbials (triclosan and triclocarban)
Gary Ginsberg, PhD
Toxicologist, Connecticut Dept. of Public Health, Yale University and U. Connecticut
Watch: Video
Download: Slides, Factsheet.
Flame Retardants (brominated, chlorinated, phosphate)
Arlene Blum, PhD
Visiting Scholar in Chemistry, UC Berkeley, Green Science Policy Institute
Watch: Video
Download: Slides, Factsheet.
Plasticizers & Endocrine Disruptors (BPA, phthalates, etc.)
Carol Kwiatkowski, PhD
The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc.
Watch: Video
Download: Slides, Factsheet.
Solvents (benzene, methylene chloride, xylene, etc.)
Liz Harriman
Deputy Director, Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute
Watch: Video
Download: Slides, Factsheet.
Heavy Metals (lead, mercury, chromium, cadmium, arsenic etc.)
Graham Peaslee, PhD
Hartgerink Professor of Chemistry, Hope College
Watch: Video
Download: Slides, Factsheet.
Do We Need It?
Debbie Raphael
Director, California Department of Toxic Substances Control
Watch: Video
Download: Slides, Factsheet.
Green Chemistry
Bob Peoples, PhD:
Former Director of ACS Green Chemistry Institute
Watch: Video
Download: Slides, Factsheet.

Six Classes

A Webinar Series on Chemicals of Concern

Laboratory BeakersYou are invited to listen and learn from our series of half-hour webinars about six families or “classes” of chemicals which contain many of the harmful substances found in everyday products. Instead of worrying about tens of thousands of untested chemicals, we will learn from distinguished scientists who are outstanding teachers about six classes containing many of the bad actor chemicals in consumer products.  In addition, the series will move us towards solutions by asking, “Do we need these chemicals?” and when the answer is “Yes,” we will explore safer green chemistry alternatives.

This engaging and informative weekly series ran from Tuesday October 22 to December 10, 2013. If you have questions about the webinar series, contact Sam Busener at sam@greensciencepolicy.org or fill out our contact form.

The Six Classes series is brought to you by the Green Science Policy Institute with the support of the following organizations: Clean Production Action | Commonweal | The Cornell Douglas Foundation | ECOSPHERE | Environmental Impact Group, LLC | Environmental Working Group | The Fred Gellert Family Foundation | Google | The Hope College Chemistry Department | MomsRising | New York Community Trust | Passport Foundation | Staples, Inc | The Wallace Genetic Foundation

TOPICS

The topics being covered include the following:

Fluorinated Chemicals: Fluorinated chemicals are used in cookware, clothing, outdoor apparel, carpeting, and food packaging to provide oil- and water resistant properties. They are persistent in the environment and have been detected in humans and biota all over the globe. In humans, some fluorinated chemicals have been associated with kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disruption, elevated total cholesterol, and obesity. 
Anti-Microbials: Anti-microbials, such as triclosan and triclocarban, are used in products from soap, deodorant, and toothpaste to socks, lunchboxes, and counter tops to prevent microbial growth. Antimicrobials can be ingested or absorbed through the skin and are detected in most Americans. They are a concern because they are associated with adverse endocrine, thyroid, and reproductive changes and their use can lead to resistant strains of bacteria. Soap and water can be a better alternative.
Flame Retardants: Flame retardants are used in furniture and baby product foam, building insulation, electronics, and other products to reduce fire hazard. They are detected in most Americans, with the highest levels in children, and they have been associated with endocrine disruption and reproductive, neurologic, and immune impairment as well as cancer. As currently used in furniture, building insulation and some other products, flame retardants do not increase fire safety.
Plasticizers & Endocrine Disruptors: Endocrine disruptors interfere with the hormone signaling mechanisms of the human body. They are found in plastics, pesticides, flame retardants, and other products and are measured in all humans. EDCs cause disruption to reproductive, metabolic, neurologic, and immune systems and the thyroid at very low concentrations and are most harmful during critical windows of development of the fetus.
Solvents: Solvents are used in paint, coatings, degreasers, dry cleaning chemicals, and many other products in order to dissolve other chemical constituents. Many non-water based organic solvents release vapors that humans inhale and absorb. Some solvents are associated with  neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, and carcinogenic effects during short-term high level exposure and over prolonged periods of low level exposure. 
Heavy Metals: Heavy metals, like lead, cadmium, and mercury, have been harming human health for millennia. Heavy metal toxicity can result in reduced mental and central nervous function, lower energy levels, and damage to blood, lungs, kidneys, liver, and other organs. Some heavy metals like zinc that provide a health benefit in small doses can be toxic at high levels.
Do We Need It?: Let’s start at the very beginning…When making the decision to use any chemical of concern in a process or product, the first question to  ask is “Do we need this chemical?” Assessing whether the function that a chemical serves is essential to a product is a good way to begin to frame the issue.
Green Chemistry: When creating a new chemical, mixture, product or formulation one should ask the question, “Do we need it?” If the answer is yes, we can turn to green chemistry to fill that chemical need. Green chemistry can help replace chemical products and processes that pose threats to human health and the environment with chemicals and processes that have been designed with the health of humans and ecosystems in mind.

SPEAKERS

Jennifer Field, PhD

Jennifer Field, PhD

Professor of Chemistry, Oregon State University

October 22, 11 am PDT
Read Full Bio
Gary Ginsberg, PhD

Gary Ginsberg, PhD

Toxicologist, Connecticut Dept. of Public Health, Yale University and U. Connecticut

October 29, 11 am PDT
Read Full Bio
Arlene Blum, PhD

Arlene Blum, PhD

Visiting Scholar in Chemistry, UC Berkeley, Green Science Policy Institute

November 5, 11 am PDT
Read Full Bio
Carol Kwiatkowski, PhD

Carol Kwiatkowski, PhD

Executive Director, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc.

November 12, 11 am PDT
Read Full Bio
Liz Harriman

Liz Harriman

Deputy Director, Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute

November 19, 11 am PDT
Read Full Bio
Graham Peaslee, PhD

Graham Peaslee, PhD

Hartgerink Professor of Chemistry, Hope College

November 26, 11 am PDT
Read Full Bio
Debbie Raphael

Debbie Raphael

Director, California Department of Toxic Substances Control

December 3, 11 am PDT
Read Full Bio
Bob Peoples, PhD

Bob Peoples, PhD

Former Director of ACS Green Chemistry Institute

December 10, 11 am PDT
Read Full Bio

The Webinars

Webinars
 Fluorinated Chemicals (stain and water repellants)
Jennifer Field, PhD
Professor of Chemistry, Oregon State University
Anti-Microbials (triclosan and triclocarban)
Gary Ginsberg, PhD
Toxicologist, Connecticut Dept. of Public Health, Yale University and U. Connecticut
Flame Retardants (brominated, chlorinated, phosphate)
Arlene Blum, PhD
Visiting Scholar in Chemistry, UC Berkeley, Green Science Policy Institute
Plasticizers & Endocrine Disruptors (BPA, phthalates, etc.)
Carol Kwiatkowski, PhD
The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc.
Solvents (benzene, methylene chloride, xylene, etc.)
Liz Harriman
Deputy Director, Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute
Heavy Metals (lead, mercury, chromium, cadmium, arsenic etc.)
Graham Peaslee, PhD
Hartgerink Professor of Chemistry, Hope College
Do We Need It?
Debbie Raphael
Director, California Department of Toxic Substances Control
Green Chemistry
Bob Peoples, PhD:
Former Director of ACS Green Chemistry Institute

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Most of the 80,000 chemicals on the market have not been adequately tested and evaluated to ensure that they can be used safely in everyday products.  However, many of the thousands of untested chemicals are similar to chemicals that we already know are toxic.  Given the pace of scientific discovery and efforts by some sectors to slow or stop regulatory response, it is difficult for regulators to keep apace of findings of chemical harm.  Indeed under US law, even asbestos, which kills thousands of each year, cannot be regulated by the EPA because the standard of proof to show that a chemical is harmful is so high. Scientific studies have shown that chemicals in certain classes are highly likely to be harmful and a number of chemicals in these categories are commonly used in consumer products.

All too often when a harmful chemical is removed from use, the replacement is a chemical cousin with similar harmful properties.  The result is a toxic “whack-a-mole” where over time the replacement chemical is found also to be problematic and a similar effort to reduce the use of that chemical is needed.  This problem suggests considering how to reduce the use of chemicals in consumer products in classes that are known to be harmful , especially in cases where there is no proven benefit.  By focusing on classes of chemicals known to be toxic, and seeking elimination (or at least significant reduction) of their uses in consumer products,  we can help stop the current cycle of “regrettable substitutions,” whereby one toxic chemical is replaced by another that is closely related.

The many thousands of chemicals on the market can be grouped or classified in different ways.  One way is according to their chemical composition and structure.  Another is according to where and how they are used, ie, their functionality.  A third is according to whether they have intrinsic properties that render them harmful such as being cancer-causing or bioaccumulative.

he series focuses on six chemical classes that contain a large proportion of the known harmful chemicals that are used in many  consumer products but are not yet adequately regulated.  Many are volatile or semi-volatile and migrate into air and dust, and end up in humans, animals, and the environment.  (Chemicals used in foods, drugs and pesticides are not included because a number of federal and state laws do regulate these to some extent.)

The six classes containing chemicals of concern are:
1.      Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (stain and water repellants)
2.      Chlorinated Anti-microbials (triclosan and triclocarban)
3.      Flame Retardants (brominated, chlorinated, and phosphate)
4.      Some Plasticizers and Other Endocrine Disruptors (BPA, phthalates, etc.)
5.      Some Solvents (methylene chloride benzene, toluene, etc.)
6.      Some Heavy Metals (arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, etc.)

The first three groupings of chemicals above are all organohalogens (compounds in which carbon is bonded to bromine, chlorine, or fluorine). These chemicals are often toxic, lipophilic (fat-loving), and/or resistant to degradation, leading to their persistence and bioaccumulation in our bodies and the environment.  All 22 chemicals globally banned as Persistent Organic Pollutants under the Stockholm Convention are organohalogens. Other organohalogens in these three classes are still used at high levels in consumer products, in spite of their similarity to chemicals that have been banned or phased out.

The fourth class comprises the commonly used endocrine disruptors phthalates and BPA, which are ubiquitous in plastic products and our bodies.  While nearly all the listed chemicals in the six classes are suspected of having endocrine disrupting qualities, these plasticizers deserve to be targeted due to their high volume of use and adverse impact on biological systems at low levels.

The final two classes are some heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and chromium and certain solvents such as methylene chloride, benzene, and toluene. Exposure to these many heavy metals and solvents has, in numerous research studies, been associated with reduced IQ, cancer, and neurological or reproductive impairments.

Twenty-two leaders in science, business and the non-profit community came together during the summer of 2013 at the Blue Mountain Center in New York Sate to develop innovative new solutions to reduce the use of harmful chemicals in consumer products.     During four days of lectures and discussions participants brainstormed alternative strategies for reducing toxics in consumer products. The result was the Blue Mountain Blueprint to Reduce the Use of Chemical Classes of Concern.

The aim of the Blue Mountain Blueprint is to stimulate discussions among manufacturers, retailers, government decision makers and consumers about the importance of reducing the use of harmful chemicals in six classes from consumer products. This will simplify the process of eliminating toxics in products and avoid regrettable substitutions.

Nothing! All the webinars are free.

Each 30 minute long webinar will consist of a 5 minute introduction and a 15 minute lecture, followed by a question and answer session. The series goes for 8 weeks.

CLICK HERE to scoll down to our section on Registration

Yes. We are planning to record all of the webinars and will post them on this site so you can access them after the fact.

Suggested Readings

Check out a few of our favorite books to learn more about chemicals of concern in consumer products.


CONTACT

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CONTACT INFO

Green Science Policy Institute
Phone: (510) 898-1704
Email: sam@greensciencepolicy.org