According to the WallStreet Journal, a new nonprofit institute, Green Products InnovationInstitute, has recently been formed to help establish product safety standardsto be used by California’sregulators. The regulators will use these standards when enforcing a California law thatrequires state manufacturers to find safer ways to manufacture consumerproducts.
The law was passed in 2008, and will begin being enforced in2011. The work of the Institute is based on “Cradle-to-Cradle” principles thatwere designed in 1995 by an architect and a chemist. The principles illuminateways that products can be redesigned so that they end up becoming recyclableinstead of pollutants. The institute is aiming to serve as a clearinghouse forchemicals in the state and hopes to advance a seal of approval to be used inmanufacturing.
However, the Cradle to Cradle process takes so much time toput into practice that some companies who have been trying for years stillhaven’t completely transitioned their product lines. One problem is that saferalternative materials are not always readily available. The Institute hopes tocollaborate with manufacturers and retailers to identify sources of safe rawmaterials and manufacturing techniques.
Governor Schwarzenegger hopes the certification process willlead to fewer carcinogens and other hazardous substances being present inconsumer products, including toys, skin lotions, and candy. The Governor acknowledged that over 600 wellsin Californiaare contaminated, primarily due to decomposing plastic products.