Major Green Purchasing Victory


New York Moves to Get Toxic Chemicals Out of Products

New York’s consumers, state workers and the environment got a green holiday gift on December 29th when the state approved the nation’s most comprehensive Green Purchasing policy to avoid “bad actor” chemicals in products. The NYS Interagency Committee on Procurement voted to approve a guidance policy requiring all state agencies to consider avoiding 85 chemicals in products purchased by the state.  Relying on federal priority lists, the list includes persistent chemicals (PBT’s), known and probable carcinogens, flame retardants (PBDE’s), perflorinated compounds (PFOA’s) and Bisphenol A (BPA) (see link below for list).  This is the most comprehensive chemical avoidance purchasing list in the country and it will have a major impact on greening the marketplace with NY’s annual buying power of $9 billion.
During the comment period, 80 organizations and unions submitted letters of support and 3 businesses sent in letters of opposition.  After a two year process, six state agencies voted to approve the “Chemicals of Concern” guidance to help implement the state’s Executive Order 4 on State Green Purchasing.  Acting DEC Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz made a special appearance to show his support.  Later in the meeting, the Committee approved a proposed specification requiring PVC-free carpeting.
CHEJ would like to thank especially the Department of Environmental Conservation and Office of General Services for their work on this initiative, as well as these members of the Governor’s Green Purchasing Advisory Council: CHEJ (Anne Rabe), Grassroots Environmental Education (Patti Wood), Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition (Karen Miller), Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition (Laura Weinberg) and WNY Council on Occupational Safety & Health (Roger Cook).   Special thanks to the following government officials who were instrumental in this major green purchasing accomplishment: Governor David Paterson; Former Deputy Secretary for the Environment Judith Enck; DEC Commissioners Pete Grannis and Peter Iwanowicz; DEC Policy Office representative Beth Meer; OGS Commissioner John Egan and Carla Chiaro; OGS Counsels Howard Zwickel, Anne Philips and Jamie Roth.
The Chemical Avoidance policy and List is available at Scoll down to “Interagency Committee” heading and click on “Statement on Consideration of Chemicals” for the policy and “Report Appendix F” for the list of chemicals.