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SB 291: California Design for the Environment Program (2007)


This bill would authorize the formation of the California Design for the Environment program. This voluntary program would provide information to firms and industries regarding substitute chemicals, processes and technologies aimed at pollution prevention while allowing these companies to be equally if not more cost-competitive.

For more information, you can read the SB 291 "Fact Sheet" prepared by a member of Senator Simitian's staff.

Final Status and Text

SB 291 is no longer active. Its final status was:
Did not pass the Legislature

You can read its final text on the Legislature's Bill Information site.

Background Information

A 2006 study by the California Policy Research Center found that chemicals are causing an array of problems for health and the environment, business, industry and government in California. Just one of these problems is that hundreds of chemicals that are released into the environment are accumulating in human tissues. The results are alarming. Among children, chemical exposures are estimated to contribute to 100% of lead poisoning cases, 10% to 35% of asthma cases, 2% to 10% of certain cancers, and 5% to 20% of neurobehavioral disorders. Furthermore, each month an estimated 1,900 Californians are diagnosed with a preventable, deadly chronic disease that is attributable to chemical exposures in the workplace and another 540 Californians die as a result of that exposure.

Lacking the information on toxicity for most chemicals, it is very difficult for businesses and industry to choose safer chemicals or to identify and reduce the use of hazardous chemicals.

The federal Design for the Environment (DfE) program was established in 1992 in order to provide some of this information. Since that time DfE has worked with more than 18 industrial sectors to empower industry to incorporate environmental considerations, along with performance and cost considerations, into decision-making processes. The program has reached more than 200,000 business facilities and approximately 2,000,000 workers, reducing the use of harmful chemicals by approximately 237,000,000 pounds per year.

This bill authorizes the establishment of a California program modeled after the federal Design for the Environment program. This program would ensure that more California firms and industries have access to this type of information while enabling our state to become a global leader in this arena.