Consideration of Chemicals

Executive Order No. 4 (EO 4) charges the Interagency Committee on Sustainability and Green Procurement with the development of green procurement specifications for use by state agencies and public authorities. When choosing priority categories and developing green specifications, EO 4 directs the Committee to consider, among other factors, commodities, services and technology that reduce or eliminate the health and environmental risks from the use or release of toxic substances; minimize risks of the discharge of pollutants into the environment; minimize the toxicity of packaging; protect public health and the environment, including children; and embody pollution prevention and sustainable production. The primary purpose of identifying chemicals to be aware of in green procurement is to assist the Interagency Committee on Sustainability and Green Procurement ("Committee") in meeting the goals of EO 4. An added benefit is informing the market of chemicals to be aware of in green procurement.

The federal government has identified chemicals that pose potential harm to human health and the environment. See current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Waste Minimization Priority List, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program, current Report on Carcinogens, List of Chemicals Known and Reasonably Anticipated to be Human Carcinogens. In addition, pursuant to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), certain chemicals of concern have been identified by the EPA in Action Plans that outline the risks that each chemical may present and identify specific actions EPA will be taking. (

In accordance with its practice since EO 4 was signed, the Committee shall continue to consider chemicals that pose potential health and environmental impacts, including, but not limited to, chemicals identified in the above sources, when developing green procurement specifications and evaluating existing standards and certification programs. The Committee may, depending on available resources, consider additional information that can be obtained with reasonable effort.

The identification of chemicals to consider in green procurement should not be construed as a ban on the purchase of commodities, services or technology containing and/or using such chemicals. Depending on each commodity, service or technology, and whether sufficient alternatives exist in the marketplace, procurement specifications may restrict or allow considered chemicals to be used or contained in certain commodities, services or technologies (e.g., mercury in fluorescent lamps).

Approved by Interagency Committee December 29, 2010