The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

On March 6, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in the Federal Register that an information collection request (ICR) had been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding consultations on the Safer Choice logo redesign.  Following the launch of the new Safer Choice logo, EPA plans to conduct consumer surveys to gauge consumer recognition of the new logo and to determine whether the new logo and educational activities are changing purchasing decisions.  This ICR was previously published as part of a public review opportunity in the Federal Register on November 3, 2016, and did not receive any comments.  With this Notice, there will be an additional 30 days of review as comments are due by April 5, 2017.    


 

On January 24, 2017, the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) sent a letter to President Donald Trump to express its commitment to working with Trump and his administration and to outline its top priorities, including the continuation of EPA’s Safer Choice Program.  In the letter, CSPA states that companies have made significant financial and employee investments to develop products that qualify for the Safer Choice logo and to market the products as Safer Choice products.  CSPA requested that Trump support the voluntary program, arguing that elimination of it would negate the innovation that resulted from the costly efforts.  In addition to continuing the program, the letter suggests that EPA expand the Safer Choice Program to include antimicrobial products that meet the criteria as long as they are not specifically prohibited from using the logo under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).


 

During the Safer Choice Partner and Stakeholder Summit on November 15- 16, 2016, EPA announced that new product categories were under consideration for the Safer Choice chemical program, including arts and crafts, home improvements, food grade and marine lubricants, and paints and coatings. EPA invited suggestions from participants regarding additional product categories to consider; Summit participants were supportive of an increase to the number of chemicals, products, and product categories in the program.  A stakeholder noted that many paint manufacturers already sell paints with low volatile organic chemical (VOC) emissions but the Safer Choice label could help retailers recognize the safer chemistries.
 
Other Summit participants urged chemical manufacturers to create new molecules that adhere to the Safer Choice Standard to replace chemicals in their current products, specifically preservatives. More information on the discussion regarding product category additions can be found in the Bloomberg BNA Daily Environmental Report (subscription required).


 

On October 11, 2016, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register seeking applications for the 2017 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards.  The Partner of the Year Awards were developed in 2015 to recognize Safer Choice stakeholders advancing the goals of the Pollution Prevention Act, as well as the Safer Choice program through safer chemistry.  There are five broad categories of the awards:


 
Formulators/Product Manufacturers of both Consumer and Institutional/ Industrial (I/I) products; 
 

 
Purchasers and Distributors;
 

 
Retailers;
 

 
Supporters (e.g., non-governmental organizations); and
 

 
Innovators (e.g., chemical manufacturers).
 
 
Applications are due by December 16, 2016, with award winners being announced at a ceremony in late spring of 2017.

 

On October 7, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first ever Safer Choice Partner and Stakeholder Summit. The summit will be the first of several meetings intended to explore topics of importance to stakeholders and the Safer Choice Program. The Safer Choice label was created to help consumers identify products with safer chemical ingredients, previously known as the Design for the Environment (DfE) label. Over 2,000 products are qualified to carry the Safer Choice label. The summit will occur on November 12-13, 2015, in Washington, D.C., with the time and venue still to be determined.


 

Last week, EPA unveiled the new Safer Choice label. According to the EPA website, a product with the Safer Choice label means that EPA scientists have reviewed every ingredient in that product to ensure they meet the rigorous health and environmental criteria included in the Safer Choice Standard. Companies wishing to learn how to qualify for the Safer Choice label should visit EPA's Resources for Safer Choice Product Manufacturers.