Bills to Watch in 2012 – Environmental Health

Green Cleaning

S.92  AN ACT RELATING TO THE PROTECTION OF STUDENTS’ HEALTH BY REQUIRING THE USE OF SAFE CLEANING PRODUCTS IN SCHOOLS
Sponsored by the Senate Committee on Education
Status: Passed by the House and Senate, and signed by the Governor on January 24, 2012

Environmentally-preferable cleaning products work just as well, cost about the same and– most importantly–are safer than conventional products currently being used to clean our classrooms. But without the passage of S. 92, cleaners used in our schools may still contain a number of harmful chemicals linked to asthma, cancer, developmental disorders and reproductive problems.

A Bigger, Better Bottle Bill

S. 195 AN ACT RELATING TO THE SCOPE OF BEVERAGE CONTAINER REDEMPTION AND REMISSION OF UNCLAIMED BEVERAGE CONTAINER DEPOSITS
Sponsored by Sen. Lyons & Pollina
Status: Referred to Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy

S. 176 AN ACT RELATING TO THE BEVERAGE CONTAINER DEPOSIT-REDEMPTION SYSTEM
Sponsored by Sen. Illuzzi & White
Status: Referred to Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy

Strengthening the Bottle Bill will take two main forms: updating it so that you’ll be able to redeem water bottles and other non-carbonated beverage containers (including hard cider and wine bottles), and closing the “unclaimed nickel” loophole.  That way, the deposits from unredeemed containers will go back to the State to be reinvested in recycling programs.

Chemical Reform

H.394 AN ACT RELATING TO THE REGULATION OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES
Sponsored by Reps. Wizowaty & Weston
Status: Referred to House Committee on Natural Resources and Energy

S. 24 AN ACT RELATING TO THE REGULATION OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES
Sponsored by Sen. Lyons & McCormack
Status: Referred to Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy

Protecting our children is hard enough. You shouldn’t have to worry their favorite toys are potentially exposing them to untested chemicals.  This bill proposes to require the secretary of natural resources to establish a toxic chemical identification and reduction program. Under the program, the secretary of natural resources would identify chemicals of high concern. The secretary would be required to designate a chemical of high concern as a priority chemical if certain conditions are met. Children’s products containing a priority chemical would be prohibited from sale or distribution in the state.

Solid Waste

H.485  AN ACT RELATING TO ESTABLISHING UNIVERSAL RECYCLING OF SOLID WASTE
Sponsored by Reps. Klein, Cheney & Edwards
Status: Passed in the House

Besides amending the requirements for the state solid waste management plan, this bill would require the agency of natural resources to conduct an in-depth review of the current solid waste program’s capacity, cost and efficiency, and present the results to the general assembly.   Also, it would require solid waste certified facilities and transporters collecting municipal solid waste to offer to collect mandated recyclables, leaf and yard residual, and organics separately from other solid waste.  The law also bans these items from landfills over a phased-in timeline.