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San Francisco Launches ‘Green’ Products Website

San Francisco’s Environment Department has launched a “green” products Website for businesses and consumers who concerned about toxics and chemicals used in everyday products such as cleaning, cosmetics, automotive, and food storage, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Website, www.SFApproved.org, lists more than 1,000 products and services that meet strict health and environmental standards developed by Environment Department specialists. Guidelines are available for a wide range of products from janitorial cleaning products to light bulbs to help businesses and consumers buy environmentally-friendly products.

Data for more than 60,000 chemicals, provided by GoodGuide, was used in the ongoing product screening process.

The site was originally designed for the city’s purchasing department in the wake of San Francisco’s 2005 ordinance requiring the city use green alternatives, reports the newspaper. But after completing the research, officials decided to open the portal to consumers.

Chris Geiger, manager of the city’s green purchasing program said in the article: “There are something like 80,000 chemicals in the marketplace today for which we have no data sets on toxicity. As a city, we believe if there’s a safer alternative we should know what it is, and we should use it.”

The program is also helping the city leverage its buying power to force manufacturers to disclose chemicals they are not legally required to provide, says the San Francisco Chronicle. As an example cited in the article, the city has been able to force makers of fluorescent lights to reveal how much mercury the bulbs contain, and officials hope to do the same with other chemicals of emerging concern, such as bisphenol A.

In March, the EPA said it would add bisphenol A (BPA) to its list of chemicals of concern and require testing related to environmental effects.

In 2008, California launched its Green Chemistry Initiative, which focuses on encouraging or mandating manufacturers to develop chemicals that are less poisonous and degrade more quickly in the environment, and providing more information to business customers and consumers on the chemicals found in manufacturers’ products and their known health and environmental effects.

Since San Francisco began its green purchasing program, it has introduced more than 1,000 zero- or low-emission vehicles to the city fleet, and saved 6,800 trees and more than 500,000 gallons of water each year by purchasing recycled content paper. The city also has cut municipal pesticide use by nearly two-thirds, and significantly increased the purchase of low-mercury, long-life fluorescent lamps.

San Francisco also is one of the top cities for Energy Star buildings.

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