Green Science Policy Institute
  • provides unbiased scientific data to government, industry, NGOs and consumers
  • informs decision-making about chemicals
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Who We Are

Our mission is to facilitate responsible use of chemicals to protect human and ecological health. We educate and build partnerships among scientists, regulators, businesses, and public interest groups to develop innovative solutions for reducing harmful chemicals in products.

To achieve this, we:
• Provide unbiased scientific data for informed decision-making.
• Motivate and participate in scientific research that serves the public interest.
• Act as a watchdog for regulations that could lead to increased use of toxics.
• Promote policy and purchasing decisions to reduce the use of classes of harmful chemicals.

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Our Science

The Institute is made up primarily of Ph.D. scientists who specialize in the publication and communication of peer-reviewed research. We collaborate with leading scientists on policy-relevant research projects and translate scientific information to educate key decision makers, the press, and the public.

Our paper on flame retardant chemicals in baby products was ES&T's top science paper of 2011.
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Press

Scientific American: Do we need flame retardants in electronics?

Fear of fires, especially from lit cigarettes, helped ignite the decades-long practice of adding fire retardant chemicals to furniture and other house…

28 Jan 2014

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CBS5 ConsumerWatch: Chemical-free couch foam now available

Couch owners who want to limit their exposure to flame retardant chemicals now have a new option. The Safer Sofa Foam Exchange is a new program that helps consumers replace the old foam in thei…

22 Apr 2014

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Scientists call for limits on emerging class of common, long-lived c…

More than 200 scientists from 38 countries spoke with one voice today, calling for curbs on the global production and use of a class of chemicals found in …

01 May 2015

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Alaska Beyond Magazine: Green Trailblazers

In January 1977, biophysical chemist Arlene Blum and biochemist Bruce Ames, both of the University of California, Berkeley, published an article in the…

01 Apr 2015

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The Sacramento Bee: Concern grows in firefighters, others after canc…

A growing body of evidence found an array of flame-retardant chemicals – many which are carcinogenic – in test participants, a potential health concern f…

30 Nov 2014

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New York Times and Retro Report: A Flame Retardant That Came With It…

This New York Times article, featuring a video by Retro Report, concisely recounts the flame retardant saga. If you closely examine your living room cou…

03 May 2015

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New York Times: Danger lurks in that Mickey Mouse couch

Researchers this summer purchased 42 children’s chairs, sofas and other furniture from major retailers and tested them for toxic flame retardants …

24 Nov 2013

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LA Times: How I Made It: Arlene Blum

The Gig: Arlene Blum is a California scientist, educator, author and an international mountain climber. Her work has helped eliminate dangerous fire reta…

07 Dec 2014

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SF Chronicle: Law may cut use of flame retardants in buildings

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a law that may lead to a change in state building standards that would discourage the use of potentially hazardous flame-…

08 Oct 2013

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Commonly Used Chemicals Come Under New Scrutiny

A top federal health official and hundreds of environmental scientists on Friday voiced new health concerns about a common class of chemic…

01 May 2015

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Chicago Tribune: Dangerous for kids' pajamas, safe for sofas?

From the Chicago Tribune More than three decades after manufacturers stopped making children's pajamas with a flame retardant suspected of causing ca…

27 Nov 2012

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SF Chronicle: Scientist's target: carcinogenic products

In a UC Berkeley classroom, Arlene Blum dived into a version of a chemistry lecture she has given for most of the past decade. There would be no h…

27 Apr 2013

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Scientific American: Cancer-linked flame retardants eased out of fur…

When the clock strikes midnight on December 31, new regulations kick into effect that may help usher in an era of less pervasive flame retardants in o…

31 Dec 2013

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NBC Nightly News: Sofas may contain harmful chemicals

Watch on NBC: Sofas may contain harmful chemicals

09 Dec 2012

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Michigan Public Radio Environment Report: Furniture Makers Getting R…

This week, we’re bringing you a series of stories about firefighters and cancer. Firefighters say they’re worried about getting exposed to certain ki…

09 Apr 2015

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CNN: Safety of flame retardants in question

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on the possible health risks of flame retardant chemicals Watch on CNN: Safety of flame retardants in question[/uli…

25 Jan 2013

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Science & Policy Blog

Goliath, meet David – The 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize

We got the Golden Ticket! Technically, it was the Goldman ticket but just as good. At GSP, Simona and I were the lucky ones who got to attend this year’s Goldman Envir…

12 May 2015

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Trading Health for Small Conveniences?

“Stain-resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal” is how journalist Callie Lyons describes a highly fluorinated chemical called C8. When C8 was released into the air a…

01 May 2015

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Phthoughts on phthalates: odd spelling, clear problem

Have you ever heard of phthalates or DEHP? I hadn’t either, until I read a recent US study that monitored nearly 800 pregnant women and found that exposure to a common ho…

18 Mar 2015

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To be, or not to be, BPA-free

When consumer outcry got loud enough and states started their own bans, manufacturers stopped using bisphenol-A (BPA) in some baby products. In 2012, the FDA took limited…

19 Feb 2015

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Phosphate flame retardants: Bad to the bone?

If you go to the CDC’s ToxGuide it will tell you that data suggest Phosphate Ester Flame Retardants are widely distributed throughout the human body. You’ll also find thi…

04 Dec 2014

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HBCD is on the way out – but use of questionable alternatives will p…

This week, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. But internationally, countries that have signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants have a dif…

26 Nov 2014

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It all comes out in the wash

Flame retardant chemicals don’t stay put in products. A study published in Environmental Science & Technology reveals they are hitching a ride on our clothes and taki…

22 Oct 2014

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Killer whales and the scientists working to save them

There is no documented case of a wild orca killing a human. It’s time we returned the favor by protecting the health, habitat, and viability of this highly intelligent, v…

12 Aug 2014

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My foam exchange story: How I saved big bucks without passing the bu…

I bought my sofa in California, “home” of the TB117 standard. I know 75-94% of sofas tested contain flame retardants. And clear as day, sewn onto my couch was a TB117 lab…

28 Jul 2014

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Bacteria get an image makeover

In the 1963 animated film The Sword in the Stone, two wizards face off in a climactic duel, transforming themselves into an increasingly fearsome series of creatures …

29 May 2014

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Textbook of Children’s Environmental Health brings issue into clear …

Children’s environmental health is my passion and the reason I work at the Green Science Policy Institute. Much of the Institute’s work is aimed at protecting childre…

16 Apr 2014

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A broken fluorescent bulb? What now?

Energy analyst John Rogers of the Union of Concerned Scientists put it best, “don’t panic” but do clean it up safely. When a fluorescent bulb, or CFL, breaks, a small am…

17 Mar 2014

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Walmart tackles its "top ten"

In September 2013, Walmart announced a plan to phase out ten hazardous chemicals found in many of the products it sells. Now, Walmart has notified its suppliers they will…

05 Mar 2014

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Industry funded website obscures flame retardant issues

As recent changes in regulations and increased media coverage bring deserved attention to the issue of flame retardant chemicals in consumer products, the chemical indust…

18 Feb 2014

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Why can’t I buy flame retardant-free furniture in California yet?

Perhaps you, too, were waiting for that clock to strike midnight on January 1, 2014 to buy a new sofa. In that one second, a regulation that led to the use of toxic flame…

11 Feb 2014

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Getting the most out of our redesigned website

One month ago, Green Science Policy Institute launched our redesigned website for 2014. We reimagined the structure and layout from the ground up to help us achieve our m…

16 Jan 2014

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Please help support our work

The Green Science Policy Institute has prevented the addition of millions of pounds of unneeded chemicals to furniture, bed coverings, computers, and other products in our homes. Please donate so that we can continue to stop toxics and protect the health of our children, wildlife, and the planet.

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