The Green Science Policy Institute was founded in 2008 in Berkeley, California by Executive Director Arlene Blum after she learned that the same chlorinated tris that her research had helped remove from children’s pajamas in the 1970s was back in furniture and baby products. Since its founding, GSP has stopped ten unneeded flammability standards and prevented hundreds of millions of pounds of toxic flame retardants from being added to consumer products.
Independent research and scientific integrity guide Green Science Policy’s mission to promote responsible use of chemicals, ensuring a healthy planet for current and future generations.
We provide unbiased scientific data to government, industry and non-governmental organizations to facilitate informed decision-making about the use of chemicals in consumer products. We encourage scientists to use their research in the public interest. We are currently focusing on reducing the use of unnecessary flame retardants due to their adverse impacts on human and environmental health.
Green Science Policy addresses toxicity issues by:
• Serving as a watchdog for emerging regulations and standards that could adversely impact human health and the environment.
• Motivating and participating in academic research for innovative solutions to key health and environmental challenges.
• Disseminating objective scientific research to industry, regulatory bodies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
• 2007 stopped legislators in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York State from enacting ineffective requirements for chemical flame retardants in furniture
• 2008 contributed to a draft Consumer Product Safety Commission standard to increase furniture fire safety without toxic flame retardants
• 2008 headed the campaign to stop five international standards that would have led to the addition of approximately 1.7 billion pounds of flame retardants in consumer electronics cases each year
• 2009 suspended a proposed flammability requirement in California for pillows, comforters, and mattress toppers which would have done nothing to promote fire safety, but would have functionally required the use of toxic chemicals in these products
• 2010 initiated the San Antonio Statement on Brominated and Chlorinated Flame Retardants, signed by more than 210 scientists from 30 countries, which is contributing to reducing toxics worldwide
• 2010 based, in part, on our education campaign, the U.S. Green Building Council is giving a LEED Pilot Credit for not using halogenated flame retardants and phthalates inside buildings
• 2010 based on our study finding that many baby products in the U.S. contain toxic flame retardants, California exempted four products (strollers, infant carriers, bassinets, and nursing pillows) from flammability requirements that would have required use of chemical flame retardants
• 2011 contributed to the state of California listing Chlorinated Tris as a carcinogen under Proposition 65
Supporters of the Green Science Policy Institute:
Many thanks to the foundations listed below for their generous support of our work.
• The Bonwood Foundation
• The Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT)
• The Cornell Douglas Foundation
• The Fred Gellert Family Foundation
• The New York Community Trust
• The Passport Foundation
• The Patagonia Environmental Grants Program
• The San Francisco Foundation
• The Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation
• The Wallace Genetic Foundation
Arlene Blum, Ph.D.
Founder and Executive Director
Dr. Blum is a biophysical chemist, visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry, and author of Annapurna: A Woman’s Place and Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life. Blum’s research contributed to the regulation of two cancer-causing flame retardants used in children’s sleepwear in the 1970s, and prevented unnecessary flammability standards that would have led to the use of hundreds of millions of pounds of persistent toxic chemicals each year. Dr. Blum was selected by the National Women’s History Project as one of 100 “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet,” received the Society of Women Geographers’ Gold Medal, and a top Purpose Prize from Civic Ventures. Please see www.arleneblum.com for more information about adventures and a calendar of events.
Veena Singla, Ph.D.
Veena Singla is a scientist and educator who specializes in the communication of complex scientific information at the intersection of research and policy. She received her PhD from University of California, San Francisco in Cell Biology and her B.S. from University of California, Berkeley in Chemistry. She currently manages the GSP internship program and several research projects. Prior to GSP, she was an HHMI Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Stanford University and adjunct faculty at University of San Francisco.
Michel Dedeo, Ph.D.
Michel Dedeo received his Ph.D. from the U.C. Berkeley and his B.A. from Oberlin College in Chemistry. Prior to working at GSP he took the first green chemistry courses offered by U.C. Berkeley.
Caroline Clarke, MSc
Caroline Clarke was previously a prospect research consultant and worked on multiple research projects for a variety of education and arts organizations in the UK and India. She has also worked as a senior researcher and manager in the development offices of the London School of Economics and the London Business School. She has a BSc (Econ) and an MSc (Econ) in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics.
Andrew McGuire - Policy
Since 1973, Andrew McGuire has been an advocate for health policy issues that have faced state and national policymakers. As the first director of Action Against Burns he successfully lobbied for a flame resistant sleepwear standard for Massachusetts and, as a burn survivor established one of the first in the nation self-help groups for burn survivors. In 1978 he began a national campaign for fire-safe cigarettes which has led to mandatory fire safety standards for cigarettes in all 50 states, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Russia, the European Union and other countries. Andrew has received a MacArthur (“Genius”) Fellowship, Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship, and was presented an Emmy Award in 1982 for “Here’s Looking At You, Kid”. He holds the position of Associate in the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and Lecturer in the Sociology Department of Sonoma State University.
Vytenis Babrauskas, Ph.D. - Fire Science
Fire Science & Technology Inc.
Dr. Vytenis (Vyto) Babrauskas received his M.S. in Structural Engineering (1972) and a Ph.D. in Fire Protection Engineering (1976), both from UC Berkeley. In 1993 he formed Fire Science and Technology Inc., a firm specializing in fire safety R&D. Previously, Dr. Babrauskas conducted research in fire protection engineering at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, formerly known as National Bureau of Standards, for over 16 years, where he managed research groups in the areas of flammability test development, upholstered furniture flammability, and fire toxicity. Dr. Babrauskas is a ranking international authority on the measurement of heat released from fires and has invented and developed tests and instruments in the field of fire science that have become standard world-wide.
Donald Lucas, Ph.D. - Fire Science
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Dr. Donald Lucas is a staff scientist in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, where he is a Principal Investigator in the Combustion Group. He is also a Professional Research Scientist in the School of Public Health and as an affiliate in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley. His principal areas of research are combustion generated air pollutants, experimental chemical kinetics, novel diagnostic techniques for hazardous species, and combustion chemistry. He received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from UC Berkeley.
David Rich, Ph.D. - Fire Science
David Rich received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (major area: Combustion) from UC Berkeley, with a NASA sponsored dissertation related to ignition of solid fuels. Dr. Rich is currently an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University (California) where he teaches Fluid Mechanics, Combustion, and Fire Dynamics. Among other areas he is an expert in the development of experimental platforms for the study of fire phenomena such as igniton and flame spread.
Green Science Policy Advisory Board:
• Lauren Heine, Ph.D., Senior Science Advisor, Clean Production Action, Lauren Heine Group LLC
• Don Kennedy, Ph.D., President Emeritus of Stanford University, former editor-in-chief of Science magazine and former FDA Commissioner
• Richard Luthy, Ph.D., Silas H. Palmer Professor and Department Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University
• Nina McClelland, Ph.D., former Chairman of the Board, American Chemical Society; President of Nina I. McClelland, LLC
• William Nazaroff, Ph.D., Daniel Tellep Distinguished Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
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