Community Colloquium: Speaker name

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



Bob Boughton
Senior Engineer
Office of Pollution Prevention and Green Technology

California Department of Toxic Substances

Thursday, Nov. 12
12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Bren Hall 1414

"California’s Green Chemistry Initiative—
application of life-cycle assessment in public policy"

Hosted by Bren Assistant Professor Roland Geyer



The California Green Chemistry initiative comes at a time of growing concern that the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, passed three decades ago, has failed to control an explosion of hazardous materials in commerce. Europe has enacted tougher toxics rules than the United States, forcing some American companies to revamp products sold for export, but the California program would go further in its requirements. California law passed last fall has jump-started implementation requiring the state to identify "chemicals of concern" and to evaluate safer alternatives by creating a systematic, science-based process to ensure product safety and reduce or eliminate the need for chemical-by-chemical bans. The adopted rules will lay out the process for products with chemicals of concern to be compared to alternatives by assessing the "environmental and economic footprint" of each, using a life-cycle approach. The overall Green Chemistry Initiative's six key elements will first be described. Then the application of life-cycle thinking for assessing environmental impacts and for assessing total costs within the alternatives analysis process will be discussed. The background information and progress on the initiative implementation can be accessed at


After 20 years of working in the environmental and solid-waste field, Bob Boughton moved to the Department of Toxic Substances Control to investigate how to apply sustainability to California EPA programs. He started by doing life-cycle assessments (LCAs) and learning about other tools and metrics, and ways to integrate those in the department's work. The Green Chemistry Initiative includes life -ycle thinking as one of the key elements in reducing the toxic impacts of products in society. Bob is responsible for the incorporation of LCA into the Safer Substitutes regulations being developed. He has a BS in chemistry from UCI and an MS in chemical engineering from UCSB. Bob is a Certified Life-Cycle Assessment Professional through the ACLCA.


NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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