ISSA and an informal coalition of industry, environmental, and public-health groups met September 16 in the U.S. Capitol in a strong show of support for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Design for the Environment (DfE).

The coalition met with Steve Owens, the EPA’s recently appointed assistant administrator, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, and other agency officials to urge the EPA to continue its support of, and increase the resources dedicated to, the operation of DfE.

ISSA Director of Legislative Affairs Bill Balek noted that DfE has been a catalyst for innovation and improvement of the environmental and safety-and-health profile of cleaning-product formulations.

More importantly, Balek observed that hundreds of small businesses have benefited from the technical consultation provided by the DfE program. “DfE has engaged many small and medium-sized formulators in its program—companies that otherwise lack the necessary resources to transition to ‘greener’ technologies—and have reaped significant environmental rewards by working with these companies,” noted Balek.

Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group and executive director of the Green Cleaning Network, who attended the meeting along with Balek, acknowledged the significant contributions that DfE has made to help improve the health and environmental profile of cleaning products. Ashkin commented that “DfE offers industry and purchasers alike an additional pathway for recognizing green products, which has resulted in more competition, greater innovation, lower costs, and an increased rate of adoption of green cleaning in the marketplace.”

Representatives of industry and nongovernmental organizations present at the meeting were consistent in their support for DfE and urged EPA officials to increase the resources allocated to the voluntary government program. Additional resources could be used by DfE to expand the cleaning-product categories it presently addresses as well as to increase its overall capacity to meet the growing demand for its services.