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

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.

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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

Chicago Tribune: Toxic flame retardants may be on way out

For decades, U.S. manufacturers have filled upholstered furniture with pounds of toxic chemicals to comply with a flammability standard …

22 Nov 2013

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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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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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NBC Nightly News: Sofas may contain harmful chemicals

Watch on NBC: Sofas may contain harmful chemicals

09 Dec 2012

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San Jose Mercury News: Berkeley scientist battles toxic sofas to pro…

The banner that Arlene Blum unfurled in 1976 on the 24,500-foot mark of the world's highest mountain had an image of two petri dishes and an obscure mess…

18 Mar 2014

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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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New York Times: Are you safe on that sofa?

From the New York Times If you want a case study of everything that is wrong with money politics, this is it. Chances are that if you’re sitting…

19 May 2012

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New York Times Magazine: How dangerous is your couch?

From New York Times Magazine In September 1976, a mail runner from Katmandu arrived at Base Camp on Mount Everest with a package for Dr. Arlene Blum, a m…

09 Sep 2012

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PBS NewsHour: Calif. law change sparks debate over use of flame reta…

Flame retardants are commonplace in most upholstered furniture to help prevent house fires. But studies have linked the chemicals to cancer and fertility problems, prompting California to change t…

01 Jan 2014

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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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SF Chronicle: Program seeks to get harmful chemicals out of furnitur…

When Lori Yonelunas decided to detoxify her life, she knew she had to do something about her toxic leather couch but was reluctant to get rid of it.…

18 Jun 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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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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Chicago Tribune: Playing with fire investigative series

In May of 2012, The Chicago Tribune published a riveting four-part exposé of the flame retardant industry and its influence on public policy. Since then, the Tribune has continued to draw attentio…

12 May 2012

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Wall Street Journal: Taking on mountains – and toxic chemicals

From the Wall Street Journal Three decades after leading a charge against the use of toxic chemicals in consumer products, Arlene Blum is back in the fight. In the…

14 Nov 2009

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The Doctor Oz Show: The toxic flame retardants in your home right no…

Toxic flame-retardant chemicals can be found in your chairs, sofas – even your baby furniture. Investigative reporter Elisabeth Leamy joins Dr. Oz to sound the alarm on their dangers with the help…

19 Dec 2013

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Science & Policy Blog

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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A new year, with promising new regulations

2013 was a productive year for fire safety and for environmental health! Two important regulatory changes that take effect this year have the power to reduce the use …

06 Jan 2014

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The greatest danger to gymnasts may lie in their safety pits

When I think of the health problems that a gymnast may suffer from I imagine things like a broken arm or a sprained ankle. However, a new study has shown that gymnasts ma…

13 Dec 2013

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USGBC honors leaders, unveils new building health initiative

The US Green Building Council Northern California Chapter’s annual Super Hero Awards gala, held last Tuesday in San Francisco, honored leaders in the nonprofit, education…

04 Nov 2013

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As OSHA emphasizes safety, long term health risks fester

If you were one of millions of viewers who watched the documentary Blackfish on CNN this past week, then you know how the orca Tilikum killed SeaWorld trainer Dawn Branch…

31 Oct 2013

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HBCD alternatives assessment: narrow focus misses large problems

Polymeric flame retardant evaluated as HBCD alternative in Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment (EPA DfE) assessment presents unknown risks and po…

10 Oct 2013

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Giants of industry move toward healthier products

It started in 2012 when Johnson & Johnson pledged to eliminate phthalates, triclosan, formaldehyde and parabens from its product line which includes Aveeno, Neutrogen…

03 Oct 2013

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Are flame retardants the secret ingredient in your home-cooked meals…

A new study has found that brominated flame retardants are present in black thermo cups and kitchen utensils bought in Europe. These types of chemicals have been linked t…

27 Sep 2013

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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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