National Pollution Prevention and Toxics Advisory Committee
Concerned about public and environmental health, a group of experts developed collaborative recommendations for the EPA about chemicals and toxics in emerging technologies.
Chemicals come in many shapes and sizes, and they’re ubiquitous in the products we use every day. In the U.S., they undergo rigorous evaluation of their potential risks to humans and the environment, a complex task that is largely undertaken by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The task only grows in complexity with the advent of new technologies—for instance, nanomaterials. These microscopic products have recently become prevalent in products from eyeglasses to solar panels, leading to newfound concerns about health risks and pollution.
The federally-chartered National Pollution Prevention and Toxics Advisory Committee called on Meridian to help it identify policy solutions to address these concerns. Through its recommendations to the EPA, the committee has influenced the powerful agency’s role in making emerging technologies and chemicals safer for people and the environment.
This was one of the first federal efforts to holistically consider chemical pollution prevention: before the committee convened between 2003 and 2005, pollution prevention efforts were largely led by private industry. To develop comprehensive policy recommendations, the committee’s members represented industry, environmental NGOs, state governments, tribes, academics, and consumers – all groups with a stake in federal pollution and toxics management policies, but often with diverging priorities and concerns.
Meridian has a deep history advancing public policy on similarly contentious issues, from emerging information technologies to developing agricultural innovations. We facilitated the committee and convened smaller work groups targeting particular priority issues, ultimately leading the development of consensus recommendations that have informed EPA decision-making on chemicals management and pollution prevention programs.