Advocating for Chemical Safety and Sustainability
Creating an Non-Toxic World for Workers, Families, and all Living Things


The ASBN’s Safer Chemicals initiative develops principles and promotes policies for more robust chemical safety in workplaces, homes, communities, and the natural environment. This work is based on fully informed assessments of synthetic chemical exposure hazards—whether the risk of harm in each case is broadly acceptable or demands safer alternatives. 

This effort has several interconnected components:

The Sustainable Chemicals Working Group seeks to improve chemical sustainability, which the United Nations defines as meeting the needs of today without diminishing the ability of future generations to meet their own. This demands that chemicals be produced and used in ways that allow for recovery and reuse, harmless biodegradation, and/or end-of-life deployment as nutrients for the next cycle of production.

The Environmental Justice Working Group endeavors to end the disproportional adverse health and property impacts of chemical manufacturing facilities on the low-wealth and BIPOC communities in which they have been historically situated and to permit meaningful community input into facility siting, emissions control, and economic benefit decisions.

The Ingredients Disclosure Working Group is addressing the chemical industry’s lack of transparency from consumer product labeling to supply chain disclosure issues in order to ensure that both consumers and manufacturers know exactly what is in the products and materials they use, and can assess their safety accordingly. This working group actively lobbies at state and federal levels for full chemical ingredients disclosures and was part of the coalition that passed the California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017, the first law in the US to require this disclosure. The group also worked with coalition partners to pass the Federal Safer Cosmetics Act (2023) and the California Cosmetic Products Flavor and Fragrance Act (2021). Currently, it is engaged in advocating for laws further limiting the use of chronically toxic substances in consumer products.

In partnership with Clean Production Action’s BizNGO Project, the Safer Chemicals Working Group seeks to reduce the health impacts chemicals are having on human health and the environment. Progress is based on four principles: 1) know and disclose; 2) assess and avoid hazards; 3) commit to continuous improvement; and 4) support public policy initiatives and standards that advance the first three principles. This group has developed policies governing poly- and per-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), and successfully advocated at both state and federal levels for PFAS regulations. The group also contributed to 2016’s Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, a badly needed revision of the Federal Toxic Substances Control Act and created the Childhood Cancer Prevention Initiative, a collaborative effort to improve children’s health by sharing evidence and resources about the impact of toxic chemicals on children; removing toxic chemicals from products and environments to which they’re exposed; and encouraging legislators to implement responsible state and federal policies.

The work of the Safe and Sustainable Chemicals Group relies on help from ASBN member companies and a network of valued partners, including:

  • Breast Cancer Prevention Partners
  • BlueGreen Alliance
  • Cancer-Free Economy Network
  • Change Chemistry (formerly the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council)
  • Clean Production Action – BizNGO Project
  • Coming Clean

The Childhood Cancer Prevention Initiative is a growing cross-sector collaboration that includes:

  • Cancer-Free Economy Network
  • Center for Environmental Health
  • Children’s Environmental Health Network
  • Clean & Healthy New York
  • Clean Production Action
  • Lowell Center for Sustainable Production
  • Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center
  • MadeSafe
  • Naturepedic
  • PREP4Gold