Why Healthy Purchasing?
Every purchase has the power to influence the marketplace. You can play a crucial role by stimulating demand for safer, less hazardous products for our communities.
Your purchasing decisions really matter
State and local governments across the U.S. spend about $1.5 trillion annually on goods, supplies, equipment, services, and construction.[a] Every purchase made by your organization, or on your behalf, has the power to influence the marketplace. You can play a crucial role by stimulating demand for safer, less hazardous products for our communities.
Find out more about what healthy purchasing can mean for your organization, and the key elements to include in your efforts here.
We lack basic information about hazards
Right now, we know very little about what chemicals are in the goods and services we use. In most cases, our current laws don’t require this type of information to be shared with the public. Of the approximately 143,000 chemicals used in global commerce, the federal government has health hazard information for less than 10% of them.[b,c] The result is that we can't effectively identify the information it needs identify threats to public health and the environment.
Find out which organizations have joined a coalition to leverage purchasing power for positive change here.
Hazards create unnecessary risk and liability
By encouraging the disclosure of chemical hazards in the goods and services you purchase, you’re protecting the health of your employees, the public, and the environment while reducing your own risk. In our information-rich world, risk is more than potential financial liability—it also includes potential damage to public confidence and trust in your organization and brand.
There is reasonable cause for concern
Our workers and communities don’t have adequate protection from hazardous chemicals. For example, flame retardants that impact our behavior, learning, and memory exist in furniture.[d] Many plastics contain chemicals called phthalates that mimic our hormones and can impact our ability to develop normally and reproduce.[e] It is up to individual organizations, including local governments and businesses, to take reasonable action to identify and prevent the presence of these harmful chemicals.
[a] Conway, D. M. (2012). Sustainable Procurement Policies and Practices at the State and Local Government Level. Chapter 3 fromGreening Local Government K. Hirokawa & P. Salkin, eds., 2012. Retrieved on 7/25/12 from SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2095576.
[b] Wilson MP, Schwarzman MR. (2009). Toward a New U.S. Chemicals Policy: Rebuilding the Foundation to Advance New Science, Green Chemistry, and Environmental Health. Environ Health Perspectives 117(8): doi:10.1289/ehp.0800404
[c] United Nations Environment Programme. (2012). Global Chemicals Outlook: Towards Sound Management of Chemicals. http://www.unep.org/pdf/GCO_Synthesis%20Report_CBDTIE_UNEP_September5_2012.pdf
[d] United States Department of Health and Human Services (2004). Toxicological Profile for Polybrominated Biphenyls and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers. Retrieved on 7/25/12 from http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov.
[e] United States Department of Health and Human Services. (2004). Toxicological Profile for Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP). Retrieved on 7/25/12 from http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov.