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Executive Order Promoting Safer Chemicals
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Since 2005, an interagency committee has been leading the way forward by integrating environmentally preferable procurement strategies into the State of Maine’s procurement process, with an ultimate goal of continually striving to improve human and environmental health. The committee, representing multiple state agencies, includes a toxicologist from the Board of Pesticides Control an Environmental Specialist from the Department of Environmental Protection and an employee health and safety representative working in cooperation with staff from the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. Procurement initiatives undertaken by the committee begin with the development of specifications and criteria that incorporate the latest science, as well as standards developed by nationally and internationally recognized 3rd party certification organizations such as Green Seal, and Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design (LEED), among others.

The most current example of the committee’s successes is the recent Request for Quotation (RFQ) issued for General Cleaning Chemicals and “Upright” Dispensing Systems. This RFQ was issued to meet the normal purchasing requirements of the Central Warehouse, which supplies the Bureau of General Services, Property Management Division. The newly developed specifications and criteria require that vendors must meet specific environmentally preferable guidelines including: Green Seal GS-37 certification or an equivalent certification from an independent laboratory that certifies products for compliance with the GS-37 standards; dispensers must be tamper proof and should be self contained; chemical containers must be removable for storage in locked cabinets; and chemicals must be dispensable from the unit and must only be dispensed in concentrations adequate enough to achieve the proper water/chemical dilution rates.

Products provided by the selected vendor are being pilot tested in the Cross Office Building for a three month period. Once the Property Management Division has determined whether the products meet the requirements of the RFQ a determination will be made to continue further contracting. Once a vendor has been selected the janitorial product line will be extended to the 34 buildings currently serviced by the Property Management Division. Existing janitorial supplies will be phased out before the new product line and dispensing systems are implemented. In sum, over 44 dispensing systems, meeting Green Seal GS-37 standards or equivalent standards will be installed in over 34 buildings.

The Department of Administrative and Financial Services will be posting RFQs incorporating Environmentally Preferable Procurement on their website by the fall of 2007 to serve as a public resource. Maine’s achievements in the area of EPP are being closely watched throughout the nation, with many other organizations hoping to learn from our efforts. Any public sector unit including municipalities, schools and county institutions can choose to use the State of Maine RFQs to purchase commodities including janitorial supplies.

Additional EPP specifications will be integrated into future RFQs for chemicals and other products. Comments and suggestions from vendors and other interested parties will be evaluated when new specifications and criteria are created and the specifications will reflect the lowest-risk products, balanced with application and economic performance. The EPP Committee, DAFS and its partner agencies are working to continually provide the most effective service with the lowest-risk to human and environmental health.

Governor's Task Force | Page 4 of 4 | Green Purchasing
 Action
Maine's Departments of Environmental Protection and Labor Urge the U.S. Department of Labor to Require Disclosure of Scientific Evidence that a Chemical Persists and Bioaccumulates. (Download PDF of Official Letter, 78k).
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