FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Tue Jun 16 16:42:03 EDT 2009

American Chemical Society says "IST" vital to homeland security

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 16, 2009 –– A veteran chemical safety expert from the American Chemical Society (ACS) told the House Committee on Homeland Security that "inherently safer technology" (IST) and creative approaches to IST research and development will help secure the nation's chemical infrastructure and safeguard against the consequences of a terrorist attack.

Neal Langerman, Ph.D., a former chair of the ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety, with more than 20 years experience in the field, testified Tuesday that "ACS supports increased attention on safer technologies and believes the focus should be on a broad portfolio of timely and effective methods of reducing risk and mitigating potential damage." The House Committee is expected to start making up a new chemical site security bill on Thursday which would establish new security standards for facilities nationwide that store or process chemicals.

"The ACS also supports involvement of federal agencies in researching and facilitating the advancement of safer technologies through such measures as grants, tax incentives, preferential government purchasing and award programs," Langerman told the committee.

ACS has "long advocated federal support of green chemistry research and development as a means to develop safer technologies and processes," he said. "It has been concerned about the role that regulations play in slowing down innovation, particularly in laboratory settings, when regulations intended mainly for industrial settings are inappropriately applied," Langerman said.

"The most effective steps to further infrastructure protections will likely include incentives, rather than new regulations," he said.

###

-- Charmayne Marsh