Section 3 Impact on environment and society

January 30th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments


WINNERS = Products which run on or eat toxic waste and pollutants, produce fresh air and water, biodegrade immediately after use, and generate employment for lots of workers.

Only a few short years ago neither industry nor society paid much attention to the impact of new products on our environment.

Now however, you can find more “heavy metal” in ducks and fish than you can at a rock concert, and lawmakers are beginning to react to public outcry.  More and more clean air and toxic waste laws are being enacted every year.  In California, Styrofoam will soon be outlawed for use in containers for fast foods because it takes too long to degrade in dump sites.

The new product developer must evaluate both manufacturing processes and the new products themselves carefully with respect to pollutants, litter, and misuse of natural resources.

Basically, if a product runs on or eats noxious fumes and belches out clean air it rates a 10.  If instead it uses clean air or water and produces waste or hazardous by-products look out!  Things are only going to get worse in the next few years.  The penalties for abusing mother nature will get far more severe.  It should be noted that several companies have recently found themselves in court pitted against their own liability insurers who were refusing to pay for toxic clean-ups.

As a new product evaluator, it is becoming increasingly important to keep track of four major areas of concern.

  1.  Existing laws and standards which are presently on the books and in effect now.
  2. New laws which are on the books but are not yet in effect or binding.
  3. Pending new legislation which is awaiting passage which may kill or limit the life cycle of the product or its components or contents if passed.
  4. Legislation which is being urged by lobbyists representing splinter groups ranging from concerned citizens to radical “nature nazis”.

In order to be sure that your product or its components or contents are environmentally safe and meet legal standards, AT THE PRESENT TIME, contact the EPA at:


Environmental Protection Agency

1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

Washington D.C. 20460

Telephone (202) 260-2090

If you would like the agency to do research for you or help you with your product to be sure it will meet FUTURE standards, call their Research & Development department at:

EPA Research and Development department

Telephone  (202) 564-6620

In order to find out what legislation has not yet been passed but may affect the product if it is passed in the future, contact the EPA’s  “Public Affairs and Congressional Liaison office” at:

EPA Public Affairs & Liaison Office

Telephone (202) 564-5200

In order to find out what legislation is being suggested to legislators by environmental groups, If you are an individual you can go to the public library and peruse their monthly publications.  If you are part of a large company or corporation, I suggest that one of the members of your product development team subscribe to all of the different organizations, and use the company mailing address.  Trust me, finding out in advance what will be the next “cause celebre” may prevent your products from being on a “hit list”. Sometimes becoming the target of one of these groups can be just as financially draining and ugly from a public relations standpoint as a government investigation.

Just as certain government agencies are stepping up prosecutions in personal injury liability cases, the government is also stepping up its prosecution of companies who are found to be marketing products which harm the environment.  They are also coming down hard on companies harming the environment through reckless manufacturing processes.  Increasingly, the government lawsuits and indictments are naming the chief executives of the companies, personally.  Certainly, it behooves you to thoroughly review the environmental and societal impact of each and every product you plan to develop.



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