After discovering the same harmful tris flame retardant her research had helped remove from baby pajamas in the 1970s was back in furniture and baby products, Arlene Blum founded the Green Science Policy Institute in 2008 in Berkeley, California.

The Institute’s mission is to facilitate responsible use of chemicals to protect human and ecological health. It educates and builds partnerships among scientists, regulators, businesses, and public interest groups to develop innovative solutions for reducing harmful chemicals in products.

To achieve this, the Institute:

  • Provides unbiased scientific data for informed decision-making.
  • Motivates and participates in scientific research that serves the public interest.
  • Acts as a watchdog for regulations that could lead to increased use of toxics.
  • Promotes policy and purchasing decisions to reduce the use of classes of harmful chemicals.

Watch the Six Classes intro video about healthier products.


Many of the products we use every day contain chemicals of concern which can be grouped into “Six Classes”. This approach allows us to better understand these chemicals, their functions, where they are used, and how they can be avoided.

Highly Fluorinated Chemicals, although useful, persist in the environment and may cause serious health problems.

Antimicrobials have limited benefit, if any, and are associated with developmental, hormonal, and reproductive problems.

Flame Retardants are added to products to meet flammability standards. They often don’t improve fire safety and can harm our health.

Bisphenols & Phthalates can disrupt our hormones and harm our health, even at very low levels.

Some Solvents used in consumer products are linked to neurological problems and increased cancer risk.

Certain Metals are essential for many uses, but some, such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead, can cause health harm.