The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released new informal draft regulations whose stated purpose is: "to make safer consumer products ....widespread in California...[and].... provide more protection against toxic chemicals in products on store shelves, while creating market opportunities for industry."
The draft released on October 31, 2011, creates regulations identifying consumer products that contain toxic chemicals. The DTSC claims it will use a science-based process that requires the identification of toxic ingredients and the analysis of alternatives to that ingredient. Based on the results of the analysis, removal of the toxic ingredient and/or posting product information may take place.
The DTSC’s draft regulations encompassed the following:
1) The regulations establish a list of Chemicals of Concern (~3,000) based on the work already done by other authoritative organizations. The rules also allow DTSC to identify additional chemicals as Chemicals of Concern.
2) The regulations require DTSC to develop a list of “Priority Products” that contain Chemicals of Concern for which an alternative assessment must be conducted.
3) The regulations require responsible entities (manufacturers, importers, and retailers) to notify DTSC when their product is listed as a Priority Product. DTSC will post this information on its website. Manufacturers (or other responsible entities) for a product listed as a Priority Product must perform an alternatives assessment (AA) for the product and the Chemicals of Concern in the product to determine how to limit potential exposures or the level of potential adverse public health and environmental impacts posed by the Chemical of Concern in the product.
4) The regulations require DTSC to identify and impose regulatory responses to effectively limit potential adverse public health and/or environmental impacts posed by the Priority Product/Chemical of Concern (if the manufacturer decides to retain the Priority Product), or the potential adverse impacts posed by the alternative chemical/product selected to replace the Priority Product.
A prior proposed set of regulations were introduced in 2010, but additional time was required to refine the concepts. The version released in October greatly shortens timeframes, immediately establishes a list of chemicals of concern, and is intended to stimulate a change in the way products are created by incorporating impacts to health and the environment into the design phase. The regulations will be discussed by DTSC’s Green Ribbon Science Panel on November 14-15 in Sacramento.