California Designates Priority Products Under Safer Consumer Product Regulations

News & Events

On March 13, in a long awaited action, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) identified the first “priority products” to be investigated under DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products regulations (also described as the California Green Chemistry Initiative). The three initial products are:

  1. Spray polyurethane foam systems (e.g., insulation) containing unreacted diisocyanates,
  2. Children’s foam padded sleeping products containing the phosphorus-based flame retardant TDCPP, and
  3. Finish strippers and surface cleaners (e.g., bathtub refinishing products) containing methylene chloride.

The draft list of three products will now go through a public discussion process with a formal rulemaking to be initiated later in the year.

Under the California program, manufacturers or importers of identified priority products will have to conduct an alternatives assessment to understand whether the chemicals identified as a concern can be replaced with less hazardous alternatives. Another option will be to simply eliminate the chemical from the product if such a move is technically feasible (note however, that replacing it with another chemical without conducting the analysis is not allowed). DTSC is expected to release guidance for carrying out alternatives analyses later in 2014, leaving significant uncertainty regarding the scope and level of effort of the required assessments. Gradient’s experience in conducting alternatives assessments, however, suggests it will not be a trivial task, requiring technical expertise in hazard and exposure assessment as well as substantial data compilation on the availability, cost and performance of potential alternatives. Obtaining the information needed to evaluate potential alternatives from suppliers will also be a significant hurdle for many manufacturers.

Gradient has been closely monitoring the development of the Safer Consumer Products program and expects to provide comments on both the designation of the first priority products as well as the upcoming alternatives assessment guidance.

Click for a link to the DTSC announcement.