Green chemistry regulations still in flux

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Jan. 7, 2011 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On November 16th, after 2 years of work, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s (Cal EPA) Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issued what was expected to be their final draft of regulations for Safer Consumer Product Alternatives. Anticipating only minor “tweaking,” they asked for comments by December 3rd. Late in the week of December 13th, it was announced that they were preparing to turn over the regulations to the Office of Administrative Law for review. But, on December 23rd, Cal EPA Secretary Linda Adams put everything on hold.

The environmental community was unhappy with the final draft, feeling that the changes were too radical and favored business. They went to the press to apply pressure on DTSC to reconsider and start over. The business community was definitely not enthused about the DTSC regulations either. The Green Chemistry Alliance (founded by CMTA) submitted 30 pages of comments concerning issues that they felt were still unworkable or required further clarification. While most business representatives wouldn’t rate these regulations any better than a 5 on a 1 to 10 scale, they did represent the first draft of regulations that could possibly succeed.

In response to an inquiry from Assemblymember Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), author of one of the two 2008 green chemistry bills, AB 1879, that started this regulatory process, Linda Adams wrote that, at her request, DTSC had agreed to take additional time to revisit the proposed regulations and would also reconvene the Green Ribbon Science Panel early in 2011 to “vet the programmatic issues that have been brought to their attention.”  The Panel is tentatively scheduled to convene on February 3rd and 4th.

The other 2008 bill, SB 509 (Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto) charges OEHHA with providing a Toxic Inventory Clearinghouse as a repository for information concerning the toxicity and hazards of thousands of everyday chemicals. OEHHA is required to “evaluate and specify the hazard traits and environmental and toxicological end-points and other relevant data that are to be included in the clearinghouse.” These and other characteristics specified by OEHHA for the Clearinghouse must be included by DTSC in developing criteria to evaluate chemicals and their alternatives. They will be holding a public hearing on January 31st and have set a comment deadline of February 15th.

Their proposed regulations are available at: www.oehha.ca.gov/multimedia/green/gc121710.html

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