Newest Green Chemistry proposal to be aired at Dec 5 workshop

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Dec. 2, 2011 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On October 31st, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released its latest draft (an informal version of new regulations) for a Green Chemistry program dubbed “Safer Consumer Products.”  It was released with the agency Director’s comment “that just because a product is legal does not mean it is safe.”  This preface has caused angst within the manufacturing community who believe that the products they have on store shelves are both legal and safe.  

There are a number of concerns that are being voiced by manufacturers as they attempt to decipher how this proposed program would work:

Proprietary business information is not addressed.  Companies can spend millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars developing a product.  If confidential business information is not protected, innovation will be stymied. Likewise, antitrust issues are not addressed. Companies are extremely concerned about this regulation making them more vulnerable to future litigation.

The program now considers approximately 3,000 chemicals as “Chemicals of Concern” without prioritizing to better focus on the public’s safety.  DTSC says “trust us, we will focus on only a few chemicals at a time”.  Such a huge list will make finding an acceptable less toxic alternative more difficult.

This version of the proposal no longer makes an exemption for unintentionally-added chemicals.  A company can’t afford to run tests on its products for the 3,000 chemicals now included as chemicals of concern.

A .01% de minimus threshold has been established for nine sets of hazardous traits that are not based on a chemical’s properties, use or exposure pathways.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment previously submitted a hazardous trait list. It has not been trimmed.  Virtually every potential hazardous trait known to man is included.

An Alternatives Assessment (AA) is required to be conducted by a “certified assessor.”  CMTA maintains that on most products no one knows as much about the product, its use, necessary properties and alternatives as the manufacturer.  While the AA section indicates that guidance documents will be issued to provide flexibility, there is a large amount of detail already included which appears to severely limit that flexibility.

Another primary concern with the proposal is with the cost of compliance.  One extremely large company voiced the opinion that his company might like this regulation, because they have to be one of the few that can afford to comply…thus less competition.  All companies are required to comply regardless of size.

Many of these and additional concerns will be aired on Monday, December 5th during a DTSC workshop at CalEPA in Sacramento.  More details on the workshop can be found at: www.dtsc.ca.gov/LawsRegsPolicies/Regs/upload/SCP-Workshop-Notice-10312011.pdf.

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