Green Chemistry program launched

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Oct. 3, 2013 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On Tuesday, October 1st, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced the launch of their Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program implementing new "Green Chemistry" regulations, five years after Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation mandating its development. The program is intended to reduce the use of hazardous substances in the design of products and industrial processes. Its aim is to create safer, more sustainable products that do not threaten our health or environment.  

The regulations, which apply to consumer products in the California stream of commerce, establish a three-step process:

  1. DTSC must identify "candidate" chemicals of concern and then identify "priority" products containing these candidate chemicals. Under the regulations, DTSC must propose an initial list of no more than five “priority” products by April 1, 2014. Over the next several years, DTSC will add additional "priority" products to the list.
  2. If you are a manufacturer or other responsible entity (such as an importer), you must notify DTSC if your product is on the list. Then you must analyze alternatives to eliminate or reduce exposure to the chemicals of concern in your “priority” products and submit a report to DTSC.
  3. DTSC will evaluate your report. The regulations identify a number of actions that DTSC can take depending on its evaluation of your report. For example, DTSC can require you to provide product information to consumers, restrict the use of the chemicals of concern or the product, or even prohibit the sale of the product in California.

To kick off the SCP program, DTSC published informational lists of candidate chemicals, totaling about 150 chemicals, on a new web site: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/scp/index.cfm. The list is at: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/SCP/ChemList.cfm

Up to five priority products will be proposed by April, and once the process for finalizing their identification is complete, manufacturers that wish to sell these products in California will have to conduct an "alternative analysis" to determine if a safer ingredient is suitable. If no other ingredient is feasible, DTSC can apply one of several regulatory responses to reduce potential harmful effects or phase out the use of that chemical.

DTSC has also posted its Toxics Information Clearinghouse(TIC) web site: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/scp/tic.cfm.The TIC's primary goal is to serve as a decentralized system for collection, maintenance, and distribution of information on specified chemicals via a publicly accessible web-based portal. The TIC provides a portal to multiple web-based sources of chemical-specific information for hazard traits, toxicity endpoints, and other related properties.

The Green Chemistry regulations have the potential to affect a wide range of products, such as personal care, furniture, and high-tech products. If you are a manufacturer or retailer of consumer products in California, it will be important for you to keep track of whether the products that you make or sell contain “candidate” chemicals, and whether you make or sell any “priority” products.

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