Public health impact bill targets consumer products

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Jan. 10, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) has moved his bill from last year, SB 747, "Public Health Impact Assessment," from the inactive file and has amended it. Unfortunately, this bill takes a simplistic approach to solving a very complex problem and gives the Department of Public Health (DPH) unfettered discretion (even broader than the Air Resources Board in AB 32 and the Department of Toxic Substances Control for Green Chemistry) in its implementation.

SB 747charges DPH with identifying the largest manufacturers of consumer products that contribute to federally-recognized public health epidemics (obesity, alcoholism, smoking, for example) with a fiscal impact on California’s public health system of $50 million or more. Once identified, DPH may then require those manufacturers to prepare and submit a written response including a risk assessment analysis identifying the public health impacts resulting from the sale of the relevant consumer product in the state and a list of mitigation strategies sufficient to reduce those impacts.

While the measure no longer imposes any mandates on DPH, the department would still have the authority to target any manufacturer of any consumer product it deems harmful and require a detailed report. In addition, DPH would still have the authority to impose a fee of up to $20,000 on each manufacturer to cover the costs of reviewing the information they provide.

Interestingly, language indicating what DPH should do with the information it gathers from manufacturers has been removed from the bill. It is now unclear why we are requiring anything from manufacturers of consumer products at all, much less imposing a huge fee to cover the costs of DPH having to read their responses.

This program is unworkable, duplicative of other state and federal regulatory programs, may cause confidential business information problems, and poses a threat to thousands of jobs in California if litigation arises based on manufacturers’ reports. Further, there is no end-goal in the legislation that warrants such a threat to California manufacturers.

SB 747 will be heard in the Senate Health Committee on January 15th and subsequently in Senate Environmental Quality. Since it is a two year bill, it must pass these same-house policy committees by January 17th. CMTA is opposing this legislation.

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