Workplace Use of Chemicals

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Oct. 23, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Cal EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has taken concrete steps this year to implement its Safer Consumer Products (Green Chemistry) regulation. These include the proposed listings of three “Priority Products”, at least two of which may be of interest to some CMTA members – spray foam insulation systems containing unreacted diisocyanates and paint strippers/surface cleaners containing methylene chloride (the 3rd was children’s foam-padded sleeping products).

More recently, DTSC issued a draft three-year work plan for identifying additional priority products. This document includes seven broad product categories (including building products, furniture, clothing, consumable office products, beauty/personal care and hygiene products, fishing, and cleaning products), encompassing thousands of individual products and providing very little insight as to how DTSC will distill from this universe the next few rounds of Priority Products for regulatory review.

More importantly for manufacturers who use some of the implicated products in their workplace, neither the three proposed listings nor the work plan document provide any consideration of regulatory requirements and controls that exist in workplace settings to reduce or eliminate worker exposure and releases to the environment. Given sustained pressure on DTSC from certain activist groups to regulate chemical use in the workplace, it is unlikely DTSC will act on its own initiative to narrow the scope of current and future Priority Product listings. Absent information and advocacy to the contrary, any use restrictions intended for consumer products sold at retail are likely to be swept into commercial and industrial settings.

CMTA would like to gauge member interest in reaching out to DTSC to advocate for Priority Product listings that exclude controlled workplace applications. We are looking to develop a few examples of actual products that fall within the identified categories and show how their use in industrial settings is subject to existing regulations that effectively preclude exposures which might otherwise justify DTSC intervention. These would be shared with DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products program staff and interim Director Miriam Ingenito at a meeting in advance of DTSC’s issuance of formal notices of proposed rulemaking and a final work plan. Given uncertainty about DTSC’s timeframe, we would need to initiate this effort in early November and schedule a meeting with DTSC no later than early December.

Please contact Mike Rogge at mrogge@cmta.netif you are interested in participating in this effort, and if your company or industry would be willing to sponsor development of an example industrial application to share with DTSC, by close of business Friday, October 31.

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