Recently, we have informed our readers of product safety legislative and regulatory initiatives, including green chemistry programs, driven at the state level.  One of these important state regulatory initiatives is California's Green Chemistry Initiative.  California's "Safer Consumer Products" regulations seek to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products by establishing a process whereby manufacturers of certain products must determine whether certain chemicals in their products are necessary and consider safer chemical alternatives.  The overall goal of California's Safer Consumer Products initiative is to ultimately mandate the removal or substitution of specific chemicals from certain consumer goods.

Last week, on March 13, California's Department of Toxic Substances Control ("DTSC") published a draft of its "Proposed Priority Products List."  The effect of publishing this list is to begin the rulemaking process, which will include notice and comment and public workshops, designed to further examine these listed products and their chemical make-up.  Industry stakeholders should take immediate note of the three products on the list and coordinate with suppliers and manufacturers who provide them, if applicable.  However, even if this rulemaking does not impact your products, it will establish a very important precedent and should be carefully monitored.

The first three products subject to California's new initiative are:

  1. Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Systems containing unreacted diisocyanates;
  2. Children's Foam Padded Sleeping Products containing Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl phosphate or TDCPP); and
  3. Paint and Varnish Strippers and Surface Cleaners with methylene chloride.

According to the DTSC, these products were selected as a result of potential exposure to the candidate chemical in the product and the potential for exposure to contribute to or cause "widespread adverse impacts."

Each of these products will now undergo a rulemaking process whereby the DTSC will consider comments from stakeholders and review additional scientific information.  Finalizing this initial Priority Products List could take up to two years.  Once the list of Priority Products is finalized, impacted manufacturers, retailers, importers and assemblers will be required to notify DTSC and begin a process to address whether usage of a safer alternative to the identified chemical is feasible or whether the product should be removed from store shelves altogether.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.