California Lists Chemicals Ahead of Launch Oct. 1 of Safer Consumer Products Program

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By Carolyn Whetzel   

Sept. 27 --California's Department of Toxic Substances Control has released a list of 164 chemicals it will use to identify potentially harmful products that manufacturers may be required to reformulate under the state's Safer Consumer Products regulations.

DTSC posted the list on its website Sept. 26 as an informational tool, just days before the Oct. 1 effective date of the landmark rules designed to reduce manufacturers' use of chemicals that pose a potential threat to public health or the environment.

Required under legislation enacted in 2008, the Safer Consumer Products rules mark the state's first step in implementing the state's Green Chemistry Initiative.

“The program starts out small, but it sends a big message,” DTSC Director Debbie Raphael said in a written statement. “Innovative and forward-thinking companies will realize the opportunities for growth that stem from this cutting-edge regulation. Smart businesses are already planning ahead, looking for alternative chemicals they can promote as less-toxic, family friendly and environmentally safe.”

DTSC will use the initial list of 164 chemicals to identify, by April 2014, the first five priority products or categories of products containing high-risk chemicals that manufacturers will be required to evaluate and, if needed, reformulate with safer alternative substances.

The 164 substances on DTSC's initial list were culled from existing lists of 1,060 chemicals already identified by the state and other authoritative organizations as exhibiting a hazard trait or environmental endpoint or exposure risk. DTSC also posted the broader list of chemicals on its website for informational purposes.

Under the regulations, once a product is identified as a “priority product,” manufacturers, importers, assemblers and retailers must notify DTSC and analyze the product to determine how to make the product safer.

Reports, Next Steps

Manufacturers or other responsible entities would then have to submit detailed reports of their findings and propose their next steps. DTSC would then propose a regulatory response, which could entail restricting the use of the chemicals at issue, prohibiting sales or requiring engineering or administrative controls for companies using the chemicals.

“These hazard- and exposure-based regulations have the potential to motivate forward-leaning companies to make already safe products even safer, and simultaneously to focus on consumer products that truly pose significant or widespread adverse impacts for Californians,” John Ulrich, executive director of the Chemical Industry Council of California, said in a written statement. “CICC is proud of its contributions to this effort. … We now stand ready to assist the implementation phase and help to further integrate green chemistry into the world of chemical regulation.”

Gretchen Lee Salter of the Breast Cancer Fund said in a written statement that the rules are “a big step for California.” The Breast Cancer Fund will work with state officials and the Legislature to make sure the program lives up to its potential, she said.

“For too long, toxic chemicals have been used in everyday products with no accountability,” Salter said.



The chemical lists and other information about the Safer Consumer Products program are available at


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