California Releases Draft Regulation for Toxic Substances

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) last week released a
draft regulation that sets forth a process for the design of safer products.

The Draft Regulation
for Safer Consumer Products would implement a key component of Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger’s Green Chemistry Initiative, which he signed into law in 2008.

The
draft regulation creates a systematic, science-based process to evaluate chemicals of
concern in products. It is also expected to stimulate innovation in California’s product
development sector.

“Study after study have shown that many consumer products are not safe, resulting with
more and more being recalled,” said DTSC Acting Director Maziar Movassaghi. “This
draft regulation is the first of its kind in the nation, and it essentially shifts the way
government, industry and the public think about the products that end up in our homes.”

Movassaghi cited the recently released report from the President’s Cancer Panel, which
made “green chemistry” approaches a priority recommendation. The report concluded
that “safer alternatives for many currently used chemicals [are] urgently needed.”

He
also cited the recently released report from Environment California “Green Chemistry at
Work”
which recognizes 11 California companies that are already leading the green
chemistry revolution as a part of their existing business model.

The draft regulation
would prioritize toxic chemicals and products, require manufacturers to seek safer
alternatives to toxic chemicals in their products, and create tough governmental
responses for lack of compliance.

Specifically, under the draft regulation, DTSC would create a list of chemicals that are
toxic and can harm people or the environment. Products containing those chemicals
would be prioritized based upon such factors as the volume in commerce, the extent of
public exposure and how the product is eventually disposed. Manufacturers of those
products would perform an “alternatives assessment” to determine if a viable safer
alternative is available.

“I’m confident companies will step up to the plate and create new markets for ‘green’
products,” Movassaghi said. “We’re already seeing the demand, and innovative industry
leaders are responding to that demand more and more. California is a cradle for
innovation, and these companies are clearly leading the way. We are on the threshold
of achieving what no other state or country has achieved.”

DTSC will hold
two half-day public workshops on the draft regulation on July 7-8, 2010.

Following the July workshops, DTSC intends to begin the formal
Administrative Procedures Act (APA) rulemaking process which it plans on completing
by the end of this calendar year.

For more information and to access a copy of the draft regulation, go to the link below.

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