Monday August 06, 2012
California, Washington State and Maine Move on Ingredient RulesBy Sean Oberle
Three states have taken steps towards strengthening their regulations on the safety and environmental effects of product ingredients. The developments are part of a growing trend towards a patchwork of such regulations in the U.S. and abroad. California’s proposed Safer Consumer Products Regulation, made available July 27 by the state’s Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC), seeks a four-step process to decide if there are safer alternatives to chemicals used in products. It places a duty on companies to assess the viability of alternative chemicals if ingredients are on a chemicals of concern (COC) list that the state would post within 30 dates of the rules’ effective date.
Although the regulation would place primary compliance responsibilities on the manufacturer, they would move responsibility to an importer if the manufacturer failed its duty and then to retailers if the importer did so or if there were no importer. Penalties and fines would be those allowed under the state’s existing hazardous waste management provisions in its health and safety code at division 20, chapter 6.5, article 8. The rule is out for a 45 day comment period. Learn more at www.dtsc.ca.gov/SCPRegulations.cfm.
Interestingly, the state highlighted the growing patchwork in a chart of “COC Lists Around the Globe” that compares California’s targets with lists in Maine, Minnesota, and Washington State as well as nationally by EPA and regulators in Australia, Canada, Europe and Japan. See the chart at www.dtsc.ca.gov/upload/SCPCOCGlobalListJuly2012.pdf. In January (PSL, 1/23/ 12, p. 1) DTSC and EPA signed an agreement for information sharing and other cooperation related to work on the pending regulation.
Washington State: The Department of Ecology July 16 began a rulemaking that could add or remove chemicals on its Chemicals of High Concern to Children list used with the reporting rules finalized nearly a year ago (PSL, 8/15/11, p. 1). Those are under the state’s Children’s Safe Products Act. Though the proposal is focused on adding the flame retardant tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCPP) to the list, the agency explains, “However, if additional chemicals are shown to clearly meet the criteria for inclusion on or removal from the CHCC list, Ecology will consider that information and the possibility of adding or removing these chemicals as well. If appropriate Ecology will also amend requirements related to the reporting deadlines for any chemicals that are added to the list.” The proposal is at www.ecy.wa.gov/laws-rules/wac173334/1202.html.
Maine: The Department of Environmental Protection July 1 issued a 49-item chemicals of high concern list. The state’s Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products law mandated that the agency create a list of no more than 70. It started with two lists of thousands that it combined for a preliminary count of 467, which it winnowed down to 184 and then to 49. It chose reproductive or developmental toxins, endocrine disruptors or human carcinogens and that met any of three criteria: biomonitoring data showing presence in human fluid or tissue, demonstrated presence in homes such as in dust or indoor air, or use in household consumer products. See www.maine.gov/dep/safechem/highconcern/index.html.