On March 13, 2014, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issued a draft list of priority products for assessment under the Safer Consumer Products regulations. This is a significant milestone in the development of the ground-breaking regulations. The California Safer Consumer Products regulations are the first attempt anywhere in the world to lay out a process for assessing safer alternatives to identified products and chemicals of concern. I have had the distinct honor and pleasure of being part of this process as a member of the Green Ribbon Science Panel that continues to advise Cal EPA DTSC on the implementation of AB 1879 (2008), part of the California Green Chemistry Initiative.

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What is a Priority Product? A Priority Product is a consumer product that contains one or more chemicals – known as Candidate Chemicals – that have a hazard trait that can harm people or the environment. A proposed list of three product-chemical combinations was released on March 13, 2014. This initial Priority Products list is the first set of product-chemical combinations to be named for consideration by DTSC to be regulated under the Safer Consumer Products regulations. Publication of this draft list of products imposes no new regulatory requirements on manufacturers until DTSC finalizes it by adopting regulations. Read more

The Priority Products and Candidate Chemicals:

Environmental health advocates such as the Environmental Working Group welcomed the announcement.  “These are hazardous chemicals linked to cancer and asthma that should never have been allowed into products in the first place,” said Renee Sharp, EWG’s director of research. “It’s long overdue, but the state Department of Toxic Substances Control and Governor Brown deserve credit for beginning a process that we hope will identify safer alternatives, so California families will no longer be exposed to these and many other hazardous chemicals.” Advocates also point out that more work is needed to move us to safer products:  “California’s program is far smaller than it should be and is able to tackle only a very small number of products and chemicals. We need more resources to go to the state Department of Toxic Substances Control so it can expand the program, and we need true chemical policy reform at the federal level to fix this mess that puts each and every American at risk.”

The American Chemistry Council has not yet commented on this development in California, and heated discussions on the reform of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act continue in Washington D.C.