Consumer Product Alert: California Revives Green Chemistry Initiative with Draft Regulations that Impact Manufacturers, Importers, and Retailers

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After a failed attempt last year that sent state regulators back to the drawing board, California is pushing forward with its own regulation of chemicals in consumer products. On October 31, 2011, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issued a new “informal” draft of its Green Chemistry regulation, titled the “Safer Consumer Products Regulation.” Already 11 months late, the current iteration makes substantial changes to draft regulations that have come under intense criticism at each step.

Notably, the list of “Chemicals of Concern” will be much broader than initially anticipated and is expected to include nearly 3,000 chemicals (beating the Proposition 65 list by at least 2,200). Like its predecessor regulation, this version imposes compliance obligations on manufacturers, distributors, and retailers alike, introducing yet another California-specific burden for the consumer product industry. While children’s products, personal care products, and household cleaning products are no longer called out as the specific targets for immediate prioritization, the product prioritization criteria suggest that this regulation will likely impact them early on and affect many other everyday consumer products over time.

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