The next phase of California’s Safer Consumer Products regulations (SCPR), also known as the Green Chemistry regulations, began on March 13, 2014, with the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s announcement of the three initial “priority products” proposed for comprehensive review and “alternatives analysis” under the SCPR. Those products are being proposed by DTSC as priority products because they contain one or more chemicals of concern identified by DTSC under the regulations, and, according to DTSC, have the potential to cause significant harm to people or the environment, are widely used, and create the potential for significant exposure to the public from the chemicals in the products.
The three products proposed for designation as priority products, and the chemicals for which they have been associated, are:
Children’s foam sleeping products containing chlorinated Tris (TDCPP, or tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate), used as a chemical flame retardant,
Spray polyurethane foam systems containing unreacted diisocyantates (SPF), used in home and building insulation, weatherization, sealing and roofing, and
Paint stripper containing methylene chloride.
The next step will be a rulemaking process that will result in DTSC’s final determination whether to list those products, and the adoption of associated regulations. Once the regulations are adopted, which will likely take at least another year, manufacturers of the products will need to notify DTSC that they make one of the priority products, and ultimately perform an “alternatives analysis” to determine whether safe ingredients are available and feasible.
The selection of children’s foam sleeping products containing Tris was particularly curious because those products have already been subject to significant and widespread citizen enforcement under Proposition 65. Putting aside whether those Proposition 65 cases were warranted, manufacturers of those products are generally phasing out the use of Tris as a chemical flame retardant. Why DTSC selected a product for which manufacturers have essentially been performing some level of alternatives analysis for the past few years is not readily apparent.