Next Generation of Consumer Product Rules: California Issues Draft Green Chemistry Regulations

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On July 27, 2012, following a series of contentious administrative hearings, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”) finally released its proposed green chemistry regulations for public notice and comment. The draft regulations set out the details of California’s Green Chemistry Initiative, which requires product manufacturers to examine whether they can replace existing chemical ingredients with alternatives that are deemed safer for consumers and the environment. The proposed regulations establish a four-step regulatory process in which DTSC (i) identifies chemicals of concern (“COCs”), (ii) develops a list of Priority Products containing those COCs, (iii) requires manufacturers of Priority Products to notify DTSC and analyze possible product alternatives, and (iv) imposes a regulatory response, which in its most extreme form includes banning the sale of the product in California.

The draft regulations are late, as the statute required that the regulations be in place by January 1, 2011. The newly proposed regulations follow the same basic framework as previous drafts (discussed in further detail here), but proposed changes affect each step of the regulatory process. Although the regulations continue to be extremely broad in scope, imposing significant administrative burdens and financial costs on regulated businesses, the proposal does reflect an effort to reduce the impact on business. Some of the more notable details are as follows...

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