Manufacturers of Consumer Products Face Extensive California Green Chemistry Requirements

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In a highly-anticipated new development, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”) issued its draft Regulation for Safer Consumer Product Alternatives in order to implement its innovative Green Chemistry regulatory program. The Green Chemistry program reflects a new approach to reduce or remove potentially toxic chemicals from a wide variety of consumer products, by regulating the design of chemical products and processes to reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. To achieve this goal, the state legislature enacted Assembly Bill 1879 and Senate Bill 509 in 2008, which together are known as the Green Chemistry Initiative. The two bills are written in general terms, and direct DTSC to develop detailed regulations.

DTSC’s new draft regulation fleshes out a process for identifying and prioritizing chemicals and the consumer products that contain them for potential additional restriction. The process consists of three main parts: Prioritization, Alternatives Assessments, and Regulatory Response. For products already on the market, this will require examining whether safer alternatives exist and, potentially, reformulating the product or having it banned entirely. For new products, this will mean looking at potential impacts and addressing them before the product is produced.

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