Toxics in Consumer Products: California Implements Safer Consumer Product Regulations


Today, California’s Safer Consumer Product Regulations became law as the state’s latest attempt to regulate the chemical composition of a broad range of consumer products. The regulations contain detailed procedures to implement California’s Green Chemistry Initiative, requiring product manufacturers to examine whether they can replace existing chemical ingredients with alternatives that are deemed safer for consumers and the environment. For many consumer product companies, the regulations will require major investments in compliance and changes to product design planning and supply chain management.

The regulations (discussed in further detail in our prior updates) establish a four-step regulatory process in which the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) (i) identifies candidate chemicals of concern (“Candidate Chemicals”); (ii) develops a list of priority products containing those Candidate Chemicals (“Priority Products”); (iii) requires manufacturers of Priority Products to notify DTSC and analyze possible product alternatives; and (iv) imposes a regulatory response, which can include a reformulation requirement or California sales ban. Although the regulations impose the “principal duty to comply” on the manufacturer and, secondarily, on the importer, retailers must also comply (or cease ordering the Priority Product) if the manufacturer fails to do so.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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