This week, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control announced the first step in a complex, new regulatory process that is designed to assess the risk of certain chemicals in specific consumer products and to determine if there might be safer alternatives.
The ‘green chemistry’ program has been in the works for seven years and has been the subject of hundreds of meetings, filings, and formal comments submitted by ACC, our member companies, other manufacturing companies, and dozens of trade associations (comments submitted by ACC can be found on ACC’s website). Unfortunately, yesterday’s announcement does not appear to consider concerns that have been raised numerous times year after year.
ACC had been hopeful that state regulators would do a better job incorporating work that is already underway on some of these chemistries, including science-based information from EPA and other government bodies. This would have improved their process to prioritize products, saved substantial resources, and ensured they focus on consumer products that actually stand to reap benefits from an alternatives assessment.
As just one example of potential flaws in the program, despite being strongly encouraged not to duplicate current federal efforts, we are puzzled that as part of this first phase the Department has included plans to focus on a chemical–product combination that is already being thoroughly evaluated by EPA and other federal agencies.
Between now and the initiation of the formal rulemaking for each draft Priority Product, we look forward to correcting relevant inaccuracies in DTSC’s supporting information and continuing to engage with state regulators to ensure that the program is not duplicative of ongoing federal chemical safety assessments and that it provides consumers access to credible, helpful information about the products they use and greater confidence in their safety.