On February 9, 2018, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released its draft 2018-2020 Priority Product Workplan. The Workplan, once finalized, will serve as the starting point for DTSC to select Priority Products under its Safer Consumer Product (SCP) Program. Written comments on the draft will be accepted beginning February 12, 2018, with a deadline of March 9, 2018. DTSC also will hold a public workshop on the draft Workplan on February 26, 2018 at Cal/EPA headquarters in Sacramento.
Under the SCP Program, DTSC identifies product and chemical of concern combinations – i.e., Priority Products – via formal rulemaking. The “responsible entity” for a Priority Product – a manufacturer, assembler or retailer – must undertake an alternative assessment of the Priority Product to determine whether a safer alternative to the identified chemical of concern is available. Regulatory responses (such as labeling or even product bans) may be imposed depending on the outcome of the alternative assessment.
The draft Workplan identifies seven product categories for consideration as Priority Products. The five identified below were carried over from the 2015-2017 Workplan:
- Beauty, personal care, and hygiene products, with chemicals of concern including diethanolamine, bisphenol A, and the sunscreen benzophenone-3;
- Cleaning products, with chemicals of concern including triclosan and nonylphenol ethoxylates;
- Household, school, and workplace furnishings and décor, with chemicals of concern including formaldehyde and perfluroalkyl and polyfluroalkyl substances;
- Building products and materials used in construction and renovation, with chemicals including formaldehyde and isocyanates; and
- Consumable office, school, and business supplies, with chemicals of concern including styrene and bisphenol A.
In the draft 2018-2020 Workplan, DTSC identifies two new categories: food packaging and lead-acid batteries. The chemicals of concern identified in connection with food packaging includes bisphenol A and S, styrene, and perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
DTSC articulated the following policy statements as the drivers for selecting the product categories and associated chemicals of concern:
DTSC will strive to protect children, women of child-bearing age, and pregnant women from exposures to harmful chemicals, especially carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxicants, neurotoxicants, developmental toxicants, and endocrine disruptors.
DTSC will strive to protect California’s valuable and limited water resources and aquatic ecosystems from consumer-product derived chemicals contamination.
DTSC will strive to protect Californians from chemicals found in the indoor environment.
DTSC will strive to protect Californians from chemicals that migrate into food from food packaging.
Given the onerous alternatives assessments requirement imposed on Priority Products, potentially responsible entities for the identified product categories should consider submitting public comments on the draft Workplan. In particular, food packaging manufacturers may wish to consider pointing out the duplicative nature of any proposed regulation of food packaging, given the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s regulation in this area.
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