California Issues Draft Green Chemistry Regulations
Pursuant to the passage of AB 1879 (Chapter 559, Statutes of 2008) the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is required to adopt regulations by January 1, 2011 to identify and prioritize chemicals of concern, to evaluate alternatives, and to specify regulatory responses where chemicals of concern are found in products. A near-final draft is currently available at http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/PollutionPrevention/GreenChemistryInitiative/upload/Safer-Product-Alternative-Regulations-6-23-10.pdf.
The flow of the regulation includes identification of hazard traits of chemicals, then screening the universe of chemicals having those hazard traits (otherwise known as chemicals under consideration) to determine chemicals of concern. Early in the process potential chemicals of concern will probably include carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxins as well as persistent bioaccumulative toxins, and they will be prioritized. To date, no list of chemicals of concern has been issued.
In a parallel process, DTSC will determine products of concern; those products which present the greatest likelihood of potential exposure of the public and especially sensitive subpopulations (chidren, women, workers, etc.). Priority products of concern will be those containing priority chemicals of concern.
Manufacturers of priority products of concern containing priority chemicals of concern will be required to submit to the state an alternatives analysis; a comprehensive review of other materials and approaches to manufacture of the product that eliminate the chemical of concern. Upon evaluating the alternatives analysis the state may specify any of a number of remedies ranging from labeling to reformulation.
A final draft of the regulations is expected after the current comment period which ends July 15th.