The California legislature passed Assembly Bill 1879 in 2008 which required adoption of regulations to establish a process to identify and prioritize chemicals in consumer products that have the potential to have adverse impacts to public health and environment, and to establish a process for evaluating potential safer alternatives.
In the past, toxins in products were dealt with on a case-by-case basis when found to have harmed consumers or our environment. This historic approach was not preventative or protective. After relying on "single product bans" for so many years, California’s new regulations start a movement to systematically evaluate alternative ingredients by requiring that manufacturers to ask: "is this ingredient necessary, and is there a safer alternative?"
Who Must Comply with the Regulation?
Businesses that manufacture, import, distribute, sell, or assemble consumer products listed by DTSC as Priority Products containing chemicals of concern and placed into the stream of commerce in California.
What are the Key Elements of the Safer Consumer Products Regulations?
The regulations provide for a four-step science-based, iterative process to identify safer consumer product alternatives.
- DTSC will establish a list of Candidate Chemicals based on work done by authoritative organizations because of their hazard traits or history of exposure. This list is posted on our Chemical Lists web pages.
- It starts out small. For the first listing, DTSC will identify no more than five consumer products that contain one or more Candidate Chemicals that have both a hazard trait and a history of exposure. The regulations require this proposed list of priority products be published before April 1, 2014.
- Responsible entities will have to identify and evaluate alternatives that reduce adverse impacts of the product with chemical of concern. It requires manufacturers to ask, "Is this ingredient necessary? Is there a safer alternative? Is that alternative feasible?" This assessment will be required only after the Priority Products are adopted in regulations.
- After a responsible entity’s alternatives analysis, DTSC may impose regulatory responses for the protection of public health and environment.
What steps have been completed and what's to come?
- October 2013: The regulations took effect.
- October 2013: The Candidate Chemicals List was created.
- March 2013: The Initial Proposed List of Priority Products was released.
- September 2014: The Draft Priority Products Work Plan was issued. The Work Plan identifies product categories that DTSC will evaluate to identify product-chemical combinations over next three years.
- April 2015: The final 2015-2017 Priority Product Work Plan was released.
- September 2015: The Draft Stage 1 Alternatives Analysis (AA) Guide was released. The AA Guide provides useful approaches, methods, resources, tools, and examples of how to fulfill SCP’s regulatory requirements.
- July 2016: The Rulemaking to list Children’s Foam-Padded Sleeping Products containing the flame retardants TDCPP and TCEP as a Priority Product began. A 45-day Comment Period runs from July 15 - August 29, 2016. .
- December 2016: The Draft Alternatives Analysis (AA) Guide is released.
- TBD: Before the initial Priority Products are finalized, they will undergo rulemaking which may take up to one year. The date for having a final Priority Products list is therefore not fixed. There are several activities that will be initiated based on the release date of the final Priority Products list.
- TBD: 60 days after the Final Priority Products list is posted, responsible entities submit Priority Product Notifications.
- TBD: 180 days after the Final Priority Products list is posted, responsible entities submit Preliminary Alternatives Analysis Reports.