News Release

T – 06 – 14
Deborah O. Raphael, Director


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2014

Contact: Tamma Adamek
(916) 324-2997
Tamma.Adamek@dtsc.ca.gov

Contact: Sanford Nax
(916) 327-6114
Sanford.Nax@dtsc.ca.gov

DTSC challenges manufacturers to make products safer

Initiative fosters safe environment and healthy economy

SACRAMENTO – Today, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is challenging manufacturers to make their products safer and dramatically changing the way consumers are protected from potential toxic harm.

As a key step in its Safer Consumer Products regulations, DTSC is announcing three draft “priority products” – consumer goods sold in California that each contain at least one toxic chemical. DTSC is asking manufacturers to figure out if there’s a safer alternative.

“People want safer consumer products, and this innovative program establishes a process by which government and businesses can work together to meet this public demand.” said Matt Rodriquez, California Secretary for Environmental Protection. “Many companies already understand that looking for product alternatives to reduce consumer risk is a sound business practice. The eyes of the world will be watching us as we progress in this new, collective effort to protect public health and preserve our environment.”

DTSC’s landmark Safer Consumer Products regulations, which took effect Oct.1, 2013, represent a significant shift toward a more protective, economically viable approach to how California ensures the safety of consumer products. The regulations provide an opportunity for innovative industries to capitalize on the growing consumer demand for products that are safer and better for the environment.

DTSC selected these priority products because they contain at least one of more than 1,100 toxic chemicals that the Department identified as having the potential to cause significant harm to people or the environment. The products also are widely used and create the potential for significant public exposure to these chemicals.

“The impact of this initiative will be significant,” said DTSC Director Debbie Raphael. “Not only is DTSC asking that these three products be made safer, it is signaling to manufacturers to examine their products and find safer alternative ingredients whenever any of the more than 1,100 chemicals identified by this program are used.”

The three products are:

  • Children’s foam padded sleeping products containing TDCPP (chlorinated TRIS), a flame retardant and probable carcinogen that can also cause chronic health effects.
  • Spray Polyurethane foam systems containing unreacted di-isocyanates (dg). SPF systems are used for home and building insulation, weatherization, sealing and roofing. Di-isocyanates can irritate the respiratory tract, cause asthma and cancer and are known skin irritants.
  • Paint stripper containing Methylene Chloride, a known carcinogen and neurotoxin.

DTSC is not banning these products. It is starting a process, requiring manufacturers who want to sell them in California to conduct an “Alternatives Analysis” to determine if feasible safer ingredients are available. The final list of Priority Products won’t be official until a rule-making process is complete, which could take up to a year. After that, manufacturers will begin the Alternative Analysis process.

“This approach will also protect California workers, who can be exposed to high levels of hazardous chemicals in paint stripping and insulating products, especially when the products are used in confined spaces,” said Christine Baker, Director of California’s Department of Industrial Relations, which oversees the state’s worker safety program, Cal/OSHA. “DTSC’s new regulations will motivate investment in safer alternatives; we see that as a smart strategy to prevent on-the-job injuries and illnesses.”

For more information, including video, visit DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products website. While this is not an immediate ban, DTSC understands some consumers who use these products will be concerned. They are encouraged to visit the website or call (800) 728-6942.

The public can learn more about the selection of the priority products at DTSC’s quarterly meeting March 17 at 9 a.m. in Byron Sher Auditorium in the Cal EPA building, 1001 I St., Sacramento, Calif.

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FOR GENERAL INQUIRIES: Contact the Department of Toxic Substances Control by phone at (800) 728-6942 or visit www.dtsc.ca.gov. To report illegal handling, discharge, or disposal of hazardous waste, call the Waste Alert Hotline at (800) 698-6942.

The mission of DTSC is to protect California’s people and environment from harmful effects of toxic substances by restoring contaminated properties, enforcing hazardous waste law, reducing hazardous waste generation, and encouraging the manufacture of chemically safer products.