Website Archive

Content on DTSC’s Website Archive is no longer being updated. It is being provided for informational purposes only and may be out of date, contain technical inaccuracies, typographical errors or broken links. This content is not promised or guaranteed to be correct, current or complete. DTSC assumes no responsibility (and expressly disclaims responsibility) for updating this site. Any reliance on the content contained herein is at the user’s own risk. Users are solely responsible for confirming the accuracy and completeness of all posted information before citing or using the information. By accessing this site, users agree that DTSC shall not be held liable for any claim, loss or damages which may result from the use of, access to, or inability to use the content contained herein.

Emerging Issues

  • Arsenic Relative Bioavailability Study The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) was awarded a Training Research and Technical Assistance Grant to conduct an Arsenic Relative Bioavailability Study (Study) by the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region IX (USEPA). The goal of the Study was to determine the range of arsenic bioavailability that may exist in contaminated soil at former abandoned mine land (AML) sites and develop better methods to determine the human health effects caused by exposure to arsenic. The Study was also intended to develop an assessment tool that would allow risk assessors to reliably predict the in-vivo relative risk based bioavailability of arsenic in soil in a scientifically sound, defensible and cost effective manner. DTSC produced an arsenic bioavailability guidance document, as well as an assessment tool that assists in the proper characterization of arsenic at former AML sites.  See the Arsenic Relative Bioavailability Study page.
  • California Law Prohibits Bisphenol A in Children’s Bottles and Cups Beginning on July 1, 2013, Assembly Bill 1319 (Butler, Chapter 467, Health and Safety Code § 108940 and 108941­) the Toxin-Free Infants and Toddlers Act prohibits the sale, manufacturing, or distribution of certain products that contain a chemical known as bisphenol A (BPA) at a concentration of 0.1 parts per billion (ppb) or more. BPA is used to make certain plastics (e.g., polycarbonate) that have desirable properties like rigidity, shatter resistance, and transparency. However, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration have expressed concern about potential adverse health effects of BPA on fetuses, infants and young children. The new law’s limits apply to bottles or cups intended for use by children under the age of three years old. AB 1319 does not affect products intended for adults or medical devices. Although DTSC has enforcement authority for certain consumer products, the Legislature did not vest the department with the authority to enforce this law. Therefore, its enforcement would be through a civil action brought by the Attorney General or a district attorney. If in the future DTSC adopts a regulatory response regarding the use of BPA in bottles or cups for children under the age of three years old via its proposed Safer Consumer Product regulations, the 0.1 ppb limit on BPA established by AB 1319 would no longer apply to such bottles or cups. For more information on the Safer Consumer Product regulations, please go to:
  • California Law Prohibiting Phthalates in Toys and Infant Products Effective January 1, 2009, Health & Safety Code § 108937 (AB 1108) prohibits the sale of toys or child care articles in California that contain certain phthalates. This California law restricts six particular phthalates, which are the same as those restricted by the federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act: di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (“DEHP”), dibutyl phthalate (“DBP”), benzyl butyl phthalate (“BBP”), diisononyl phthalate (“DINP”), diisodecyl phthalate (“DIDP”), and di-n-octyl phthalate (“DnOP”). Three of the phthalates, DEHP, DBP and BBP, may not be present in concentrations exceeding 0.1 percent in any toy or child care article. The remaining three phthalates, DINP, DIDP, and DnOP, are restricted to 0.1 percent only in those toys and child care articles “intended for use by a child under three years of age if that product can be placed in the child’s mouth.” The state legislature did not vest any specific state agency with the authority to enforce this law. Instead, this law may be enforced through a civil action under the CA Unfair Competition Law brought by the attorney general or a district attorney in the name of the people, or by certain city attorneys. The Department of Toxic Substances Control is not responsible for enforcement of the new phthalates law, so DTSC is unable to answer any questions regarding compliance issues. The attorney general provided comments to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding implementation of California’s law restricting phthalates and its relationship to new federal standards for phthalates; these comments are available here:
  • Lead in Plumbing
    Recently, the California Legislature passed laws to increase protection of the public from exposure to lead in drinking water. This was done by reducing the amount of lead allowed in plumbing components. See the Lead in Plumbing page for more information.
  • Chemical Information Call-In (AB289) Assembly Bill (AB) 289 (Statutes of 2006) added new authority to the Health and Safety Code for DTSC to collaborate with companies who produce or import chemicals into California in developing information about those chemicals.  Such information may include, but is not limited to, information on fate and transport in the environment, analytical test methods, bioconcentration, physical and chemical properties, and other information about chemicals of concern to the State.  Initially, DTSC will call in information about carbon nanotubes.  Other chemicals of concern will be considered for future call-ins.  Read more about the Chemical Information Call-in Program.  View the announcement on carbon nanotubes.
  • Green Remediation Green Remediation is the name applied to the use of “Green” technologies for the environmental restoration of contaminated sites. The scope of the term applies to an entire remediation project beginning with the remedial investigation phase, to implementation of the remedial action plan, and continuing through the operations and maintenance phases of the project. Read more about Green Remediation.
  • Nanotechnology The unique physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials at the nanoscale enable novel applications and functions with the potential to promote enormous societal and economic benefits. However, those properties also raise concerns regarding potential environmental and human impact of these materials. Read about nanotechnology.
  • Pharmaceuticals spilledPharmaceutical Waste The distinction between hazardous wastes and medical wastes, as they are defined by law, has hampered a truly environmentally-protective approach to the very complex issues surrounding pharmaceutical waste. Only recently have environmental agencies begun to grapple with these issues. Read more about pharmaceutical waste.
  • Biomonitoring More and more scientists and toxicologists are identifying “emerging chemicals of concern,” or ECCs and are worried about the effects from exposures to mixtures of these ECCs and/or other chemicals. Most of these ECCs, have been identified by results from biomonitoring which measured their increasing presence in humans and wildlife. Learn about biomonitoring.
  • beaker with globeGreen Chemistry Stated most simply, green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. Fewer hazardous substances means less hazardous waste and a healthier environment.  Read about DTSC’s involvement in Green Chemistry.
  • Toxics in Packaging Consumer goods packaging makes up a significant portion of waste going to the nation’s municipal solid waste landfills. Packaging containing toxic substances, especially heavy metals lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium, can release those poisonous or dangerous substances, contaminating the soil and groundwater surrounding the landfill.  See how DTSC is addressing Toxics in Packaging.
  • Desktop PC and monitorRestriction on the use of certain hazardous substances in electronic devices (RoHS) The concept behind California’s RoHS Law is to limit the amounts of certain hazardous heavy metals in specific waste electronic devices so that those metals never find their way into landfills or elsewhere, where they can eventually be released into the environment. More information about California’s RoHS regulations.
  • Lead in Jewelry High amounts of lead, a persistent and toxic metal, have been found in jewelry, especially inexpensive children’s jewelry. Exposures to lead can cause a host of health effects ranging from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to organ failure, and even death. Read about lead in jewelry.
  • Treated Wood Waste Learn more about the definition of treated wood and the management of treated wood waste.