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Regulator stresses REACH and California’s SCPR are different


Chemical Watch reports that elements in REACH could help companies meet requirements of California’s new Safer Consumer Products Regulations (SCPR), but they should understand that the two regulations are different, an official at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has said.

Answering questions during a Chemical Watch webinar on SCPR, Karl Palmer, chief of the DTSC’s Toxics in Products Branch, said the department would look at what other regulatory regimes are controlling, when it selects priority products for alternatives assessment. He added that if a selected product is regulated elsewhere, DTSC would determine whether the product was adequately regulated by the endpoints being examined by the department.

Information generated by REACH analyses could help position entities “favourably to be aware of what their obligations are under the Safer Consumer Products Regulations, and perhaps position them better to meet those requirements,” said Lynn Bergeson of Bergeson & Campbell.

Addressing the issue of data gaps, Mr Palmer said the department is “going to use the weight of evidence as best as we can”. While some substances are going to have a robust data set, others may not, he explained. “It is going to be a process of collecting all the information available and evaluating them ultimately in the alternatives analysis,” he added, admitting it would be a challenge. While the department goes through the process of identifying potential priority products in the work plan, it will be talking to stakeholders to see if “we have missed something in the data” and assess the feedback, before moving forward, Mr Palmer said.

Emily Tipaldo, manager of regulatory and technical affairs at the American Chemistry Council, said there would be opportunities for stakeholders to provide DTSC with more information, as the priority products go through rulemaking. Mr Palmer added that the department would put out the information it develops as part of the priority products listing, so the public can see its rationale.

California to publish 230 candidate chemicals for Safer Consumer Products


Chemical Watch reports that California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has signalled that it plans to publish, on 26 September, a list of about 230 candidate substances as part of the state’s Safer Consumer Products Regulation. The Regulation, which comes into force on 1 October, will see products containing priority chemicals undergo alternatives assessment.

The list of 230 substances has been selected from a longer list of 1,200 candidate chemicals. “We are starting with chemicals that show up in biomonitoring, impact pathways and have hazard traits,” Bob Boughton, DTSC’s senior hazardous substances engineer, told the Safer Consumer Products Summit in Washington. The first batch of priority products should be decided before 1 January 2014, he added. “For the initial list of priority products, we are focusing on a smaller group of candidate chemicals and will only be doing up to five products.”

Mr Boughton warned that existing alternatives assessments are unlikely to fulfil the requirements of California’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations because “they are not as comprehensive”. However, he said the regulated community can build on existing alternative assessments.

The alternatives assessment specified under the Regulations is “different from what is typically bantered around as an alternatives assessment,” he added. “They may not cover all the hazard traits that we are requiring or the [whole] lifecycle.” He said California’s assessment is not just looking at “chemical drop-in switches – we are also talking about revising the chemical to a safe harbour level or taking it out.” It is also about formulation changes that may be minor or major, and also about changing the actual design of the product.

The DTSC is developing guidance on conducting alternative assessments and expects to have the preliminary draft towards the end of the year. The agency will conduct online workshops on the draft, and have the second draft out next summer with the goal of putting out a final product by the end of 2014.

The agency is also producing three-year work plans as a way of “signalling to industry what to expect, and to give them certainty,” Mr Boughton said. The first work plan is due to be proposed on 1 October and will include a public consultation.

The Regulation allows people to petition the DTSC to add or remove chemicals from the candidate list.

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