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.