September 23, 2014

California Publishes Draft Work Plan Targeting Seven Categories of Products for Green Chemistry Review

Seller Beware: Consumer Protection Insights for Industry

As we predicted in our prior post, California's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has beat the October 1 deadline for release of its draft Priority Product Work Plan (Work Plan) under the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) regulations. The draft Work Plan is the latest installment in a series of key planning documents that will drive implementation of the California Green Chemistry Initiative. It contains some widely anticipated categories (personal care and household cleaning products) and some surprises like the narrow category of fishing equipment.


Following the SCP regulations described in our initial post, DTSC's Work Plan includes two elements:

  1. a description of the product categories that DTSC will evaluate to identify product-chemical combinations to be added to the Priority Products list during the subsequent three years, and
  2. a general explanation of the decision to select the identified product categories for evaluation.

DTSC's draft Work Plan identifies the following seven product categories and candidate chemicals:

Beauty, personal care and hygiene products (Skin Products, Personal Hygiene Products, Hair Products, Cosmetics/Fragrances)

  • Aldehydes, formaldehyde
  • Alkyl phenols & ethoxylates
  • Azo dyes, coal tars, lead, and lead acetate
  • Phthalates
  • Triclosan
  • Toluene

Building products, specifically paints, adhesives, sealants and flooring (Flooring, Painting, Sealants/Fillers/Adhesives)

  • Brominated or chlorinated organic compounds, organophosphates
  • Isocyanates
  • Metals, such as Chromium VI
  • Perfluorinated Compounds
  • Phthalates
  • Volatile Organic Compounds, such as formaldehyde, n- hexane, n-methyl-pyrrolidone, toluene

Household, office furniture, and furnishings (Bedding, Fabric/Textile Furnishings, Household/Office Seating)

  • Chlorinated and brominated organic compounds, organophosphates
  • Perfluorinated Compounds

Cleaning products (Fresheners/Deodorizers, Cleaners, Laundry, Surface Care)

  • Alkyl phenol and ethoxylates
  • Hydrogen Fluoride
  • Phthalates
  • Triclosan
  • Volatile Organic Compounds, such as n-hexane, methyl ethyl ketone, n-methyl-pyrrolidone, toluene, and xylene

Clothing (Full Body Wear, Lower Body Wear/Bottoms, Sleepwear, Sportswear, Underwear, Upper Body Wear/Tops)

  • Alkyl phenol & ethoxylates
  • Aromatic amines and azo dyes
  • Chlorinated paraffins, halogenated compounds, and organophosphates
  • Perfluorinated Compounds, formaldehyde
  • Phthalates
  • Triclosan

Fishing and angling equipment

  • Metals

Office machinery (Inks and Toners, Specialty Paper)

  • Azo dyes
  • Bisphenols
  • Phthalates
  • Volatile Organic Compounds, such as benzaldehyde, hexanol, toluene, and xylene

In the Work Plan, DTSC emphasizes that its identification of specific example candidate chemicals does not mean that DTSC may not consider other chemicals for prioritization in a product-chemical combination.

As a next step, DTSC intends to engage with various stakeholders, including manufacturers, retailers, consumers, scientists, and environmentalists, to finalize the Work Plan and select Priority Products from the seven product categories. Once the Priority Products are selected, the Products must be adopted into the SCP regulations, at which point consumer product companies will be required to identify safer product designs or alternative formulations for the chemicals in the Priority Products.

As noted in our prior post, DTSC is already moving forward on three Product/Chemical combinations:

  1. Paint and varnish strippers, and surface cleaners containing methylene chloride;
  2. Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) systems containing unreacted diisocyanates; and
  3. Children's foam-padded sleeping products containing TDCPP (tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate).

DTSC will be hosting workshops for the public to discuss the draft Work Plan on September 25 and 29th. Throughout this process, it will be important that DTSC have access to relevant data and information. Consumer product companies should monitor this process closely and take advantage of available opportunities to provide input to the agency.

Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances—taking into consideration the entire life cycle of a chemical in a consumer product, including its design, manufacture, use, and ultimate disposal. (See generally EPA Green Chemistry webpage.) In California, the Green Chemistry Initiative is a six-part state initiative intended to identify and evaluate "safer alternatives" that can serve as replacements for chemical substances that present greater risks to human health and/or the environment.

© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2014 All Rights Reserved. This blog post is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.


Brian K. Condon
Brian K. Condon
Senior Counsel
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