California’s New Revisions to Proposed Safer Consumer Products Regulations Released.

Last week, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”) released the revised proposed regulations implementing the Safer Consumer Products law. The 15-day public comment period for the revised proposed regulations is open through April 25, 2013. The revised text, as well as an underline/strike-out version showing changes from the January 2013 version, is available online.

Notably, the revisions contain several changes affecting Alternatives Analysis. The definition of “Alternatives Analysis Threshold” now means the Practical Quantitation Limit or another applicable concentration limit which DTSC may specify. Under the new provision at §69503.5(c), DTSC may set a threshold concentration in a proposed or final Priority Products list for any Chemical of Concern that is an “intentionally added ingredient.” Under this provision, DTSC may also specify a threshold concentration higher than the Practical Quantitation Limit for any Chemical of Concern that is a contaminant. In addition, the revised regulations move the requirement for identifying factors relevant to comparing a Priority Product and alternatives (such as adverse public health impacts or physical chemical hazards) from the second to the first step of the Alternatives Analysis process. The new § 69505.8 provides that Final Alternatives Analysis Reports will now be subject to a public comment period, instead of the Preliminary Alternatives Analysis Report. The responsible entity will not be required to respond to all public comments, but instead will only have to address issues identified by DTSC upon review of the comments in an “AA Report Addendum.”

The revised proposed regulations change the definitions of several other key terms. The definition of “assemble” was revised to clearly specify repair and maintenance activities, and “manufacturer” now means anyone who “specifies the use of chemicals to be included in the product,” rather than anyone who has the capacity to do so. “Reliable information” has been re-defined to include only information that could be considered “scientific.” The definition also now specifies that the information must meet certain criteria – such as publication in a scientifically peer reviewed report or by a government agency “that implements laws governing chemicals” – which under the previous version were only considered as indicators of a study’s trustworthiness.

In addition, the revisions removed the provision requiring manufacturers to compensate retailers participating in any end-of-life collection program. In its summary of changes [PDF], DTSC states that these costs will instead be addressed by agreements between manufacturers and retailers.

For more information about California’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations, contact Verdant Law.