Last week, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released its final 2015-17 Priority Product Work Plan outlining the agency’s policy priorities and product categories to be evaluated over the next three years. The Work Plan implements the Safer Consumer Products program, the part of California’s Green Chemistry Initiative that serves to “accelerate the quest for safer products.” In its final form, the Work Plan retains the same seven product categories as were included in the draft Work Plan released in September, although DTSC made changes like adding example products and clarifying or modifying the scope of certain categories.
Selected changes from the draft to final versions of the Work Plan include:
- Beauty, Personal Care, and Hygiene Products – Sunscreen added as an example in this category.
- Building Products – Carpet padding added as an example in this category, and nomenclature-related changes (“engineered wood,” “plywood subfloors,” and “compressed wood flooring products,” are now “Engineered Wood and Laminate Flooring” and “Plywood and OSB Subflooring.” The Work Plan’s list of changes from the Draft Work Plan also includes “insulation” and “wall coverings with flame retardants” as examples included in this category, although they are not actually discussed in the category’s narrative description or table of example products.
- Household, Office Furniture and Furnishings – Curtains added as an example in this category. DTSC also adds that this category constitutes a subset of the Global Product Classification (GPC) standard segment “Household/Office Furniture/Furnishings,” which is divided into three families: “Fabric/Textile Furnishings,” “Household/Office Furniture,” and “Ornamental Furnishings.”
- Cleaning Products – Surface cleaners and wax removers added as examples in this category.
- Clothing – DTSC now states that it “will exclude consideration of protective wear intended exclusively for occupational safety.” In addition, chlorinated paraffins, halogenated compounds, and organophosphates – all flame retardants – were removed from the table of potential candidate chemicals in clothing products.
- Fishing and Angling Equipment – DTSC has clarified the scope of this category, specifying that the agency is “most concerned about fishing weights and gear that might be consumed by water fowl due to characteristics of size, shape and density,” and thus will not consider large weights used in off-shore salmon fishing.
- Office Machinery (Consumable Products) – The product example “Specialty paper” is narrowed down to thermal paper, while “Printer inks” is now ink cartridges.
DTSC stresses that the Work Plan is only “the first step in identifying the next set of Priority Products.” The Work Plan does not identify specific Priority Products or Chemicals of Concern, nor does it establish any new compliance requirements. Rather, the Work Plan is intended to help DTSC “move from these broad [product] categories to specific product-chemical combinations that warrant consideration as potential Priority Products.” Moreover, the Plan is meant to provide “a level of predictability to potential manufacturers, importers, retailers, and other stakeholders.”
According to the Work Plan, the number of Priority Products to be identified in 2015 “will likely be as many as three,” the same number as was announced in 2014. DTSC anticipates ramping up to more than five products in 2016 and 2017.
The Work Plan covers January 2015 through December 2017, and will be updated in 2017 with the next Work Plan, covering 2018 through 2010. However, DTSC could be required to revise this Work Plan before its expiration in the case of two scenarios: if instructed to take action on a particular chemical, product, or product-chemical combination by legislative mandate or executive order; or if the agency grants a petition to add a product-chemical combination to the Priority Products list.
DTSC encourages stakeholders to stay engaged with the Safer Consumer Products program through its “newly enhanced information management system,” CalSAFER. The system facilitates reading or writing comments on proposed regulations, filing petitions, and submitting other documents to DTSC.