California may add BPA to Prop. 65 list.

On Friday, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in common consumer products like food packaging and paper receipts, will be considered for possible listing under the state’s Proposition 65 program, which requires businesses to provide warnings for exposures to listed chemicals. The Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC), an advisory panel that helps OEHHA compile the list of chemicals known to cause reproductive toxicity, will meet on May 7, 2015 to “consider whether BPA has been clearly shown by scientifically valid testing according to generally accepted principles to cause female reproductive toxicity.”

In April 2013, BPA was added to the Prop. 65 list as a reproductive toxicant for development endpoints via the Prop. 65 “authoritative bodies” mechanism, based on the National Toxicology Project’s findings that BPA caused reproductive toxicity at high doses. However, California delisted BPA the next week, in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Chemistry Council, and simultaneously withdrew that attempt to list the chemical.

DARTIC will now be revisiting BPA per a 2009 request from the committee to reconsider the chemical “if additional epidemiological or other specific types of data on reproductive and developmental toxicity became available.” Substantial relevant data has become available since 2009, including a significant 2014 review of studies published from 2007-2013 concluding that BPA is a reproductive toxicant.

OEHHA has compiled hazard identification materials on BPA and female reproductive toxicity for the consideration of both DARTIC and the public. The agency is accepting comments on the hazard identification materials through April 6, 2015. These comments will be forwarded to DARTIC members before the May 7 meeting, and also posted online. Instructions for submitting comments are in the meeting notice.

The May 7 meeting will begin at 10:00am in the Coastal Hearing Room of the Cal/EPA Headquarters building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, and will also be webcast. If DARTIC require more time for deliberations, the meeting will be continued on May 21 at the same location.

California extends comments period on Safer Consumer Products draft Work Plan.

Yesterday, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) made a series of announcements related to the Safer Consumer Products program. DTSC is extending the comments period for the Safer Consumer Products draft Priority Products Work Plan, and will now accept comments on the draft Plan until October 21.

DTSC also announced that its Candidate Chemicals database and downloadable list have been updated. The update reflects changes made in authoritative lists, such as the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) carcinogens monographs.

In addition, DTSC invites the public to attend the next meeting of the Green Ribbon Science Panel. The Panel will convene on October 20-21 in Sacramento to “discuss and advise DTSC on evaluating Product Categories identified” in the draft Work Plan as well as alternative analysis topics. DTSC has posted the meeting’s agenda [PDF] and supporting documents including discussion topics for the draft Plan [PDF] and an Alternatives Analysis Guidance Document Synopsis [PDF].

CA, MD, and NY enact laws against flame retardant chemicals; federal legislation proposed.

California, Maryland, and New York are the latest states with new laws regulating flame retardant chemicals in products.

On September 30, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill requiring manufacturers to disclose on labels whether furniture contains flame retardant chemicals. The requirement goes into effect on January 1, 2015.

Maryland’s HB 229, which bans child care products containing flame retardant chemicals, went into effect on October 1. Products intended for children under the age of three, like crib mattresses, car seats, and toys containing more than 0.01% by mass of tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCPP) or tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (TCEP), may no longer be imported, sold, or offered for sale in Maryland.

In September, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law that would also ban TDCPP-containing child care products.

Meanwhile on the federal level, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced a bill in the Senate that would ban the sale, manufacture, distribution, and import of children’s products and upholstered furniture containing the ten “most noxious” flame retardant chemicals, including TDCPP and TCEP. The legislation also directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to study the health effects of other flame retardants and then extend the ban to any chemicals identified via this review that may cause substantial personal injury or illness.

CA's Safer Consumer Products Draft Work Plan: Clothing, cosmetics, and cleaning products all under consideration.

Today, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released its draft Safer Consumer Products Priority Products Work Plan [PDF], identifying the following seven product categories to be evaluated under the program over the next three years:

  • Beauty, Personal Care, and Hygiene Products – including soaps, deodorants, lotions, cosmetics, and nail care products);
  • Building Products and Household, Office Furniture and Furnishingslimited to paints, adhesives, sealants, and flooring; and furniture/furnishings treated with flame retardants and/or stain resistant chemicals;
  • Cleaning Products – including air fresheners, floor cleaners, detergents, and window cleaners;
  • Clothing – including “fiber and textile materials worn on the body with the primary function of covering the body and/or providing protection against the elements”;
  • Fishing and Angling Equipment – such as fishing weights and gear; and
  • Office Machinery (Consumable Products) – such as printer inks, specialty paper, and toner cartridges.

Potential candidate chemicals across all the categories include many familiar chemicals that have come under various levels of regulatory scrutiny in recent years, including: phthalates and triclosan in beauty/personal care and cleaning products and clothing; brominated or chlorinated organic compounds and organophosphates, perfluorinated compounds, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in building products; and bisphenols and VOCs in consumable products for office machinery.

The draft Work Plan also explains the processes used to select the listed product categories, which employed seven different screening approaches – Hazard Trait and Endpoint; Route of Exposure; Chemical Prioritization; Evidence of Exposure; Sensitive Subpopulation, Functional Use; and Existing Research/Nomination Process. Based on information generated from the screening approaches, DTSC prioritized product categories with certain attributes, such as categories with chemicals observed in biomonitoring or indoor air quality studies, or categories that include product-chemical combinations that impact sensitive subpopulations. DTSC explains that the draft Plan is intended “to provide a level of predictability” to manufacturers, consumers, and other stakeholders.

Also today, DTSC announced the dates for the rescheduled public workshops to discuss the draft Work Plan. The first workshop will be held on September 25 at the Cal/EPA Headquarters in Sacramento; the second will be on September 29 at the DTSC Cypress Regional Office in Cypress. More details on the workshops, including agendas, are available here.

Comments from the public are being accepted on the draft Plan through October 13.


CA Safer Consumer Products draft Work Plan postponed.

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced earlier this month that it has rescheduled two workshops to discuss the draft Priority Products Work Plan under the state’s Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program.  The Work Plan workshops, originally scheduled for August, have been postponed until September, although specific dates have not yet been announced. According to DTSC’s email announcement, the workshops will provide “an overview of the Work Plan and will explain the process by which future Priority Products will be chosen from the product categories.” DTSC also stressed that the Work Plan would not apply requirements on any regulated entities but instead “is only intended to provide signals to the marketplace regarding the scope of product categories that will be under evaluation over the next three years.”

Chemical Watch reports that the agency is using the extra time to “refine” the categories of products and substances to be prioritized for review, including “incorporating corporate feedback to fill data gaps.” This effort may be to avoid the controversy and criticism DTSC received after choosing spray polyurethane foam containing unreacted diisocyanates as one of the first products to be regulated under the SCP program.

CA's Green Ribbon Science Panel to discuss approaches to product category identification under Safer Consumer Products program.

California’s Green Ribbon Science Panel invites members of the public to join its webinar and conference call on June 25, at 9 a.m., to discuss how the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) should identify product categories in its forthcoming 3-Year Priority Product Work Plan for the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program. As we have previously discussed, DTSC has said a public workshop will be held on the Work Plan this summer; the Plan is expected to be finalized by October 1, 2014.

In preparation for the June 25 webinar, DTSC has posted online a background memo [PDF] discussing various approaches for product category identification and posing questions to the Panel soliciting recommendations. The approaches identified in the memo are:

  • Hazard Trait and Endpoint Screening
  • Route of Exposure
  • Chemical Prioritization
  • Evidence of Exposure
  • Sensitive Subpopulation Prioritization
  • Nomination Process

According to the agenda [PDF], the webinar will also include an update from DTSC staff on the SCP program and the status of the Work Plan. In addition, staff will accept comments from the public on agenda items. Specifics on how to participate in the webinar are available here.

Priority Products workshop: California's Safer Consumer Products program continues to develop.

Yesterday, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) held the second of three public workshops on its initial Priority Products in Oakland. These workshops are being held to elicit feedback from stakeholders before the start of the formal rulemaking process, which is anticipated to begin in late June.

In his introductory presentation, DTSC Branch Chief of the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program Karl Palmer explained that only three (instead of the possible five) Priority Products were initially chosen because the agency wanted to be deliberate, slow, accurate, and effective in rolling out the new SCP program. Palmer also noted that the agency was developing a new data system that may be available as soon as August, which would manage confidential business information (CBI) in submissions to the agency as well as rulemaking processes.

Agency staff explained various refinements that have been made since the first public workshop, focusing on revisions to the Priority Product profiles. Responding to industry comments, the profiles now contain a second-page “disclaimer” explaining that the profiles are non-regulatory documents showing a “snapshot in time” of the agency’s thinking, and are not meant to assert that certain products cannot be used safely, or to endorse alternatives. At the workshop, various commenters from the chemical industry continued to push back that the profile for Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Systems contained inaccurate information and should require a more explicit disclaimer.

In addition to the profiles, product definitions have been revised on the program’s draft regulatory concepts [PDF]. Agency staff noted that, as shown in this document with strikeouts, the SPF definition was narrowed to focus only on applying unreacted diisocyanates to produce rigid foam. The regulatory concepts draft also updates the definition of paint strippers containing methylene chloride from the one contained in the Priority Product profile, now removing reference to surface cleaners, which are already barred from containing methylene chloride under the California Air Resources Board (CARB) General Consumer Products Regulation.

A general theme repeated throughout the workshop was that DTSC was eager to accept information from stakeholders, especially quantitative data on the products’ markets and supply chains, and the availability or viability of alternative products.

The third public workshop will take place on June 4 in Los Angeles. More information, including how to register to attend or file comments, is available on the Safer Consumer Products Workshops page. That page also links to various new documents, including presentations from the workshops. DTSC continues to accept comments on the Priority Products before rulemaking begins, through June 30.

Looking ahead, DTSC will release a three-year Work Plan and hold a public workshop on it in the late summer. The Work Plan, which should be finalized by October 1, 2014, will identify product categories the agency plans to consider next. Draft guidance on alternatives assessments, including input from the Green Ribbon Science Panel, is expected by the end of the year.


DTSC announces Priority Products workshops and releases Draft Regulatory Concepts.

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has announced a series of Priority Product workshops intended to engage members of the public before official rulemaking for the initial Priority Products begins. Along with the announcement, DTSC released a document on “Priority Products Draft Regulatory Concepts and Topics for Stakeholder Input,” [PDF] to elicit input from the public during the workshops. The forthcoming Priority Products rules will be a significant step in implementing DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products Program.

The Draft Regulatory Concepts document contains several questions for stakeholder input, on the following topics:

  • Priority Product description (e.g., Are the definitions and terms clear and unambiguous as to which related products are included and excluded?);
  • Chemicals of Concern and alternatives (e.g., Are there other Candidate Chemicals in this product that you suggest be considered?); and
  • Market information (e.g., What is the market presence of the Priority Product?).

The document also describes the Priority Products, similar products that are excluded, and the chemicals of concern. Notably, the agency now includes bedside sleepers and co-sleepers as new examples of children’s foam padded sleeping products, explaining that these products were not included in the “Priority Product Profile” but were “later found to meet DTSC’s intent for this Priority Product.”

Three workshops have been announced, to take place in May through early June, in Sacramento, Oakland, and Los Angeles. The agenda for the first meeting, in Sacramento on May 7, is available here [PDF]. DTSC will accept written comments from the public submitted by June 30, 2014, so that the agency can consider them before releasing the proposed rulemaking package.

DTSC announces draft Priority Products under Safer Consumer Products program.

This morning, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) revealed its highly anticipated draft list [PDF] of Priority Products, a key step in rolling out agency’s new Safer Consumer Products (SCP) regulations.

As expected, the draft list is composed of three products. The products are:

  • Children’s foam padded sleep products containing TDCPP (chlorinated TRIS);
  • Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) systems containing unreacted diisocyanates; and
  • Paint and varnish strippers and surface cleaners containing methylene chloride.

The agency chose these products because they are widely used and contain at least one Candidate Chemical that has the potential to cause serious harm to human health or the environment. According to DTSC, all three of the products are known to cause serious health effects in humans, including cancer, severe asthma, and neurotoxicity. People who are at risk from these products include children and daycare workers in the case of foam sleeping products, and independent contractors, workers, and Do-It-Yourselfers in the case of SPF systems and paint strippers. Alternatives in the marketplace exist for children’s sleeping products and paint/varnish strippers and surface cleaners; however, DTSC officials said they were not aware of any spray-application alternatives for SPFs, which will present “a challenge for manufacturers.”

DTSC’s action today does not ban the products; rather, it starts an extended process that will include formal rulemaking procedures for the finalization of the Priority Products list, which may take up to a year. Next steps include DTSC’s quarterly public meeting on March 17; public workshops on the selection of the draft Priority Products, expected to be held in May and June; and a Work Plan to be released in October. After the final Priority Products list is finalized, manufacturers and sellers of Priority Products must notify DTSC that they are a “responsible entity,” and then submit a preliminary Alternatives Analysis (AA) report for state approval. A final AA report must be submitted a year later, after which DTSC will determine its regulatory response, which may range from requiring further research to imposing an outright ban on sales in California.

Moreover, DTSC intends that the SCP program will spur manufacturers and retailers to proactively reformulate products containing Candidate Chemicals. DTSC director Debbie Raphael emphasized that the measure of the success of the program would be the ability and willingness of product manufacturers to answer the question, “Is it necessary to use this chemical?” before the agency names a particular chemical-product combination.

For more information, see DTSC’s FAQ on the draft Priority Products [PDF] and press release [PDF].

New warning requirements proposed for California's Prop. 65.

This week, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced its proposal to amend Proposition 65 warnings. OEHHA’s proposal is aimed at improving the quality of Prop. 65 warnings, and is part of the suite of Prop. 65 reforms advocated by Governor Jerry Brown.

A pre-regulatory public workshop on the same topic was held in July; the new proposal provides more detail and incorporates changes and feedback from comments received in response to the agency’s initial pre-regulatory proposal. OEHHA has prepared a Draft Pre-Regulatory Initial Statement of Reasons for the Warning Regulation [PDF] and Draft Pre-regulatory Warning Regulation [PDF], as well as a side-by-side comparison [PDF] between the draft regulatory language and current regulations.

Generally, the proposal establishes certain standards for what warning language counts as “clear and reasonable.” The draft regulations would require the word “WARNING” to appear in all capital letters and bold print, and specifies use of the word “expose” in the following warning language. Notably, the new proposal requires the use of a standard pictogram for toxic hazards from the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), except for on food products, drugs, and medical devices. A new OEHHA website would provide the public with more detailed information on warnings, including exposure pathways and methods of reducing exposure. The proposal also specifies the following twelve common substances (already listed under Prop. 65) that must be identified by name in the warning:

  • Acrylamide
  • Arsenic
  • Benzene
  • Cadmium
  • Chlorinated Tris
  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Phthalates
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Toluene

In addition, the proposal recognizes court-approved warning language and provides for “tailored” warning language for certain scenarios, such as dental care, apartment buildings and hotels, parking facilities, and amusement parks. OEHHA also proposes a new “Opportunity to Cure” provision for small retailers to fix certain minor violations within 14 days and avoid private enforcement actions, with the goal of avoiding frivolous litigation.

OEHHA will hold a public workshop to discuss the proposal on April 14 and will accept comments through May 14, 2014. After the workshop and comment period, OEHHA plans to propose the formal regulation in early summer 2014, with the expectation that final regulations could be adopted in the summer of 2015.