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].