California's DTSC Releases Draft Green Chemistry Regulation

California's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has released the Draft Regulation for Safer Consumer Products, which will implement a key component of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2008 Green Chemistry Initiative. The regulation creates a systematic, science-based process to evaluate chemicals of concern in products.

"Study after study has shown that many consumer products are not safe, resulting with more and more being recalled," said DTSC Acting Director Maziar Movassaghi. "This draft regulation is the first of its kind in the nation, and it essentially shifts the way government, industry and the public think about the products that end up in our homes."

Movassaghi cited the recently released report from the President's Cancer Panel, which made "green chemistry" approaches a priority recommendation. The report concluded that "safer alternatives" for many currently used chemicals [are] urgently needed." He also cited the recently released report from Environment California "Green Chemistry at Work" which recognizes 11 California companies that are already leading the green chemistry revolution as a part of their existing business model.

Released following 16 months of intense dialogue with stakeholders, the draft regulation would prioritize toxic chemicals and products, require manufacturers to seek safer alternatives to toxic chemicals in their products, and create tough governmental responses for lack of compliance.

Specifically, DTSC would create a list of chemicals that are toxic and can harm people or the environment. Products containing those chemicals would be prioritized based upon such factors as the volume in commerce, the extent of public exposure and how the product is eventually disposed. Manufacturers of those products would perform an "alternatives assessment" to determine if a viable safer alternative is available.

"I'm confident companies will step up to the plate and create new markets for green products," Movassaghi said. "We're already seeing the demand, and innovative industry leaders are responding to that demand more and more. California is a cradle for innovation, and these companies are clearly leading the way. We are on the threshold of achieving what no other state or country has achieved."

DTSC, in its continued commitment to transparency and public involvement, will hold two half-day public workshops on the draft regulation on July 7 and 8. Over the past year, as part of the regulatory development process, DTSC has held numerous public meetings, workshops and worked with all stakeholders to develop the draft regulation. Following the July workshops, DTSC intends to begin the formal Administrative Procedures Act (APA) rulemaking process which it plans on completing by the end of this calendar year.

Written comments on the draft are due by July 15 and should be sent to: or mailed to: Heather Jones, Office of Legislation & Regulatory Policy, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

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