On March 13, 2014, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control announced the long-anticipated proposed list of Initial Priority Products under the California Safer Consumer Products regulation, more commonly referred to as California Green Chemistry. The proposed list includes the following three product categories and their chemical combinations:
- Children’s foam padded sleeping products containing the flame retardant TDCPP, also known as chlorinated tris. DTSC explained that this category includes nap mats with polyurethane foam, juvenile product pads in soft-sided portable cribs, infant travel bed foam, portable infant sleeper foam, playard, playpen, and bassinet foam, nap cots with foam pads, car bed foam pads, and foam sleep positioners. DTSC explained that TDCPP is a known carcinogen and reproductive toxin. DTSC noted that polyester fiberfill, cotton, and wool are known flammability alternatives.
- Paint and varnish strippers, and surface cleaners with methylene chloride. These products, used to remove old paint or other finishes, use methylene chloride as a solvent. DTSC explained that methylene chloride can be carcinogenic or cause other organ damage when inhaled, and can cause irritation when in contact with skin. DTSC noted that a number of alternatives exist, including paint strippers with benzyl alcohol or sanding.
- Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) systems containing unreacted diisocyanates. SPFs are used for home and building insulation, weatherization, sealing, and roofing. SPFs are designed to be sprayed directly onto walls, floors, and roofs. DTSC explained that diisocyanates are linked to asthma, lung damage, and other respiratory problems. DTSC noted that a number of alternatives exist, including insulation made of recycled paper, natural or plastic fibers, phenolic foam, rock and slag wool, and fiberglass.
DTSC stated that it based its selections on the potential for these product-chemical combinations to cause human or environmental exposures, have widespread adverse impacts, and impact sensitive populations.
DTSC will now conduct three public workshops in May and June 2014 to engage with “Responsible Entities” (manufacturers, importers, assemblers, or retailers) and other stakeholders on the selections. Once DTSC is satisfied that it has made appropriate selections, it will begin the rulemaking process, which could take as much as a year. After DTSC finalizes the list of Priority Product-chemical combinations and completes the rulemaking process, Responsible Entities selling these products in California will have 60 days to notify DTSC of their impacted products and begin the assessment process. Responsible Entities may either cease new distribution of the product in California, remove the chemical at issue, or begin an alternatives analysis. We have outlined the process in detail in our white paper.