What is the Candidate Chemicals list?
The Safer Consumer Products regulations require DTSC to post an informational list of Candidate Chemicals on its Web site within 30 days after the effective date of the regulations (October 1, 2013); and to update the list periodically. (Cal. Code Regs, tit. 22, § 69502.3, subd. (a)). The regulations define a Candidate Chemical as a chemical that exhibits a “hazard trait and/or an environmental or toxicological endpoint” and is either: (a) found on one or more of the authoritative lists specified in section 69502.2(a) of the regulations (hereinafter, “authoritative lists”); or (b) listed by DTSC using the criteria specified in section 69502.2(b). In addition to its name and Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CAS RN), the informational Candidate Chemicals list specifies the basis for each chemical’s listing (i.e., authoritative list name). The purpose of this informational list is to inform stakeholders about chemicals that may be named as Chemicals of Concern if they are identified as part of a product-chemical combination that is listed as a Priority Product.
Exclusions from the Informational List
Some of the authoritative lists identified in section 69502.2(a) of the regulations include entries that are not chemicals (e.g., physical attributes that impair water bodies). Some authoritative lists also include chemicals that are most commonly used as pesticides and prescription drugs, both of which are statutorily excluded from the definition of “consumer product” and are outside the scope of the Safer Consumer Products regulatory program. DTSC has omitted non-chemicals, chemicals that are prescription drugs, and pesticides from the informational list of Candidate Chemicals. However, for informational purposes, the latter two categories are included in the searchable Candidate Chemicals Database, as these chemicals could become Candidate Chemicals at a future date if they are used in products other than prescription drugs or pesticides.
In some cases, groupings of Candidate Chemicals appear on the informational list. Some of these groups have been taken directly from an authoritative list (e.g., “Gas oils” are listed by Environment Canada on the PBiT List). Others are composed of chemicals that appear individually on authoritative lists that DTSC has placed into a well-recognized family of similar chemicals that also appear on one or more authoritative lists (e.g., PCBs, dioxins, and furans).
Informational Initial Candidate Chemicals List
Subsection (c) of section 69503.6 of the Safer Consumer Products regulations requires DTSC to make an “initial proposed Priority Products list” available for public review and comment within 180 days of the effective date of the regulations. The effective date of the regulations is October 1, 2013. Accordingly, the due date for the initial proposed Priority Products list is April 1, 2014. Pursuant to subsection (a) of section 69503.6, DTSC may include a product on this list “... only if one or more Candidate Chemicals that is/are the basis for listing the product ...” 1) appears on one or more of the hazard trait lists identified in subsection (a)(1) of section 69502.2 and 2) appears on one or more of the exposure potential lists identified in subsection (a)(2) of section 69502.2. DTSC has prepared a version of the informational list (the Informational "Initial" Candidate Chemicals List) that includes only the subset of Candidate Chemicals that meet these two criteria.
What Does this List Mean to Me?
There is a wide variety of chemicals on the informational Candidate Chemicals List, not all of which are found in consumer products. This informational list is NOT a list of Chemicals of Concern—a chemical only becomes a Chemical of Concern when it is the basis for a product being listed as a Priority Product pursuant to section 69503.5. Nevertheless, manufacturers of consumer products may wish to review this list to identify chemicals to evaluate whether viable safer alternatives to these Candidate Chemicals are available; they may also find it helpful to avoid “regrettable substitutions” of one Candidate Chemical for another. However, such actions are strictly voluntary when a Candidate Chemical has not yet been identified as a Chemical of Concern paired with a Priority Product. The informational list will also be of interest to consumers who wish to become more informed about the chemicals that may be present in the products they purchase.
How was the Candidate Chemicals List developed?
As of the effective date of the regulations (October 1, 2013), chemicals that exhibit a hazard trait and/or environmental or toxicological endpoint and that are listed on one or more of the lists identified in section 69502.2(a) are Candidate Chemicals. These are the chemicals that are identified on the informational Candidate Chemicals list.*
* In the event there is a discrepancy between the criteria in section 69502.2 and the informational Candidate Chemicals list, the regulation controls.
How will the Candidate Chemicals list change over time?
In most cases, when a chemical is added to (or removed from) an authoritative list, it becomes (or ceases to be) a Candidate Chemical. DTSC will update the informational list periodically to reflect such changes.
Two of the source lists cited in subsection (a) of section 69502.2 of the regulations—the 12th Report on Carcinogens, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals and Updated Tables—refer to specific versions of published reports and as a result, new chemicals identified in later versions of these documents will become Candidate Chemicals only if/when DTSC amends section 69502.2 to cite the newer document.
DTSC may also add or remove individual chemicals or chemical source lists to/from the Candidate Chemicals list pursuant to section 69502.3 by adopting new regulations. New regulations could either revise the authoritative sources lists specified in section 69502.2(a), or add or remove individual chemicals based on the criteria in section 69502.2(b). In cases where Candidate Chemicals are added or removed through adoption of regulations, DTSC will update the informational list only after the regulations take effect.
Anyone wishing DTSC to revise the Candidate Chemicals list may submit a petition to DTSC. DTSC will review petitions for completeness and technical merit using the criteria specified in articles 2 and 4 of the Safer Consumer Products regulations, and will post any proposed revisions to the Candidate Chemicals list on the DTSC Web page for public review and comment before adopting regulations to enact them. Note that the Safer Consumer Products regulations do not allow petitions to remove an entire chemicals list until three years after the effective date of the Safer Consumer Products regulations (i.e., October 1, 2016).
What is a hazard trait?
A “hazard trait” is an intrinsic property of a chemical that may contribute to adverse effects in humans, animals, or in ecological communities (see definition in section 69501.1(a)(36) of the regulations, which references the definition in Chapter 54 of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations).
The hazard traits that determine whether a chemical (that meets the criteria in section 69502.2 (a) or (b) of the regulations) is a Candidate Chemical are the hazard traits listed in the regulations adopted by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). Background information on these hazard traits and their associated endpoints is available on OEHHAs Green Chemistry Web page.