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Contact Information:

Department of Toxic Substances Control
Safer Products and Workplaces Program
P.O. Box 806
Sacramento, CA 95812-0806
SaferConsumerProducts@dtsc.ca.gov
 

 

Safer Consumer Products Program Overview

What is the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) Program?

The Department of Toxic Substances Control's (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products regulations take effect October 1, 2013 and will be phased in over the next several years to coordinate with the timing of the various regulatory requirements.

The goals of this program are to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products, create new business opportunities in the emerging safer consumer products economy, and reduce the burden on consumers and businesses struggling to identify what’s in the products they buy for their families and customers.

To accomplish these goals, the SCP Program will rely on reports submitted by responsible entities, such as the manufacturer, to inform and increase the use of safer chemicals in products, homes, schools, and workplaces, which produce significant environmental and economic benefits.

By shifting the question of an ingredient’s toxicity to the product development stage, concerns can be addressed early on. The approach results in safer ingredients and designs, and provides an opportunity for California industry to once again demonstrate its innovative spirit by making products that meet consumer demand throughout the world.

What are the Safer Consumer Products Regulations?

The California legislature passed the Green Chemistry Law in 2008 which authorizes and requires DTSC to adopt regulations to establish a process to identify and prioritize chemicals in consumer products and to establish a process for evaluating chemicals of concern in consumer products and their potential alternatives.

Summary of the Proposed Safer Consumer Products Regulations

The regulations provide for a four-step continuous, science-based, iterative process to identify safer consumer product alternatives:

  • Chemicals – The regulations establish an immediate list of Candidate Chemicals (~1,200) based on the work already done by other authoritative organizations, and specify a process for DTSC to identify additional chemicals as Candidate Chemicals (CCs).
  • Products – The regulations require DTSC to evaluate and prioritize product/Candidate Chemical combinations to develop a list of “Priority Products” for which Alternatives Analyses must be conducted. A Candidate Chemical that is the basis for a product being listed as a Priority Product is designated as a Chemical of Concern (COC) for that product and any alternative considered or selected to replace that product.
  • Alternatives Analysis The regulations require responsible entities (manufacturers, importers, assemblers, and retailers) to notify DTSC when their product is listed as a Priority Product. DTSC will post this information on its web site. Manufacturers (or other responsible entities) of a product listed as a Priority Product must perform an Alternatives Analysis (AA) for the product and the COCs in the product to determine how best to limit exposures to, or the level of adverse public health and environmental impacts posed by, the COCs in the product.
  • Regulatory Responses The regulations require DTSC to identify and require implementation of regulatory responses designed to protect public health and/or the environment, and maximize the use of acceptable and feasible alternatives of least concern. DTSC may require regulatory responses for a Priority Product (if the manufacturer decides to retain the Priority Product), or for an alternative product selected to replace the Priority Product.

What are the goals of the Safer Consumer Products Regulations and Program?

DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations aim to create safer substitutes for hazardous ingredients in consumer products sold in California. The regulations emphasize safer products and healthier lives by reducing and eliminating use of toxic chemicals.

What is the timeframe for implementation of the Safer Consumer Products Program?

Timeframe for Implementation Milestones

  1. Initial Candidate Chemical list → Effective date of the regulations
  2. First “Proposed” Priority Products list → 180 days after the regulations effective date
  3. First Priority Products list finalized → Requires rulemaking (may take up to one year)
  4. Priority Product Notification → 60 days after listing on final Priority Products list
  5. Preliminary AA Report → due to DTSC 180 days after listing on final Priority Products list
  6. Final AA Report → due to DTSC 1 year after the notice of compliance for the Preliminary AA Report
  7. Regulatory Response Implementation → To be specified by DTSC in the regulatory response determination

How are the Safer Consumer Products Regulations related to the Green Chemistry Law?

In 2008, Assembly Bill 1879 (Chapter 559, Feuer) and Senate Bill 509 (Chapter 560, Simitian), were signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger to implement two key recommendations of the California Green Chemistry Initiative Final Report: acceleration of the quest for safer products, and creation of an online toxics clearinghouse. These two legislative bills comprise the Green Chemistry Law. Assembly Bill 1879 mandated the Safer Consumer Products Regulations and authorized the implementation of the Safer Consumer Products Program. Senate Bill 509 mandated the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to specify hazard traits, environmental and toxicological endpoints and other relevant data to be included in the Toxics Information Clearinghouse.

The regulations and the authorizing statutes (Health and Safety Code sections 25252 and 25253), are intended to implement recommendation #5 of the California Green Chemistry Initiative Final Report—Accelerate the Quest for Safer Products, and, thus, create a systematic, science-based process to evaluate chemicals of concern, and identify safer alternatives to ensure product safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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Q. Why do we need the new regulations?
A.

The California legislature passed Assembly Bill 1879 in 2008 which required adoption of regulations to establish a process to identify and prioritize chemicals in consumer products that have the potential to have adverse impacts to public health and environment, and to establish a process for evaluating potential safer alternatives.

In the past, toxics in products were dealt with on a case-by-case basis when found to have harmed consumers or our environment. This historic approach was not preventative or protective. After relying on “single product bans” for so many years, California’s new regulations start a movement to systematically evaluate alternative ingredients by requiring that manufacturers to ask: “is this ingredient necessary, and is there a safer alternative?”

Q. What are the key elements of the Safer Consumer Products regulations?
A.

The regulations provide for a four-step science-based, iterative process to identify safer consumer product alternatives.

  1. DTSC will establish a list of Candidate Chemicals based on work done by authoritative organizations because of their hazard traits or history of exposure. This list is posted on our Chemical Lists web pages.
  2. It starts out small. For the first listing, DTSC will identify no more than five consumer products that contain one or more Candidate Chemicals that have both a hazard trait and a history of exposure. The regulations require this proposed list of priority products be published before April 1, 2014.
  3. Responsible entities will have to identify and evaluate alternatives that reduce adverse impacts of the product with chemical of concern. It requires manufacturers to ask, “Is this ingredient necessary? Is there a safer alternative? Is that alternative feasible? This assessment will be required only after the Priority Products are adopted in regulations.
  4. After a responsible entity’s alternatives analysis, DTSC may impose regulatory responses for the protection of public health and environment.

Q. What is upcoming?
A.

October 1, 2013, regulations take effect; 

April 1, 2014, deadline for proposing Priority Products list that will be subject to the regulations. 

Oct. 1, 2014, deadline for DTSC to issue Priority Products work plan which identifies product categories that DTSC will evaluate to identify product-chemical combinations over next three years.

2015, before the Priority Product list gets finalized, it will undergo rulemaking process which may take up to one year. The date for having a final Priority Products list is therefore not fixed. There are several activities that are based on the date of having a final Priority Products list. 

2015, 60 days after posting Final Priority Products list, responsible entities submit Priority Product Notification;

2015, 180 days after posting Final Priority Products list, responsible entities submit Preliminary Alternatives Analysis Report;

Q. Who must comply with the regulation?
A.

Businesses that manufacture, import, distribute, sell, or assemble consumer products listed by DTSC as Priority Products containing chemicals of concern and placed into the stream of commerce in California.

Q. What is the goal of the Safer Consumer Product regulations?
A.

DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations aim to create safer substitutes for hazardous ingredients in consumer products sold in California. The regulations emphasize safer products and healthier lives by reducing and eliminating use of toxic chemicals.