California's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has called for information it needs from stakeholders to aid in the selection of new priority products under its Safe Consumer Products (SCP) program.
Manufacturers of the priority products selected by the agency will be required to conduct an alternatives assessment and potentially find safer chemical alternatives under the SCP program regulations.
During a webinar hosted by the agency on November 15, DTSC officials outlined specific areas related to three product categories the agency is considering:
- the potential impacts of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), triclosan and some of their transformation products on aquatic environments through their use in cleaning, personal care and clothing products;
- the use of potentially hazardous chemicals in nail salon products; and
- the potential hazards from the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFASs) in carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture and their care and treatment products.
DTSC officials have said these priority product candidates include pathways for exposure to one or more “candidate chemicals”. The agency notes these chemicals are listed on at least one of 23 authoritative lists from regulators around the world.
The products may also contain chemicals that have been detected in biomonitoring studies, or have been in indoor air and dust studies, and may impact children or workers, the department said.
NPEs and Triclosan
The DTSC is evaluating the impact of NPEs and triclosan in aquatic environments. NPEs are non-ionic surfactants used in an array of industrial applications and consumer products.
The agency notes that they have been found to persist in aquatic environments.
Triclosan is a biocide used in personal care products, such as soaps, deodorants and cosmetics to prevent bacterial growth.
The U.S. EPA has issued several significant new use rules (SNURS) for NPEs, while the European Commission has restricted NPEs in textiles.
Recently, the U.S. FDA banned triclosan in several antibacterial soaps.
The DTSC is seeking input from stakeholders on:
- How they can remove NPEs from laundry detergents, cleaning products and what challenges they might face in finding safer alternative chemicals, and how a change might impact the textile supply chain;
- Whether there any benefit in the use of triclosan in consumer products, and if so how it may be used safely;
- challenges potentially posed by the replacement or removal of triclosan; and
- alternative chemicals or substances that may be used as an alternative to triclosan.
DTSC is seeking input from stakeholders on:
- hazard traits associated with what it calls the 'toxic trio' – dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene and formaldehyde – and the presence of other candidate chemicals;
- the potential exposure and adverse impacts from nail products to workers, consumers and pregnant women in California from the use of these products and its impact on nail salon worker safety.
In 2011, DTSC conducted a small study in 2011 of nail products claiming to be free of 'toxic trio' substances, but its findings raised concerns about accurate ingredient disclosure in these products, the agency claims.
The department has identified at least six candidate chemicals in products typically used in nail salons, causing it to take a closer look at chemicals used in nail salons. In addition to the “toxic trio,” these chemicals include:
alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), azo dyes, coal tars, lead, and lead acetate; and triclosan.
PFASs are a diverse group of chemicals and substances used in a wide variety of industrial and consumer applications. This class of chemicals is used for its resistance to heat, water and oil.
DTSC says their manufacture, use, and disposal in consumer products can lead to widespread exposure to people, animals and plants.
Some PFASs have the potential to cause adverse effects to human health and to the environment, while others are used in increasing amounts but lack publicly available safety data, DTSC argues.
The U.S. EPA has proposed a SNUR for certain long-chain PFASs, amid a voluntary phase-out of their use.
DTSC is seeking input from stakeholders on:
- the use of PFASs in carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture and their care and treatment products and exposure data for these products;
- hazard traits of new PFASs; and
- lifecycle impacts from PFASs and non-fluorinated compound alternatives.
The DTSC is feedback on its proposals from stakeholders, and plans to host events in the next few months to discuss, these three potential priority product candidates.