California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s, Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC) in its official capacity as the “state’s qualified experts” determined at a public meeting held in Sacramento on October 11, 2018 that soluble nickel compounds have been clearly shown to cause reproductive toxicity based on the developmental and male reproductive endpoints. Regulations for the listing of chemicals by the DARTIC are set out in Title 27, California Code of Regulations, section 25305(b)(1).
Effective October 26, 2018, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is adding Nickel (soluble compounds) to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity for purposes of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65).
The enforcement date for soluble nickel compounds will take effect one year from its listing date. Enforcement of alleged violations of Proposition 65 concerning soluble nickel compounds will take effect on October 26, 2019.
OEHHA has not yet to develop safe harbor levels (i.e., Maximum Allowable Dose Levels (MADLs) for chemicals listed as causing birth defects or other reproductive harm) for nickel (soluble compounds), making it unclear if or when such a level would be developed by the agency. OEHHA has several distinct listings for nickel and its various compounds.
Nickel (Metallic), Nickel, acetate, Nickel carbonate, Nickel carbonyl, Nickel compounds, Nickel hydroxide, Nickelocene, Nickel oxide, Nickel refinery dust from the pyrometallurgical process, and Nickel subsulfide.
Considering the agency’s backlog of chemicals without a Safe Harbor Level, it should be no surprise that it will probably be quite a while until the agency develops a MADL for Soluble Nickel Compounds.
Despite the many nickel compounds listed by the agency, only two safe harbor levels have been developed by OEHHA for only two compounds: Nickel refinery dust from the pyrometallurgical process and Nickel sub-sulfide.
The many nickel compounds already listed by OEHHA may provide a plethora of warning options depending if they are used for consumer products or in an occupational setting, or in another use of nickel compounds.
Businesses should determine whether nickel (soluble compounds) are present in their products, or in processes used in other products inasmuch as nickel is a highly versatile metal used in many significant applications.