California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has released the final version of its three-year priority product work plan under the Safer Consumer Products Regulations.
The final version reveals few changes to the September 2014 draft. The plan describes broad product categories from which the department will select priority products over the next three years. However the plan does not specifically identify priority products or chemicals of concern, nor does it impose any regulatory requirements. However, the document provides enough product and chemical examples to make its priorities clear.
The priority product work plan identifies the following categories:
Beauty, personal care and hygiene: which lists body washes and soaps, lotions, hair care products, deodorants, lip balms and gloss, ointments, pomades, cosmetics, nail care products and sunscreen as product examples. The work plan also lists potential chemical candidates for this category including: alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), aldehydes, azo dyes, formaldehyde, coal tars, tolunene, lead, lead acetate, and phthalates.
Building materials and Household Furniture and furnishings; the building products category is limited to painting products, adhesives, sealants, and flooring. This category is limited to home and office furnishing products that are treated with flame retardants or stain resistant chemicals or both. According to the work plan this product category targets air exposures from chemicals released from home and office furnishings. The work plan emphasizes that “flame retardants are of particular concern” because they are associated with neurological impairment, endocrine disruption, cancer and reproductive harm. Stain resistant compounds used in fabrics can persist in the environment, and cause cancer,” the work plan says.
Monitoring studies provide evidence of exposure and absorption of these chemicals. DTSC’s work plan reports that more than 50 Candidate Chemicals have been detected in a series of dust studies. Studies by researchers at Duke University have found brominated and organophosphate flame retardants in furniture foam and house dust.
Examples of building materials listed in the work plan include: Paints and primers; paint and graffiti removal agents; stains and varnishes; adhesives and glues; caulking; sealants; roof coatings; carpeting; carpet padding; engineered wood and laminate flooring; plywood and OSB subflooring and vinyl flooring.
Potential Candidate Chemicals in the Building Products category include: Brominated or chlorinated organic compounds, organo-phosphates, Isocyanates, metals such as Chromium VI, dyes and pigments, phthalates, volatile organic compounds, such as formal-dehyde, n-hexane, n-methyl-pyrrolidone, and toluene.
Cleaning products are also included in the work plan: DTSC notes that these products are commonly used in homes and in the workplace and in some cases expose workers that use the products to endocrine disrupting compounds, reproductive toxicants, or neurotoxicants.
The work plan lists: Air fresheners, bathroom cleaners, carpet cleaners, window cleaners, detergents, surface cleaners, floor cleaners, floor waxes, wax removers general-purpose cleaners, deodorizers, oven cleaners scouring cleaners and spot removers as examples of cleaning products. Alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APEs), hydrogen fluoride, triclosan, and volatile organic compounds, such as methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), n-hexane, n-methyl-pyrrolidone, xylene and toluene are listed as potential candidate chemicals.
Consumable Office Products: are listed in the DTSC work plan, specifically targeting consumable components of office machinery such as printers, fax machines, copy machines and cash registers. Examples include toner cartridges, ink cartridges and thermal paper. DTSC lists the potential candidate chemicals as azo dyes, bisphenols, phthalates, and volatile organic compounds such as xylene, toluene and hexane.
Clothing products include textile and fibers used to make clothing products: were selected as a category. Clothing and textiles accounted for approximately $26 Billion in revenue last year in California.
Clothing manufacturers use a variety of chemicals during the manufacture of clothing to make the products colorfast, wrinkle free, and stain repellent, including surfactants, dyes, paraffins, metals, perfluorinated compounds, formaldehyde, and phthalates. Many of these chemicals are toxic, bio-accumulative, or persistent in the environment.
The agency notes that industry leaders have been reducing their use of hazardous chemicals in the past few years. Industry leaders have acknowledged the need for manufacturers to be aware of chemical safety and are actively working to restrict the use of certain chemicals. Trade organizations have developed “restricted substances lists” (RSLs) for textile manufacturers the agency observed.
Chemicals used to manufacture clothing, include: dyes, surfactants, metals, paraffins, perfluorinated compounds, triclosan, formaldehyde, and phthalates.
DTSC also states that textile manufacturing uses a significant amount of water which is discharged as wastewater into bodies of water where excess, unreacted chemicals can harm aquatic organisms. According to DTSC, over the lifetime of clothing products, these chemical compounds continue to be released when laundered.
Fishing and angling equipment: is the last category of products identified in the three year plan. This category of products has received much attention under Proposition 65 since the late 1990s. As a result, most of the angling gear available includes a Proposition 65 warning. The product of most concern remains lead sinkers, which can expose anglers to the substance.
According to DTSC, the categories may include hundreds of potential priority products. When a product is designated as a priority product it will be added into the regulations.
Manufacturers must then follow the alternative analysis process to identify safer chemical formulations or designs.
In its announcement DTSC said, “this plan provides a level of predictability to potential manufacturers, importers, retailers and other stakeholders regarding the types of products that can be considered for evaluation over the next three years.”
DTSC said it anticipates selecting more than five products in both 2016 and 2017.