The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has released a draft of its First Stage Alternatives Analysis Guide, a key step in the implementation of California’s Safer Consumer Products regulations, which are creating safer substitutes for hazardous ingredients in consumer products sold in California.
The regulations identify specific products that contain potentially harmful chemicals and ask manufacturers to answer two questions: 1) Is the chemical necessary? 2) Is there a safer alternative?
“One of the primary aims of our Safer Consumer Products regulations is to avoid regrettable substitutions,” said Deputy Director for the Safer Products and Work Places Program Meredith Williams.
“The Alternatives Analysis process is a cornerstone of the regulations because it requires manufacturers to find safer alternative ingredients for their products.”
The First Stage Alternatives Analysis Guide released today is a tool to help manufacturers answer those questions. It is written to assist people who are conducting Alternatives Analyses (AA) in accordance with the Safer Consumer Products regulations. The Guide helps people understand the California Alternatives Analysis process; provides useful information and resources; and describes how California’s AA relates to other existing alternatives assessments.
The draft guide is available for public comment and will be reviewed by DTSC’s Green Ribbon Science Panel before it is finalized. An additional guidance document, which describes the second stage of the Alternatives Analysis process, will be released in draft by Spring 2016. It will undergo similar public comment and review.
“We’re eager to hear feedback from manu-facturers and users of the guide,” Williams said. “It’s important that it helps them comply with the regulations.” The Alternatives Analysis process will help manufacturers determine how best to compare the chemicals of concern in Priority Products with potential alternatives and determine if there is a safer way to make the products.
In March 2014, DTSC announced its initial three draft “priority products” – consumer goods sold in California that each contain at least one toxic chemical: · Children’s foam padded sleeping products containing TDCPP or TCEP · Spray Polyurethane foam systems containing unreacted MDI · Paint stripper containing Methylene Chloride.
These products will be the first subject to DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products regulations. Rulemaking for these products are anticipated next year.
DTSC says the regulations “represent a significant shift toward a more protective, economically viable approach to how California protects people and the environment from hazardous chemicals found in consumer products.”
The agency says the regulations “provide an opportunity for innovative industries to capitalize on the growing consumer demand for products that are safer and better for the environment.” The Alternatives Analysis Guide is available for download here. Public comment can be made online here.
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