The Director of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recently announced that the agency plans to soon release a new draft of its proposed warning regulation that will make significant changes to its initial pre-regulatory proposal introduced in March.
George Alexeeff, Ph.D, said OEHHA spent a great deal of time reviewing dozens of public comments submitted to OEHHA during the comment period that ended June 13, 2014. The majority of comments were highly critical of various aspects of the proposal.
Alexeef said the revised proposal will make five major changes to the initial proposal:
■ Retain the Safe Harbor Approach: OEHHA will retain the current safe harbor approach that allows businesses to use the warning methods and content if they choose to take advantage of the safe harbor, or use another method or content they think is “clear and reasonable,” and can be defended.
■ Drop the “Will Expose” Requirement: The revision will eliminate the language that would have required warnings to include the phrase “Will Expose” and replace it with “Can Expose.”
■ Drop the GHS Pictogram: The new revision will abandon the dreaded GHS toxic hazard symbol and replace it with the more familiar yellow triangle and exclamation point.
■ Drop Mandatory Reporting Requirements on its Website: OEHHA is abandoning the proposed requirement to provide information for its website. Submissions would be voluntary. Information submitted to the website would not be enforceable to private plaintiffs. OEHHA may still request certain information in a data call-in, however.
■ Tailored Warnings: The agency will develop several more tailored warnings for certain types of consumer product and environmental exposures.
Although OEHHA’s proposed changes would address many major concerns raised in public comments, some concerns remain. The proposed requirement to name the chemical or chemicals triggering a warning, remains controversial. Concerns about confidential business information have also not been addressed.
Alexeef did not say whether the revision will be another “pre-regulatory draft, but indicated it would be released before the end of this year.