Aug 1 - California Tightens Chemical Restrictions for Consumer Products

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) this past Friday released their proposed Safer Consumer Products Regulation, a new set of rules for toxic chemical use by manufacturers in California.

DTSC's official news release

Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE), an organization focused on regulating toxic chemicals in California, worked for four years to get more rigorous toxics restrictions on manufacturers. As a member of CHANGE, and supporter of Green Chemistry, Californians Against Waste supports these draft regulations and is happy to see that the state is is trying to tighten consumer product safety standards.

Everyday products, such as those covered by the regulation, are often produced with untested and potentially harmful chemicals. When they are improperly disposed, those products can leach into our landfills or waterways where they adversely impact the health of nearby residents and animal life.

Currently, manufacturers are not incentivized to find safer alternatives for potentially toxic chemicals, but the new regulations would require industries to assess the viability of alternative safer chemicals. If the alternative is not viable, then DTSC works with the producers to create a plan for either proper disposal or phasing out of the product.

Kathryn Alcantar, California Policy Director at Center for Environmental Health, praises the proposed regulations:

This approach is most welcome and long overdue. For decades, when health threats from a chemical in consumer products would surface, industry would simply replace the toxic substance with new risky and untested chemicals. With these new rules, we will finally break free of this toxic shell game.

In addition to encouraging the use of safer chemicals, the plan will also analyze the adverse effects of toxins in real life scenarios. Proponents of the new regulation are hoping that by requiring Californian manufacturers to create safer products that research and effort will lead to safer products on a national and even global scale.

Gretchen Lee Salter from CHANGE and the Breast Cancer Fund comments:

This is the kind of groundbreaking program that communities have been demanding for decades, one that mandates that safer alternatives be identified to prevent harmful exposures to consumers, workers, and communities.

The potential changes have been met with praise from Californian environmental groups, labor unions, and the health services community. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control is now open for a 45 day comment period on the proposed regulations.

Read CHANGE's coverage of the new chemical restrictions


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