Jan 22 - Addressing Consumer Electronics Toxics Reporting

CAW-sponsored AB 147 (Saldaña) was introduced today, a bill that would authorize DTSC to request documentation from electronics manufacturers about the amount of hazardous materials contained in the consumer electronics they offer for sale in California.

According to the U.S. EPA, roughly 70% of the toxic heavy metals found in landfills come from electronic waste. Electronic waste can contain hundreds of different substances including lead, cadmium, and mercury - heavy metals that are highly toxic and pose a serious threat to public health and the environment. This combination of toxic substances can damage nervous, kidney and reproductive systems, while some of the metals contain carcinogens.

Current California law prohibits hazardous materials from electronic devices with a video screen of larger than 4". Last year, the legislature enacted the Green Chemistry Initiative, which requires the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to regulate chemicals of concern in consumer products so they can be replaced with more benign alternatives.

In order for DTSC to effectively enforce the existing hazardous materials ban and inform the Green Chemistry Initiative, it needs authority to request documentation from electronics manufacturers detailing the amount of hazardous materials contained in their products. Manufacturers are currently providing this information upon request in the European Union per its RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) Directive. Without this authority, DTSC is only able to resort to expensive product by product testing to determine the hazardous materials content, if any, of a consumer item sold in the state.

CAW and AB 147:

  • Learn more about CAW-sponsored AB 147