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California Issues Guide to Assist Manufacturers Identify Safer Alternatives for Hazardous Ingredients in Consumer Products, Lists Certain Sleeping Articles as Priority Product

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control has released a final version of its first alternatives analysis guide under the Safer Consumer Products programme that the agency hopes will assist manufacturers identify safer alternatives for hazardous ingredients in consumer products. According to DTSC, the guide is a key milestone in the implementation of California’s pioneering Safer Consumer Products regulations by providing tools to help manufacturers innovate to meet all relevant requirements. DTSC adds that the guide will be periodically updated to reflect advances in alternatives analysis as the programme evolves.  

The guide provides guidelines on each component of the alternatives analysis process, providing useful approaches, methods, resources and tools on how to fulfil the regulatory requirements under the Safer Consumer Products regulations. More specifically, the guide provides information about the two stages of the alternatives analysis process, approaches for conducting alternatives analysis steps, tools and methods that may be useful for specific steps in the analysis, approaches for identifying and collecting needed data, and examples to illustrate steps in the analysis. General topics addressed by the guide include the alternatives analysis framework, product requirements and alternatives, impact assessments, screening of alternatives, exposure, life cycle impacts, economic impacts, informational needs in alternatives analysis, selection of alternatives, self-evaluation of alternatives analysis and resources.

Information in the guide describes the general process for conducting an alternatives analysis and applies to a wide range of conditions, products, alternatives and impacts. DTSC designed the guide to meet the needs of a wide range of responsible entities and to apply to a diverse set of product types. As information about  products, chemicals, alternatives and available data expands over time, future updates of the guide are likely to highlight more specific details.

The Safer Consumer Products regulations require responsible entities (manufacturers, importers, assemblers and retailers) to notify DTSC when their product is listed as a priority product, and DTSC will post that information on its Web site. Manufacturers or other responsible entities of products listed as priority products will be required to perform an “alternatives analysis” for the product and the chemicals of concern in that product to determine how best to limit exposures or the level of adverse public health and environmental impacts posed by the chemicals of concern. DTSC will also have to identify and require implementation of regulatory responses to protect public health and/or the environment and maximise the use of acceptable and feasible alternatives of least concern.

DTSC has the authority to require regulatory responses for a priority product (if the manufacturer decides to retain the priority product) or for an alternative product selected to replace the priority product. This may include ordering the removal or replacement of the chemical of concern in the product or the removal of the product from the California marketplace.

On 1 July, children’s foam-padded sleeping products containing tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP) or tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) were formally listed as a priority product. Accordingly, manufacturers who make this product have until 30 August to notify DTSC that they are a responsible entity. DTSC has also formally proposed to list as a priority product spray polyurethane foam systems with unreacted methylene diphenyl diisocyanates and is also considering a potential designation for paint and varnish strippers and surface cleaners containing methylene chloride.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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