By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.
On October 7, 2021, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced that the Green Ribbon Science Panel (GRSP) will hold a meeting from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EDT) on November 5, 2021. The meeting will focus on microplastic research and policy.
GRSP was established to act as a resource for the implementation of California’s Green Chemistry Law. GRSP provides technical advice to the DTSC Director and the California Environmental Policy Council (CEPC) on scientific matters related to the development of policy recommendations and implementation strategies on green chemistry and chemicals through DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program. Additional topics covered by GRSP as the SCP program continues to expand include:
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On June 28, 2019, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will host the first public workshop on 1,4-Dioxane in Personal Care and Cleaning Products. 1,4-Dioxane, a solvent and stabilizer for chlorinated solvents, which is produced from both petroleum sources and from biobased ethylene oxide, has been identified by DTSC as a likely human carcinogen and an emerging contaminant found in beauty, personal care, hygiene, and cleaning products. DTSC is requesting additional information from stakeholders about potential adverse impacts from 1,4-dioxane in consumer products; its presence in personal care and cleaning products; and the feasibility of removing it from these products. To view the background document and submit comments, please visit DTSC’s CalSAFER portal. The comment period closes on August 21, 2019.
On December 22, 2016, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced that the public comment period for the draft Alternatives Analysis (AA) Guide for the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program has been extended to February 3, 2017. The guide, which was released on December 19, 2016, aims to help relevant stakeholders navigate all phases of the SCP AA process and provide useful approaches, methods, resources, tools and examples of how to fulfill SCP's regulatory requirements. The draft AA Guide is available through the Safer Consumer Products Information Management System (CalSAFER). The SCP program aims to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products using a four step process that identifies specific products that contain potentially harmful chemicals and asks manufacturers to assess whether the chemical is necessary and whether a safer alternative can be used.
The Green Chemistry Clearinghouse Conference held on September 16, 2014, in San Francisco included several interesting panels discussing topics including California Safer Consumer Products Regulations' (SCPR) recently released Work Plan, the future of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform, and the increasing push by retailers to require information from the supply chain.
Jim Jones, EPA's Assistant Administrator at the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), spoke regarding several EPA activities under TSCA, including but not limited to the schedule for risk assessments of Work Plan chemicals, the recently released proposal to redesign EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) label, and the ChemView database providing access to health and safety data on chemicals regulated under TSCA. Jones stated EPA will be revising its list of Work Plan chemicals based on recent data indicating that production volumes of certain chemicals have decreased sufficiently to warrant EPA removing these substances for risk assessment and instead selecting other substances.
There also was discussion about another draft bill to reform TSCA to be released shortly, perhaps even this week, that many are hopeful will bridge the gaps in sections of prior bills that have been particularly contentious, including but not limited to the scope of preemption. As discussed at the Conference, the new legislation rumored to be under consideration in the Senate may have significant bipartisan sponsors. This would not increase any likelihood of action this year (zero), but definitely will put an important marker down for the starting point of future attempts to craft a bipartisan bill in 2015. According to trade press reports, last ditch efforts to draft a bipartisan bill cratered in the Senate Wednesday night. Certain environmental groups, specifically the Environmental Working Group, were reported to reject the revised measure claiming it was no better than current law. Whether the bipartisan group intends to surface a Senate bill without Senator Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) support remains to be seen.
On September 12, 2014, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released its much anticipated draft Initial Priority Product Work Plan under SCPR. The Regulations require that DTSC, by October 2014, develop an Initial Priority Product Work Plan that describes product categories it will use to evaluate and identify product-chemical combinations to be added to the Priority Products. The Work Plan is available online and more detailed memoranda from BRAG affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) about the Regulations and the Work Plan are available online.
DTSC is seeking comments on its Work Plan, which can be submitted using the California Safer Products Information Management System (CalSAFER) until October 13, 2014. DTSC also is holding two workshops, one in Sacramento on September 25, 2014, and one in Cypress on September 29, 2014.
BRAG's full memorandum on the draft Initial Priority Product Work Plan and the seven Priority Products Categories identified is available online. The Work Plan will be discussed in detail at the upcoming 5th Annual Safer Consumer Products Summit -- more information below.
With the draft initial Priority Product Work Plan now released, it is important for manufacturers, importers, and retailers of consumer products in the categories listed by DTSC in the Work Plan to understand and address any issues. The upcoming Safer Consumer Products Summit, of which BRAG is a proud sponsor, will bring together DTSC staff, brand owners, chemical companies, and industry associations to discuss these developments in sessions including:
* "Strategies and Tactics in Response to Initial Priority Products and Work Plan for Future Priority Products"
* "Alternatives Assessments: Where Are We?" -- an interactive roundtable on approaches
* "Managing the Chemical Data, Confidentiality and Trade Secret Challenge"
* "Supply Chain Transformation in Response to Chemical and Safer Products Regulations"
The one and one-half-day summit will feature federal and state decision makers including Meredith Williams, Deputy Director, Safer Products and Workplaces Program, California DTSC; Bob Boughton, Senior Hazardous Substances Engineer, Safer Consumer Products Program, California DTSC; John Katz, Pollution Prevention Coordinator, Region 9, EPA; Alex Stone, Senior Chemist, Washington State Department of Ecology; and Kerry Malinowski, Manager, Safer Chemicals in Children's Products Program, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, as well as major brand owners, chemical companies, and consumer industry associations. The Summit Chair is Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of B&C, and Of Counsel with BRAG.
BRAG members and friends are eligible for a 15 percent discount on registration for the Safer Consumer Products Summit by using discount code: 141611. For more information and registration details click here.
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced that Director Debbie Raphael will be leaving her position on May 30, 2014, to lead San Francisco's Department of the Environment. Raphael's replacement has not yet been announced.
In Raphael's place, Dr. Meredith Williams, DTSC Deputy Director, gave the keynote address at the 4th Safer Consumer Products Summit in Santa Clara, California, sponsored by B&C. Dr. Williams discussed DTSC's decision-making process with regard to its three selections in its draft initial Priority Product list (Paint and Varnish Strippers, and Surface Cleaners containing Methylene Chloride; Spray Polyurethane Foam Systems containing Unreacted Diisocyanates; and Children's Foam-padded Sleeping Products containing tris or tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) (TDCPP)) and other DTSC efforts, including its development of a work plan identifying potential future Priority Products and guidance for companies to prepare alternative analysis assessments. DTSC also held on May 7, 2014, the first of three workshops related to its draft initial Priority Product list. The other two workshops are scheduled for May 28, 2014, and June 4, 2014.
Dr. Williams was introduced by Summit Chair Lynn L. Bergeson, whose comments are excerpted below.
"We have witnessed over the past years a dramatic shift in environmental law and policy from the regulation of end-of-pipe discharges of chemical substances into the environment (and their subsequent cleanup) to a more proactive focus on the presence of chemicals in products -- especially consumer products, and disciplined efforts to make better choices about ingredient selection and smarter production decisions to prevent pollution at the source. This shift is to ensure that product design and manufacture utilize greener materials and engage in smarter manufacturing processes to lessen the environmental footprint of product manufacture and use, and ensure the sustainability of product development and use.
"The Safer Consumer Products Regulation that went into effect last October is a bold, game-changing, historic development. The regulations reflect the newest chapter in California's implementation of its 2007 Green Chemistry Initiative. Whether the program in practice will be a faithful fulfillment of the goals underlying the Green Chemistry Initiative or evolves into something else remains to be seen. We are, after all, at the very early stages of the implementation phase of the SCP program. What is indisputable, however, is that the Safer Consumer Products Regulations are here to stay. They will have a considerable impact here in California and far beyond the state's borders."
Next week's Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG™) Report will include a full recap of the Summit, which will include contact information to receive copies of select presentations, including Dr. Williams' detailed PowerPoint.
On August 28, 2013, California's Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products Regulations (Regulations). The Regulations took effect on October 1, 2013.
The Regulations are the much anticipated regulatory implementation of California's Green Chemistry Initiative. DTSC's implementing regulations have gone through several iterations, including an initial draft released on June 23, 2010, a revised draft released on November 16, 2010, an "informal draft" released on October 31, 2011, proposed regulations released on July 27, 2012, revised proposed regulations released on January 29, 2013, another revised proposed regulations released on April, 10, 2013, and revisions proposed on August 23, 2013 (the 15-day comment period for these last comments was open until September 9, 2013, despite the issuance of final Regulations). Memoranda providing background information on past iterations are available online. The Regulations and Final Statement of Reasons are available online.