First new chemical determinations released by EPA under amended TSCA.

Last Friday, the U.S. EPA issued its first regulatory determinations for new chemical substances under the newly amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA published premanufacture notices (PMNs) for four new chemicals, concluding that all four were “not likely to present an unreasonable risk” to human health or the environment. The decision means that manufacturers and importers may make or import the chemicals, which will be used as lubricants, plastics additives, and in combination with other substances to make polymers.

For all four new chemicals, the agency found low potential for both human health and environmental hazards. Two of the chemicals were “very persistent,” but the agency found that neither presented an unreasonable risk due to “low potential for bioaccumulation,” as well as low health and environmental hazards.

These actions are the agency’s first under “TSCA 2.0,” after the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act went into effect last month. As reported by Greenwire, the American Chemistry Council lauded the new chemical determinations as “an example of the new law already working.” The environmental advocacy nonprofit EDF praised the EPA’s openness while criticizing the agency on other issues, including the withholding of confidential business information (CBI), use of estimated data, providing only summaries of the determination documents, and “cursory consideration of exposure and exposed subpopulations.”

First Priority Products listing proposed under CA’s Safer Consumer Products program.

Today, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced that the comment period is now open for the first Priority Product listing regulation under the state’s Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program. The proposed regulation would establish a Priority Products list containing one item: children’s foam-padded sleeping products containing tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP) or tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP). Both substances, which are used as flame retardants, are known to the state of California as carcinogenic and are associated with various other hazard traits, including genotoxicity, neurotoxicity, and reproductive toxicity. TDCPP and TCEP are described in the proposal’s accompanying Technical Report [PDF] as “easily released to indoor and outdoor environments” and “ubiquitous,” having been detected worldwide in homes, offices, and daycare centers, as well as in waterways, wildlife, and human breast milk.

The proposed listing encompasses products designed for children, toddlers, babies, or infants to nap or sleep on that incorporate polyurethane foam mats, pads, or pillows that contain TDCPP or TCEP. This includes, among other products: nap mats, soft-sided portable cribs, play pens, bassinets, co-sleepers, and baby or toddler foam pillows. The listing specifically excludes:

  • mattresses “as defined and covered by the requirements of CPSC 1632/1633”;
  • furniture regulated under California Technical Bulletin 117-2013; and
  • “[a]dd-on child restraint systems for use in motor vehicles and aircraft that are required to meet federal flammability standards.”

This is the first of three Priority Products that DTSC originally proposed, in draft form, more than two years ago. DTSC will list the other two Priority Products – spray polyurethane foam (SPF) systems containing unreacted diisocyanates and paint/varnish strippers and surface cleaners containing methylene chloride – through separate rulemaking proposals. Based on the Priority Products Work Plan released last year, the agency will identify as many as five additional Priority Products, drawn from the seven product categories ranging from Cleaning Products to Clothing, in 2016 and 2017.

The comment period runs through August 29, 2016. Once finalized, the Priority Products listing triggers the requirement that manufacturers submit a Preliminary Alternatives Analysis Report within 180 days after the effective date of the regulation.

Seventh Generation Settles “Natural” Claims Class Action For $4.5M

Consumers in this class action claimed that Seventh Generation Inc. deceptively labeled its cleaning products as “natural” even though they contained synthetic preservatives. Seventh Generation has agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle this case in New York federal court.

Seventh Generation makes several household cleaning items such as laundry detergent, glass cleaner, and dish soap. The products in question are natural laundry detergent, natural 4X concentrated laundry detergent, ultra power plus natural laundry detergent, natural dish liquid, and ultra power plus natural dish liquid. They were available for sale in stores such as Walgreens, Walmart, Target,, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Whole Foods.

The consumers alleged that the company incorrectly used the term “natural,” despite the fact that two of the ingredients — Methylisothiazolinone (“MIT”) or Benzisothiazolinone (“BIT”) — are synthetic. MIT and BIT are antimicrobial preservatives.

In its press release, Seventh Generation stood by its “natural” labeling, but cited burdensome litigation costs as its reason for settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, Seventh Generation will remove the “All Natural” and “100% Natural” claims, and will add clarifications about the non-toxic and hypoallergenic claims. Additionally, Seventh Generation will provide compensation to eligible claimants.

This lawsuit is one of several settled and pending cases against companies claiming that their products are natural, but contain synthetic substances. See Earth Friendly Settlement and Tom’s of Main Settlement.

The 2015 California Air Resources Board Consumer and Commercial Products Survey

The 2015 California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) Consumer and Commercial Products Survey (“Survey”) reporting period began on July 1, 2016 and must be completed by November 1, 2016. This is the final year of the CARB Survey program and is mandatory for all “responsible parties,” i.e. any company, firm, or establishment listed on a label that manufactured or sold consumer or commercial products in California during the 2015 calendar year. However, the 2015 Survey contains new exemptions for certain product categories that CARB determined have low or no volatile organic compound emissions, including certain adhesives, aerosols, and coatings.

For Responsible Parties who reported in 2013 and 2014, only sales information for 2015 is required, unless a change was made to an existing product or a new product was sold in 2015. For the data reporting instructions, please click this link. Penalties, including significant per day fines, can be assessed for those responsible parties who do not report to CARB.