Draft Alternatives Analysis Guide released for California’s Safer Consumer Products program.

On Monday, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released a draft version of its Alternatives Analysis Guide, a document that will be critical to the implementation of the state’s Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program. Once finalized, the Guide will provide a framework and steps to help responsible entities (the manufacturers, importers, assemblers, and retailers of designated “Priority Products”) conduct an “Alternatives Analysis,” as required by the SCP regulations.

Under the SCP program, each Alternatives Analysis will look at how to best limit or prevent potential harm from the potentially hazardous “Candidate Chemical” in Priority Products. Every Alternatives Analysis must consider important impacts of the product throughout its life cycle and provide for specific actions to make the product safer.

After receiving and approving a final Alternatives Analysis report, DTSC will implement Regulatory Responses which favor the safest feasible alternatives. These actions may take the form of enforceable orders or agreements requiring further manufacturer research, additional information to DTSC or consumers, product redesign, end-of-life product stewardship, or sales restrictions or prohibition.

The draft Alternatives Analysis Guide provides information about the general process of conducting an Alternatives Analysis and is meant to be a “resource book” for people preparing Alternatives Analyses. The Guide provides methods, tools, information sources, and “best practice approaches” for conducting an Alternatives Analysis, and is expected to be updated periodically. The Guide is not a “regulatory document” or standard, nor is it meant to be used as a checklist.

In September 2015, DTSC released a Draft Stage 1 Alternatives Analysis Guide and scheduled the release of Stage 2 guidance for 2016. Stage 1 of the Alternatives Analysis process will begin with identifying product requirements and chemicals of concern, alternatives, and factors for comparing alternatives. Then, responsible entities will conduct an initial evaluation and screening of alternative replacement chemicals. Stage 1 culminates in the submission to DTSC of the Preliminary Alternatives Analysis Report, including a Work Plan.

After the preliminary report is approved, Stage 2 begins with executing the Work Plan and conducting an in-depth analysis that includes life cycle and economic effects. After an iterative evaluation and comparison process, the responsible entity will select an alternative, based on the information and conclusions generated through the comparative analysis, and recommends a regulatory response. Finally, the responsible entity must submit a Final Alternatives Analysis Report, including an implementation plan and timeline, if applicable. This final report will be available for public review and comment before DTSC makes any determination about regulatory responses.

The draft Guide released this week covers both stages of the Alternatives Analysis process. New chapters of the draft Alternative Analysis Guide, addressing the steps in Stage 2, are as follows:

  • Exposure
  • Life Cycle Impacts
  • Economic Impacts
  • Informational Needs
  • Selection of Alternatives
  • Self-Evaluation

DTSC is accepting public comments on the draft Alternatives Analysis Guide through January 20, 2017. The agency has also scheduled a public webinar to present and discuss the draft on January 10, 2017.

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control is Seeking Collaboration on the Next Round of Products

The Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program, under CA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), is using a four-step process to reduce toxic chemicals in products that consumers buy and use. One of these steps includes developing Priority Products, which are products that contain one or more Candidate Chemicals. The DTSC is now seeking stakeholder engagement for implementing its Priority Product Work Plan (PPWP) in a webinar, scheduled for November 15. 2016 from 10:30am- 12:00pm PST.

The webinar will provide an overview of DTSC’s progress towards Priority Product selection. The webinar will also focus on three topics, which the DTSC would like stakeholder engagement in:

  • Potential aquatic impacts and continued uses of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) and triclosan,
  • Nail products, and
  • Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASS) in carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, and their care and treatment products.

Potential Aquatic Impacts and Continued Uses of Nonylphenol Ethoxylates and Triclosan:

This category contains chemicals that may adversely impact aquatic resources, or that have been observed through water quality monitoring. SCP identified NPEs, triclosan, and some of their transformation products as Candidate Chemicals that may warrant further research. A Candidate Chemical as a chemical that exhibits a “hazard trait and/or an environmental or toxicological endpoint” and is either: 1) found on one or more of the authoritative lists specified in Section 69502.2(a) of the regulations; or 2) listed by DTSC using the criteria specified in Section 69502.2(b). SCP would like to better understand the presence of these Candidate Chemicals in the aquatic environment, and would like current product use information for these Candidate Chemicals in cleaning, personal care, and clothing products.

Nail Products:

Nail salon workers have daily exposure to a variety of hazardous chemicals in nail products. Additionally, nail products in salons and at home are used by potentially sensitive subpopulations such as pregnant women and children. Three key questions being explored for this topic are:

  • What are the potentially hazardous chemicals present in nail products?
  • Why are these potentially hazardous chemicals being used in nail products?
  • What alternative chemicals are being used including products marketed as green, safer, or free of specific chemicals?

PFASS in Carpets, Rugs, Upholstered Furniture, and Their Care and Treatment Products:

DTSC is concerned about the hazard traits of PFASs and their widespread presence in the environment, humans, and other living organisms. Carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture treated with PFASs for stain-, soil-, oil-, or water-resistance, as well as their PFASs-based care and treatment products, are potential long-term sources of widespread human and ecological exposures to this class of chemicals. DTSC is requesting public input to better understand:

  • The exposure potential from the use of PFASs in these consumer products, and
  • The hazard traits of short-chain PFASs, fluorinated ethers, and other “novel” PFASs.

California refers five chemicals to Prop. 65 Carcinogen Identification Committee.

This week, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that five chemicals, including methyl chloride and vinyl acetate will be considered by the Proposition 65 Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) at its November 15, 2016 meeting. The chemicals or chemical groups are:

  • Aspartame
  • Asphalt and Asphalt Emissions Associated with Road Paving and Asphalt and Asphalt Emissions Associated with Roofing
  • Methyl Chloride
  • Type I Pyrethroids
  • Vinyl Acetate

Methyl chloride and vinyl acetate are both common intermediates in polymer production, while the latter is a High Production Volume chemical. Type I Pyrethroids are a group of synthetic insecticides also found in home and garden pest control products. Aspartame is a widely used artificial sweetener.

The CIC will advise OEHHA on prioritizing the chemicals for possible preparation of hazard identification materials, an intermediate step toward listing a chemical as carcinogenic under Prop. 65. No listing decisions will be made for these chemicals at the November meeting. However, the CIC will consider listing “nitrite in combination with amines or amides” at this meeting.

The five chemicals were chosen based on epidemiologic and animal data screens, followed by a preliminary toxicological evaluation. OEHHA prepared and has made available summaries of the relevant studies identified during the preliminary toxicological evaluation for each of the five chemicals.

The announcement marks the beginning of a public comment period which runs to October 24, 2016.

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.

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.

California releases draft Alternatives Analysis guidance under Safer Consumer Products program.

Today, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released the first part of draft guidance on conducting Alternatives Analysis (AA) under the state’s Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program.

The Draft Stage 1 Alternatives Analysis Guide (AA Guide) covers the first of the two stages of the AA process, which entails an initial screening of alternatives and preliminary analysis. During Stage 1, “the responsible entity identifies the goal, scope, legal, functional, and performance requirements of the Priority Product and the Chemical of Concern, and uses this information to identify an array of alternatives to consider.” At the end of Stage 1, the analysis findings, work plan, and implementation schedule are documented in a Preliminary AA Report which is submitted to DTSC.

DTSC reports that a draft guide for Stage 2 will be released in the first quarter of 2016. In Stage 2, the responsible entity follows the Work Plan approved in Stage 1 and conducts an in-depth analysis considering impacts such as life cycle and cost. This process culminates in selecting an alternative and making a regulatory response recommendation.

The Draft Stage 1 AA Guide also notes that companies have alternative compliance options to the AA process if an AA or similar comparative analysis has already been completed, or if the company prefers a different AA approach. After demonstrating to DTSC that the alternate approach is “adequate for evaluating the Priority Product and the alternatives” and “sufficiently equivalent to the AA process described in the regulations,” responsible entities may choose instead to conduct an Abridged AA or Alternate Process AA, or use a previously completed AA.

The draft AA Guide discusses in detail the following topics:

  • Product Requirements and Alternatives – including product function and performance, legal requirements, and the role of the Chemical of Concern.
  • Relevant Factors – how to use an iterative process to identify “relevant factors” used throughout the AA process to characterize, evaluate, and compare impacts of the Priority Product and its alternatives.
  • Impact Assessments – approaches, tools, and information sources a responsible entity may use to conduct analyses throughout the AA process.
  • Screening Alternatives – considerations for and approach to screening, assessing tradeoffs, and conducting limited screens.

DTSC will hold two webinars to discuss the Draft Stage 1 Alternatives Analysis Guide, on October 7 and October 21. The comment period on the Guide runs through October 23, 2015.

California’s Safer Consumer Products program finalizes Priority Products Work Plan.

Last week, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released its final 2015-17 Priority Product Work Plan outlining the agency’s policy priorities and product categories to be evaluated over the next three years. The Work Plan implements the Safer Consumer Products program, the part of California’s Green Chemistry Initiative that serves to “accelerate the quest for safer products.” In its final form, the Work Plan retains the same seven product categories as were included in the draft Work Plan released in September, although DTSC made changes like adding example products and clarifying or modifying the scope of certain categories.

Selected changes from the draft to final versions of the Work Plan include:

  • Beauty, Personal Care, and Hygiene Products – Sunscreen added as an example in this category.
  • Building Products – Carpet padding added as an example in this category, and nomenclature-related changes (“engineered wood,” “plywood subfloors,” and “compressed wood flooring products,” are now “Engineered Wood and Laminate Flooring” and “Plywood and OSB Subflooring.” The Work Plan’s list of changes from the Draft Work Plan also includes “insulation” and “wall coverings with flame retardants” as examples included in this category, although they are not actually discussed in the category’s narrative description or table of example products.
  • Household, Office Furniture and Furnishings – Curtains added as an example in this category. DTSC also adds that this category constitutes a subset of the Global Product Classification (GPC) standard segment “Household/Office Furniture/Furnishings,” which is divided into three families: “Fabric/Textile Furnishings,” “Household/Office Furniture,” and “Ornamental Furnishings.”
  • Cleaning Products – Surface cleaners and wax removers added as examples in this category.
  • Clothing – DTSC now states that it “will exclude consideration of protective wear intended exclusively for occupational safety.” In addition, chlorinated paraffins, halogenated compounds, and organophosphates – all flame retardants – were removed from the table of potential candidate chemicals in clothing products.
  • Fishing and Angling Equipment – DTSC has clarified the scope of this category, specifying that the agency is “most concerned about fishing weights and gear that might be consumed by water fowl due to characteristics of size, shape and density,” and thus will not consider large weights used in off-shore salmon fishing.
  • Office Machinery (Consumable Products) – The product example “Specialty paper” is narrowed down to thermal paper, while “Printer inks” is now ink cartridges.

DTSC stresses that the Work Plan is only “the first step in identifying the next set of Priority Products.” The Work Plan does not identify specific Priority Products or Chemicals of Concern, nor does it establish any new compliance requirements. Rather, the Work Plan is intended to help DTSC “move from these broad [product] categories to specific product-chemical combinations that warrant consideration as potential Priority Products.” Moreover, the Plan is meant to provide “a level of predictability to potential manufacturers, importers, retailers, and other stakeholders.”

According to the Work Plan, the number of Priority Products to be identified in 2015 “will likely be as many as three,” the same number as was announced in 2014. DTSC anticipates ramping up to more than five products in 2016 and 2017.

The Work Plan covers January 2015 through December 2017, and will be updated in 2017 with the next Work Plan, covering 2018 through 2010. However, DTSC could be required to revise this Work Plan before its expiration in the case of two scenarios: if instructed to take action on a particular chemical, product, or product-chemical combination by legislative mandate or executive order; or if the agency grants a petition to add a product-chemical combination to the Priority Products list.

DTSC encourages stakeholders to stay engaged with the Safer Consumer Products program through its “newly enhanced information management system,” CalSAFER. The system facilitates reading or writing comments on proposed regulations, filing petitions, and submitting other documents to DTSC.

Stakeholders respond to competing TSCA reform proposals.

Since the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee’s legislative hearing last week on modernizing the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), critiques, endorsements, and other reactions have continued to roll in from all corners of the TSCA reform universe. Yesterday, Chemical Watch reported that the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers and the Consumer Electronics Association came out in support of S. 697, the “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act” introduced by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and David Vitter (R-LA). Both industry groups lauded the bipartisan bill for creating a single regulatory scheme that would be consistent across the U.S., which they prefer to the approach put forward in the competing proposal from Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA). According to Chemical Watch, the electronics companies Dell and Hewlett-Packard are taking a wait-and-see approach to the proposed bills, while the Retail Industry Leaders Association, whose members include Walmart, Target, and Nike, is still reviewing the legislation with its member companies.

Companies for Safer Chemicals, a coalition coordinated by the American Sustainable Business Council and representing manufacturers including Seventh Generation and Naturepedic, expressed early support for the Boxer-Markey bill, calling S. 697 “insufficient” and faulting its slower timeline for chemical safety assessments. The coalition has also submitted a letter to the EPW Committee suggesting certain improvements to be made to the Udall-Vitter bill, including delayed preemption of state action, loosening Confidential Business Information (CBI) protections to increase transparency through supply chains, a “more robust review schedule,” fully funding TSCA through an uncapped fee system, and making it easier for EPA to restrict articles containing hazardous chemicals.

Earlier this week, Chemical Watch highlighted letters from the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) [PDF] and several state Attorneys General [PDF], both opposing the Udall-Vitter bill. The state officials object to the legislation’s elimination of co-enforcement and overbroad preemption provision, which they say would prevent state action to regulate dangerous chemicals. CalEPA Secretary Matthew Rodriguez further argued that S. 697 would impede the full implementation of California’s landmark green chemistry law, the Safer Consumer Products program.

Lawmakers and stakeholders are discussing the possibilities for negotiating amendments to the Udall-Vitter bill that could attract additional support from Democrats and the Obama administration.

A related debate has been playing out among legal experts over the Udall-Vitter bill’s safety standard of “unreasonable risk.” A group of former senior EPA legal officials who served in the last four administrations sent a letter to the Senate EPW Committee backing the bill, saying that the “unreasonable risk” standard “as included in S. 697 is not to be interpreted as it has under the existing TSCA.” That letter was in response to a March 16 letter [PDF] from public interest attorneys and environmental law professors, which called the safety standard in S. 697 “deeply problematic.”

California may add BPA to Prop. 65 list.

On Friday, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in common consumer products like food packaging and paper receipts, will be considered for possible listing under the state’s Proposition 65 program, which requires businesses to provide warnings for exposures to listed chemicals. The Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC), an advisory panel that helps OEHHA compile the list of chemicals known to cause reproductive toxicity, will meet on May 7, 2015 to “consider whether BPA has been clearly shown by scientifically valid testing according to generally accepted principles to cause female reproductive toxicity.”

In April 2013, BPA was added to the Prop. 65 list as a reproductive toxicant for development endpoints via the Prop. 65 “authoritative bodies” mechanism, based on the National Toxicology Project’s findings that BPA caused reproductive toxicity at high doses. However, California delisted BPA the next week, in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Chemistry Council, and simultaneously withdrew that attempt to list the chemical.

DARTIC will now be revisiting BPA per a 2009 request from the committee to reconsider the chemical “if additional epidemiological or other specific types of data on reproductive and developmental toxicity became available.” Substantial relevant data has become available since 2009, including a significant 2014 review of studies published from 2007-2013 concluding that BPA is a reproductive toxicant.

OEHHA has compiled hazard identification materials on BPA and female reproductive toxicity for the consideration of both DARTIC and the public. The agency is accepting comments on the hazard identification materials through April 6, 2015. These comments will be forwarded to DARTIC members before the May 7 meeting, and also posted online. Instructions for submitting comments are in the meeting notice.

The May 7 meeting will begin at 10:00am in the Coastal Hearing Room of the Cal/EPA Headquarters building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, and will also be webcast. If DARTIC require more time for deliberations, the meeting will be continued on May 21 at the same location.

California extends comments period on Safer Consumer Products draft Work Plan.

Yesterday, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) made a series of announcements related to the Safer Consumer Products program. DTSC is extending the comments period for the Safer Consumer Products draft Priority Products Work Plan, and will now accept comments on the draft Plan until October 21.

DTSC also announced that its Candidate Chemicals database and downloadable list have been updated. The update reflects changes made in authoritative lists, such as the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) carcinogens monographs.

In addition, DTSC invites the public to attend the next meeting of the Green Ribbon Science Panel. The Panel will convene on October 20-21 in Sacramento to “discuss and advise DTSC on evaluating Product Categories identified” in the draft Work Plan as well as alternative analysis topics. DTSC has posted the meeting’s agenda [PDF] and supporting documents including discussion topics for the draft Plan [PDF] and an Alternatives Analysis Guidance Document Synopsis [PDF].