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.

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.

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.

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].

CA's Safer Consumer Products Draft Work Plan: Clothing, cosmetics, and cleaning products all under consideration.

Today, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released its draft Safer Consumer Products Priority Products Work Plan [PDF], identifying the following seven product categories to be evaluated under the program over the next three years:

  • Beauty, Personal Care, and Hygiene Products – including soaps, deodorants, lotions, cosmetics, and nail care products);
  • Building Products and Household, Office Furniture and Furnishingslimited to paints, adhesives, sealants, and flooring; and furniture/furnishings treated with flame retardants and/or stain resistant chemicals;
  • Cleaning Products – including air fresheners, floor cleaners, detergents, and window cleaners;
  • Clothing – including “fiber and textile materials worn on the body with the primary function of covering the body and/or providing protection against the elements”;
  • Fishing and Angling Equipment – such as fishing weights and gear; and
  • Office Machinery (Consumable Products) – such as printer inks, specialty paper, and toner cartridges.

Potential candidate chemicals across all the categories include many familiar chemicals that have come under various levels of regulatory scrutiny in recent years, including: phthalates and triclosan in beauty/personal care and cleaning products and clothing; brominated or chlorinated organic compounds and organophosphates, perfluorinated compounds, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in building products; and bisphenols and VOCs in consumable products for office machinery.

The draft Work Plan also explains the processes used to select the listed product categories, which employed seven different screening approaches – Hazard Trait and Endpoint; Route of Exposure; Chemical Prioritization; Evidence of Exposure; Sensitive Subpopulation, Functional Use; and Existing Research/Nomination Process. Based on information generated from the screening approaches, DTSC prioritized product categories with certain attributes, such as categories with chemicals observed in biomonitoring or indoor air quality studies, or categories that include product-chemical combinations that impact sensitive subpopulations. DTSC explains that the draft Plan is intended “to provide a level of predictability” to manufacturers, consumers, and other stakeholders.

Also today, DTSC announced the dates for the rescheduled public workshops to discuss the draft Work Plan. The first workshop will be held on September 25 at the Cal/EPA Headquarters in Sacramento; the second will be on September 29 at the DTSC Cypress Regional Office in Cypress. More details on the workshops, including agendas, are available here.

Comments from the public are being accepted on the draft Plan through October 13.

 

CA Safer Consumer Products draft Work Plan postponed.

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced earlier this month that it has rescheduled two workshops to discuss the draft Priority Products Work Plan under the state’s Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program.  The Work Plan workshops, originally scheduled for August, have been postponed until September, although specific dates have not yet been announced. According to DTSC’s email announcement, the workshops will provide “an overview of the Work Plan and will explain the process by which future Priority Products will be chosen from the product categories.” DTSC also stressed that the Work Plan would not apply requirements on any regulated entities but instead “is only intended to provide signals to the marketplace regarding the scope of product categories that will be under evaluation over the next three years.”

Chemical Watch reports that the agency is using the extra time to “refine” the categories of products and substances to be prioritized for review, including “incorporating corporate feedback to fill data gaps.” This effort may be to avoid the controversy and criticism DTSC received after choosing spray polyurethane foam containing unreacted diisocyanates as one of the first products to be regulated under the SCP program.

CA's Green Ribbon Science Panel to discuss approaches to product category identification under Safer Consumer Products program.

California’s Green Ribbon Science Panel invites members of the public to join its webinar and conference call on June 25, at 9 a.m., to discuss how the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) should identify product categories in its forthcoming 3-Year Priority Product Work Plan for the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program. As we have previously discussed, DTSC has said a public workshop will be held on the Work Plan this summer; the Plan is expected to be finalized by October 1, 2014.

In preparation for the June 25 webinar, DTSC has posted online a background memo [PDF] discussing various approaches for product category identification and posing questions to the Panel soliciting recommendations. The approaches identified in the memo are:

  • Hazard Trait and Endpoint Screening
  • Route of Exposure
  • Chemical Prioritization
  • Evidence of Exposure
  • Sensitive Subpopulation Prioritization
  • Nomination Process

According to the agenda [PDF], the webinar will also include an update from DTSC staff on the SCP program and the status of the Work Plan. In addition, staff will accept comments from the public on agenda items. Specifics on how to participate in the webinar are available here.

Priority Products workshop: California's Safer Consumer Products program continues to develop.

Yesterday, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) held the second of three public workshops on its initial Priority Products in Oakland. These workshops are being held to elicit feedback from stakeholders before the start of the formal rulemaking process, which is anticipated to begin in late June.

In his introductory presentation, DTSC Branch Chief of the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program Karl Palmer explained that only three (instead of the possible five) Priority Products were initially chosen because the agency wanted to be deliberate, slow, accurate, and effective in rolling out the new SCP program. Palmer also noted that the agency was developing a new data system that may be available as soon as August, which would manage confidential business information (CBI) in submissions to the agency as well as rulemaking processes.

Agency staff explained various refinements that have been made since the first public workshop, focusing on revisions to the Priority Product profiles. Responding to industry comments, the profiles now contain a second-page “disclaimer” explaining that the profiles are non-regulatory documents showing a “snapshot in time” of the agency’s thinking, and are not meant to assert that certain products cannot be used safely, or to endorse alternatives. At the workshop, various commenters from the chemical industry continued to push back that the profile for Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Systems contained inaccurate information and should require a more explicit disclaimer.

In addition to the profiles, product definitions have been revised on the program’s draft regulatory concepts [PDF]. Agency staff noted that, as shown in this document with strikeouts, the SPF definition was narrowed to focus only on applying unreacted diisocyanates to produce rigid foam. The regulatory concepts draft also updates the definition of paint strippers containing methylene chloride from the one contained in the Priority Product profile, now removing reference to surface cleaners, which are already barred from containing methylene chloride under the California Air Resources Board (CARB) General Consumer Products Regulation.

A general theme repeated throughout the workshop was that DTSC was eager to accept information from stakeholders, especially quantitative data on the products’ markets and supply chains, and the availability or viability of alternative products.

The third public workshop will take place on June 4 in Los Angeles. More information, including how to register to attend or file comments, is available on the Safer Consumer Products Workshops page. That page also links to various new documents, including presentations from the workshops. DTSC continues to accept comments on the Priority Products before rulemaking begins, through June 30.

Looking ahead, DTSC will release a three-year Work Plan and hold a public workshop on it in the late summer. The Work Plan, which should be finalized by October 1, 2014, will identify product categories the agency plans to consider next. Draft guidance on alternatives assessments, including input from the Green Ribbon Science Panel, is expected by the end of the year.