Canada begins phase-in of GHS with Hazardous Products Regulation.

Earlier this month, Canada published final regulations implementing the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. The Hazardous Products Regulation (HPR) aligns closely with the United States’ Hazard Communication Standard and the United Nations’ fifth revision of the GHS. The HPR harmonizes criteria for hazard classification, labels, and safety data sheets, but will not otherwise change the roles and responsibilities for suppliers, employers and workers. A goal of GHS is to allow chemical suppliers to use “a single label and SDS for each hazardous product.”

Adoption of the HPR marks the beginning of Canada’s three-phase transition to GHS, similar to the U.S. approach to implementing GHS. Canada’s transition is scheduled to be completed by December 1, 2018.

EPA’s chemicals outlook for 2015.

Jim Jones, the EPA Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, writes in Chemical Watch that his highest priority in 2015 is “to continue building on the progress” of the last few years in making a “credible” program to manage existing chemicals, “despite the widely acknowledged shortcomings of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).” In his outlook for 2015, Assistant Administrator Jones highlighted progress on the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments as well as various regulatory actions.

Assistant Administrator Jones noted that in 2014, EPA completed final assessments on four chemical substances. Of those, the assessments for trichloroethylene (TCE) and methylene chloride (DCM) identified health risks to consumers and workers working with the chemicals. In 2015, the agency intends to negotiate for voluntary risk reduction measures with TCE and DCM manufacturers, but would turn to TSCA § 6 to mandate risk management – a regulatory tool EPA has not used in 28 years. Under the TSCA Work Plan, assessments scheduled for 2015 will address the following:

  • N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP) in paint stripper products;
  • three clusters of related chemicals, used as flame retardants;
  • several uses of 1-Bromopropane (1-BP); including occupational uses of 1-BP in dry-cleaning and foam gluing operations, consumer uses in aerosol solvent cleaners and spray adhesives;
  • 1,4-Dioxane; and
  • long- and medium-chained chlorinated paraffins used as metal working and compounding agents and its effects on ecological receptors.

EPA has a variety of regulatory actions planned for 2015. The agency plans to finalize a rule regulating formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, thus making national the emissions standard already in place in California. In addition, EPA will make a determination on “whether renovations in commercial and public buildings create a hazard from lead-based paint.” Assistant Administrator Jones also announced that the agency will, in late 2015 or early 2016, propose the modification of existing use authorizations for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in several contexts. Finally, Assistant Administrator jones noted that 2015 would mark a “turning point” for the agency’s green chemistry programs as incentives and obstacles to adoption of greener chemistries are identified.

Other items on EPA’s agenda for 2015 include:

California's new SCP law may threaten trade secrets.

Under California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program, discussed last week, manufacturers may be required to publicly disclose the ingredients of those products that contain one or more chemicals deemed hazardous by the DTSC.

The regulations require DTSC to evaluate a list of Candidate Chemicals for development of an initial “Priority Products” list. (See overview [PDF]). If manufacturers of products on the Priority Products list choose not to remove the relevant chemicals, they will be required to disclose all product ingredients in an Alternatives Analysis (AA) report. The AA reports will include:

  • the quantities of chemicals of concern used;
  • the function of these chemicals and rationale behind their use;
  • the brand and product names under which a product containing a chemical is sold or used;
  • the identities of both the manufacturer and importer; potential adverse impacts associated with the product;
  • disposal and handling requirements; and
  • possible alternative chemicals the company has considered using.

DTSC will post these reports online and email them to interested parties for public review and comment. The state will also publicly announce notices of ongoing review, compliance, deficiency and disapproval.

The disclosure requirements may present potential hurdles to companies seeking to comply with the SCP regulations. First, companies that may not know the complete chemical make-up of their product ingredients will have to research their suppliers to gather more detailed information on their supply chains. Given the size of California’s economy, its product regulations could greatly affect global supply chains beyond state borders; if companies marketing products in California choose to reformulate their products in response to the SCP program, the impact will likely be felt throughout the country. Second, protecting confidential business information (CBI) might also complicate disclosure because, although some ingredients may be redacted if they are considered trade secrets, DTSC is entitled to deny such claims under certain circumstances.

Companies seeking to comply with the new rules may benefit from reviewing and documenting their strategies to protect trade secrets. Certain documentation is required by DTSC to substantiate trade secret claims. Companies may want to consider seeking patent protection for new products, new formulations of existing products, or new manufacturing methods. There may also be additional limited opportunities to obtain patents for existing products under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.

California’s Safer Consumer Products program launches.

As October begins, California’s long-awaited Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program is finally launching as the first step in carrying out the state’s Green Chemistry Initiative. The regulations implementing the program go into effect today, October 1, 2013. The state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will administer the SCP program, which identifies potentially harmful products and requires manufacturers to evaluate their safety and, if necessary, reformulate with safer alternatives or otherwise decrease risks. In addition, the SCP website has launched with some new features: an informational list of candidate chemicals and a Toxics Information Clearinghouse.

We have discussed the development of the SCP regulations over the past several months on this blogWriting in ChemicalWatch, DTSC Director Debbie Raphael describes the regulations as taking a “preventive approach to keeping dangerous chemicals out of everyday products,” to help keep consumers safe, while providing industry with “a more predictable process for ensuring product safety” and offering a “competitive advantage for innovators who see an opportunity in the growing market for toxic-free or toxic-reduced products.” The SCP program contrasts with the piecemeal, chemical-by-chemical approach which state regulators have previously used, as well as the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which generally does not require safety testing for existing chemicals in consumer products.

The DTSC has made available an initial candidate chemicals informational list, which includes 164 substances. The agency describes this list as a “subset” of Candidate Chemicals that meet the two regulatory criteria (based on hazard traits and exposure potential) for developing the initial list of “Priority Products” which will be evaluated for safety. Those seeking revisions to the Candidate Chemicals list may submit a petition to the agency, which will post proposed revisions online for public review and comment before adopting regulations to enact them; however, the SCP regulations do not allow petitions “to remove an entire chemicals list” until October 2016. The DTSC is required to identify the first Priority Products by April 2014.

The Toxics Information Clearinghouse (TIC) is a decentralized, publicly-accessible system for information on certain chemicals. The TIC is initially using an open approach as a web-based portal to both public and private information sources on chemical hazard traits and environmental and toxicological endpoint data. The TIC was authorized separately from the SCP program by legislation passed in 2008, and represents another of the DTSC’s six policy recommendations for implementing the California Green Chemistry Initiative.

Verdant Proudly Sponsors Prop.65 Clearinghouse's Green Chemistry Conference

Green Chemistry:

Verdant is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the Prop.65 Clearinghouse Green Chemistry Annual Conference.  This year’s conference will be held on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, at the The City Club of San Francisco, 155 Sansome Street.

  • Verdant attorney, Philip Moffat, will present on “REACH 2013.”
  • Verdant attorney, Catherine Lin, will present on “Supply Chain Management.”

More information about the conference is available here and an agenda is available here.   A copy of Mr. Moffat’s presentation is available here [PDF].

CIEL Report Claims Regulation Stimulates Chemical Innovation

Chemical Regulation/Innovation:

Earlier this month, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) released its report, Driving Innovation: How stronger laws help bring safer chemicals to market.  In the report, CIEL offers research showing that stronger laws foster innovation by large and small companies alike.  Among other things,CIEL cites the number of patents for alternative chemicals filed every time there’s new chemical regulation. CIEL is located in Washington, D.C. and Geneva, Switzerland.  More information about CIEL is available here.

Forbes magazine recently published an article on this same topic, citing the CIEL report among other sources.  That article is available here.

What do others think of this conclusion?

DTSC Requests Public Comment on Another Draft of the Green Chemistry Regulations

California Green Chemistry Regulations:

The saga of California’s nascent Green Chemistry program continues. Last week, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released the revised text (PDF) of its proposed Safer Consumer Product Regulations. The comment period for the revisions started on January 29 and closes on February 28, 2013.

Notably, the revised rules significantly pare down the list of potential Chemicals of Concern (COCs), which are now referred to as “Candidate Chemicals,” from over 3,000 to approximately 1,200. The Candidate Chemicals  are drawn from lists of substances which exhibit one or more hazard trait. The revisions also clarify that the list of Priority Products to be regulated will be developed and updated through the Administrative Procedure Act rulemaking process.

In addition, DTSC modified the applicability of upfront exemptions for certain products, providing an exemption for products already regulated by other laws that provide comparable health and environmental protections. However, products which are manufactured, stored, or transported through California solely for use outside of the state, or used in California solely for the manufacture of non-consumer products will no longer be exempted, although these factors will be considered in the product prioritization process.

Requirements for the certification and accreditation of assessors involved in developing Alternatives Analyses (AA) have been relaxed in favor of a public review and comment process for AA reports, a choice that seems likely to increase the administrative burden and place confidential business information at greater risk. The scope of evaluating economic impacts for AA reports has also been limited to “a monetized comparison of public health and environmental costs, and costs to governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations that manage waste, oversee environmental cleanup and restoration efforts, and/or are charged with protecting natural resources, water quality, and wildlife.”

Finally, DTSC’s ability to make regulatory responses has been further refined and clarified. For example, the revised proposal requires DTSC to provide notice (with accompanying public comment period) of its proposed regulatory response determination no later than 90 days after it issues a notice of compliance or disapproval for a submitted AA report. The revised proposal also limits the agency’s ability to impose certain regulatory responses on manufacturers only, and not on retailers or importers.

More details on the revised proposed regulations, including how to submit comments and a comprehensive summary of changes from the agency’s last proposal, are available on the DTSC’s website.

DTSC Reopens Comment Period on Green Chemistry Regulations

California Green Chemistry:

On December 20, DTSC delivered everyone an early Christmas present.  The agency announced that it was re-opening the docket to accept public comments on yet another revised version of the Safer Consumer Product Alternative (SCPA) Regulations.  The agency’s announcement is embedded below.  Merry Christmas – better scratch those holiday plans and get back to work!  Surely some are asking themselves “When will this stop and the litigation begin?”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

30 DAY PUBLIC NOTICE AND COMMENT PERIOD

NOTICE OF PUBLIC AVAILABILITY OF POST-HEARING CHANGES

SAFER CONSUMER PRODUCT ALTERNATIVES

Department Reference Number: R-2011-02

Office of Administrative Law Notice File Number: Z-2012-0717-04

Pursuant to Government Code section 11347.1, notice is hereby given that the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has revised the Initial Statement of Reasons (ISOR) for the Safer Consumer Product Regulations, which establish the criteria for identification and prioritization of chemicals of concern in consumer products, evaluation of their alternatives, and imposition of regulatory responses by adopting chapter 55 to division 4.5 of Title 22, California Code of Regulations, and to amend the Table of Contents. DTSC is revising the ISOR to correct: typographical, spelling, cross-referencing, punctuation and other formatting errors. In addition, DTSC has revised the ISOR to address some substantive drafting issues raised regarding the ISOR. These include, but are not limited to, making more explicit the necessity statement for each provision.

 DTSC mailed the 45-day Public Notice and made it, together with the regulations text and related materials, available for public review and comment on July 27, 2012. A public hearing was held on September 10, 2012, during which DTSC accepted written and oral testimony. In addition, written comments were accepted during the 45-day public comment period, which was extended by 30 days and ended October 11, 2012. DTSC has now made post-hearing changes to the ISOR. DTSC is NOT proposing changes to the regulations text as part of this notice and related public comment period.

 A public comment period for the revised ISOR will commence on December 21, 2012, and close at 5 p.m. on January 22, 2013. Interested persons may submit comments regarding the revised ISOR by e-mail to gcregs@dtsc.ca.gov, by fax to (916) 323-5542, or by mail to:

Ms. Krysia Von Burg

Regulations Coordinator

Department of Toxic Substances Control

P.O. Box 806

Sacramento, CA 95812-0806

 Copies of the revised ISOR are posted to DTSC’s Internet site at: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/LawsRegsPolicies/Regs/index.cfm and http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/SCPRegulations.cfm and are available for public inspection between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Regulations Section located at 1001 I Street, 23rd Floor, Sacramento, California. Requests and inquiries concerning this matter may be directed to Ms. Krysia Von Burg at the address indicated above or by telephone at (916) 324-2810. Additions to the existing text are double-underlined and text deleted from the existing document is shown as strikeout.

 All comments must be received by DTSC by 5:00 P.M. on January 22, 2013, regardless of the form of transmission.

 Technical inquiries regarding the Revised Initial Statement of Reasons should be directed to Ms. Odette Madriago, Chief Deputy Director, at (916) 323-4927. However, it should be noted that oral inquiries are not part of the rulemaking record.   

30 DAY PUBLIC NOTICE AND COMMENT PERIOD 

NOTICE OF PUBLIC AVAILABILITY OF POST-HEARING CHANGES

 

SAFER CONSUMER PRODUCT ALTERNATIVES

 

Department Reference Number: R-2011-02

Office of Administrative Law Notice File Number: Z-2012-0717-04

 

 

Pursuant to Government Code section 11347.1, notice is hereby given that the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has revised the Initial Statement of Reasons (ISOR) for the Safer Consumer Product Regulations, which establish the criteria for identification and prioritization of chemicals of concern in consumer products, evaluation of their alternatives, and imposition of regulatory responses by adopting chapter 55 to division 4.5 of Title 22, California Code of Regulations, and to amend the Table of Contents. DTSC is revising the ISOR to correct: typographical, spelling, cross-referencing, punctuation and other formatting errors. In addition, DTSC has revised the ISOR to address some substantive drafting issues raised regarding the ISOR. These include, but are not limited to, making more explicit the necessity statement for each provision.

 

DTSC mailed the 45-day Public Notice and made it, together with the regulations text and related materials, available for public review and comment on July 27, 2012. A public hearing was held on September 10, 2012, during which DTSC accepted written and oral testimony. In addition, written comments were accepted during the 45-day public comment period, which was extended by 30 days and ended October 11, 2012. DTSC has now made post-hearing changes to the ISOR. DTSC is NOT proposing changes to the regulations text as part of this notice and related public comment period.

 

A public comment period for the revised ISOR will commence on December 21, 2012, and close at 5 p.m. on January 22, 2013. Interested persons may submit comments regarding the revised ISOR by e-mail to gcregs@dtsc.ca.gov, by fax to (916) 323-5542, or by mail to:

Ms. Krysia Von Burg

Regulations Coordinator

Department of Toxic Substances Control

P.O. Box 806

Sacramento, CA 95812-0806

 

Copies of the revised ISOR are posted to DTSC’s Internet site at: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/LawsRegsPolicies/Regs/index.cfm and http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/SCPRegulations.cfm and are available for public inspection between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Regulations Section located at 1001 I Street, 23rd Floor, Sacramento, California. Requests and inquiries concerning this matter may be directed to Ms. Krysia Von Burg at the address indicated above or by telephone at (916) 324-2810. Additions to the existing text are double-underlined and text deleted from the existing document is shown as strikeout.

 

All comments must be received by DTSC by 5:00 P.M. on January 22, 2013, regardless of the form of transmission.

 

Technical inquiries regarding the Revised Initial Statement of Reasons should be directed to Ms. Odette Madriago, Chief Deputy Director, at (916) 323-4927. However, it should be noted that oral inquiries are not part of the rulemaking record.  

DTSC Requests Public Comment on Scientific Peer Review of Green Chemistry Regulations

California Green Chemistry Regulations:

Yesterday, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) notified the public that the agency is adding two external scientific peer review reports to the Safer Consumer Products rulemaking, which was published in the California Regulatory Notice Register (Z-2012-0717-04)on July 27, 2012.  A public comment period for the external scientific peer review reports will commence on November 30, 2012, and close at 5 p.m. on December 30, 2012.

According to the notice, DTSC has complied with Health and Safety Code section 57004 regarding submission of the scientific portions of the proposed safer consumer product regulations to an external scientific peer review. Documents were submitted to scientific peer reviewers through the University of California. Their written reports, which contain an evaluation of the scientific basis of the regulations, have been added to the rulemaking file.  (If truly independent and objective, these comments should make interesting reading, potentially providing ammunition for the legal challenge that seems likely.)

Comments may be submitted by e-mail to gcregs@dtsc.ca.gov, by fax to  (916) 324-1808, or by mail to:

Ms. Krysia Von Burg

Regulations Coordinator

Department of Toxic Substances Control

 P.O. Box 806

 Sacramento, CA 95812-0806

 Tel: (916) 324-2810

 Fax: (916) 324-1808

 The external scientific peer review reports are available at http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/LawsRegsPolicies/Regs/index.cfm or  http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/SCPRegulations.cfm and for public inspection between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Regulations Section located at 1001 I Street, 22nd Floor, Sacramento, California. Requests and inquiries concerning this matter may be directed to Ms. Krysia Von Burg at the address indicated above or by telephone at (916) 324-2810. If Ms. Von Burg is unavailable, please call Ms. Jacqueline Arnold at (916) 322-2004.

Inquiries regarding technical aspects of the external scientific peer review report should be directed to Mr. Jeff Wong at (916) 322-2822. If Mr. Wong is unavailable, please call Ms. Odette Madriago at (916) 323-4927. However, such oral inquiries are not part of the rulemaking record.

EPA Posts List of Safer Chemical Ingredients for DfE Safer Product Labeling Program

Design for the Environment (DfE):

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today posted a List of Safer Chemical Ingredients that contains chemicals that meet stringent criteria applied by the Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Product Labeling Program. This program recognizes products that are high-performance and cost-effective while using the safest chemical ingredients. At present, more than 2,800 common household and other products carry the DfE Safer Product Label. This list of safer chemical ingredients will help product manufacturers identify chemicals that the DfE program has evaluated and identified as safer alternatives.  This list only includes chemicals in products that were voluntarily submitted for evaluation through the DfE Safer Product Labeling Program. There may be other chemicals not included in this list that are also safer. The list and additional information can be found at http://www.epa.gov/dfe/saferingredients.htm You can contact Bridget Williams in EPA’s DfE Program at 202-564-8558 or by email at williams.bridget@epa.gov for further information.