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December 28, 2010

DTSC Delays Implementation of Safer Consumer Product Alternatives Regulations

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released a December 23, 2010, letter from Linda S. Adams, California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection to Assembly Member Mike Feuer, the author of the 2008 law (A.B. 1879) that would require regulations to address chemicals and chemical ingredients in consumer products. In the letter, Secretary Adams responded to Feuer’s letter outlining his concerns about the DTSC’s November 16, 2010, release of revisions to its “Safer Consumer Product Alternatives” (SCPA) regulations. In addition to Feuer’s letter, the Environmental Working Group and 32 other organizations had submitted a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger urging him to stop implementation of the SCPA regulations.

Although A.B. 1879 requires DTSC to adopt SCPA regulations by January 1, 2011, Adams states that “DTSC has agreed to take additional time to be responsive to the concerns raised and revisit the proposed regulations.” Instead, DTSC and its regulation development team will reconvene the Green Ribbon Science Panel in early 2011 to address the “programmatic issues that have been brought to our attention via the public comment process.” Adams states that “[t]his additional time and expertise will help ensure that the vision behind this component of the Green Chemistry Initiative and implementing statute AB 1879, is fully realized.”

Based on these developments, it would appear that some of the changes in the revised regulations that industry supported could be subject to further discussion and revision. Among these issues are the proposed exemption of nanomaterials; the decision to focus the first five years on children’s products, personal care products, and household cleaning products; and the revised process by which “chemicals of concern” and “priority products” will be identified.

A copy of the letter is available online.