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April 20, 2015

DTSC Releases Final Priority Product Work Plan

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

On April 16, 2015, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released its much anticipated Final Priority Product Work Plan under the Safer Consumer Products Regulations. The Work Plan, initially proposed on September 12, 2014, describes product categories it will use to evaluate and identify product-chemical combinations to be added to the Priority Products. The purpose of the Work Plan is to provide a “level of predictability to potential manufacturers, importers, retailers, and other stakeholders regarding the types of products that can be considered for evaluation over the next three years.” The Final Work Plan is available online. More detailed memoranda about the Regulations and the Work Plan are available online.

Almost 350 comments were submitted on the draft Work Plan, although a majority of those comments addressed only one category (fishing and angling). While DTSC has retained all seven Priority Product categories, it has made modest modifications to each category.

Seven Priority Products Categories Identified

DTSC has listed seven product categories, and for each, DTSC has identified subcategories, examples of the types of potential products, and examples of potential Candidate Chemicals.

The categories identified by DTSC are as follows:

Category: Beauty, Personal Care, and Hygiene Products

  • Subcategories: Skin Care Products; Personal Hygiene Products; Hair Care Products; and Cosmetics/Fragrances.
  • Examples: Body wash and soaps; deodorants; lip balms and gloss; lotions; ointments; pomades; hair care products; cosmetics; nail care products; and sunscreen.
  • Potential Candidate Chemicals: Aldehydes; formaldehyde; alkylphenol ethoxylates; azo dyes; coal tars; lead and lead acetate; phthalates; triclosan; and toluene.
  • Changes in Final Work Plan: Sunscreen has been added as an example product. DTSC also provides a list of factors that prompted it to choose this category: (1) the products are designed to be applied to the body, directly exposing users to whatever chemicals they contain; (2) chemical ingredients are sometimes not disclosed on product labels, impeding consumers’ ability to make informed decisions to avoid certain chemicals and making it difficult for workers to know what practices to follow to protect themselves from chemical exposure; (3) some of the chemical ingredients are known to be hazardous to people and wildlife; (4) some chemicals used in these products have been detected in humans in biomonitoring studies, although whether or not the source is personal care products is usually unknown; and (5) these chemicals may pass through wastewater treatment plants and can expose wildlife.

Category: Building Products

  • Subcategories: Flooring, Painting, Adhesives, and Sealants.
  • Examples: Paints and primers; paint and graffiti removers and cleaners; stains and varnishes; adhesives and glues; caulking; sealants; roof coatings; carpeting; carpeting padding engineered wood and laminate flooring; plywood and Oriented Strand Board (OSB) subflooring; and vinyl flooring.
  • Potential Candidate Chemicals: Brominated or chlorinated organic compounds; organophosphates; isocyanates; metals, such as Chromium VI; perfluorochemicals; phthalates; volatile organic compounds, such as formaldehyde, n-hexane, n-methyl pyrrolidone, and toluene.
  • Changes in Final Work Plan: Carpet padding and OBS subflooring and laminate flooring have been added as example products, while compressed wood flooring has been eliminated as an example product. Although not listed in the category examples, DTSC states among the changes from the draft work plan that wall coverings with flame retardants have been added as an example product. DTSC also provides a list of factors that prompted it to choose this category: (1) products in these categories are used by virtually all members of society; (2) these products contain a wide range of Candidate Chemicals with known hazard traits; (3) use of the products indoors, where air exchange is slow, causes longer exposures to higher levels of certain Candidate Chemicals; (4) people who work regularly with building products face even higher risk of exposure; (5) products in these categories have clear pathways for exposing children to Candidate Chemicals by ingestion: they release chemicals into household dust that toddlers ingest when they put their hands in their mouths after crawling on the floor; (6) flame-retardant and stain-resistant Candidate Chemicals used in home furnishings have been detected in household dust and in human biomonitoring studies; and (7) the incidence of childhood asthma has increased significantly in recent decades and Candidate Chemicals that cause or worsen asthma are found in building products.

Category: Household, Office Furniture, and Furnishings

  • Subcategories: Fabric/Textile Furnishings; Household/Office Furniture; and Ornamental Furnishings.
  • Examples: Bedding; fabric and textile furnishings; seating and sofas; and curtains.
  • Potential Candidate Chemicals: Brominated or chlorinated organic compounds, organophosphates; and perfluorinated compounds.
  • Changes in Final Work Plan: Curtains has been added as an example product. DTSC states that it is limiting the scope of Candidate Chemicals that it will evaluate, and does not intend to consider products in this category that do not contain flame retardants or perfluorinated compounds.

Category: Cleaning Products

  • Subcategories: None Identified.
  • Examples: Air fresheners; floor cleaners; oven cleaners; bathroom cleaners; carpet cleaners; detergents; floor waxes and wax removers; general purpose cleaners; scouring cleaners; spot removers; window cleaners; and deodorizers.
  • Potential Candidate Chemicals: Alkylphenol ethyoxylates; hydrogen fluoride; phthalates; triclosan; and volatile organic compounds, such as n-hexane, methyl ethyl ketone, n-methyl pyrrolidone, toluene, and xylene.
  • Changes in Final Work Plan: Wax removers and deodorizers have been added as example products.

Category: Clothing

  • Subcategories: None Identified.
  • Examples: Full body wear; lower body wear; sleepwear; sportswear; underwear; and upper body wear.
  • Potential Candidate Chemicals: Alkylphenol ethoxylates; aromatic amines and azo dyes; perfluorochemicals; formaldehyde; phthalates; and triclosan.
  • Changes in Final Work Plan: Chlorinated paraffins, halogenated compounds, and organophosphates have been eliminated as potential candidate chemicals. DTSC states that it will exclude consideration of protective wear intended exclusively for occupational safety.

Category: Office Machinery (Consumable Products)

  • Subcategories: None Identified.
  • Examples: Ink cartridges; thermal paper; and toner cartridges.
  • Potential Candidate Chemicals: Azo dyes; bisphenols; phthalates; and volatile organic compounds, such as hexane, toluene, and xylene.
  • Changes in Final Work Plan: DTSC has clarified the scope of example products in this category by identifying ink cartridges instead of printer inks, and also thermal paper instead of specialty paper. DTSC removed benzaldehyde as a potential candidate chemical.

Category: Fishing and Angling Equipment

  • Subcategories: None Identified.
  • Examples: Fishing weights and gear.
  • Potential Candidate Chemicals: Metals.
  • Changes in Final Work Plan: DTSC modified the scope of this category by stating that it is most concerned about fishing weights and gear that might be consumed by water fowl due to characteristics of size, shape, and density. DTSC states it will not focus on weights or gear not likely to be ingested by waterfowl (e.g., large weights such as those typically used for off-shore salmon fishing).


The Work Plan is important because these categories now will be the focus of DTSC’s efforts for the next three years as DTSC narrows these broad categories to specific product-chemical combinations that warrant consideration as potential Priority Products. DTSC also provides useful guidance by stating its expectations for proposing product-chemical combinations. Specifically, DTSC states that in 2015 it will list “as many as three,” and in 2016 and 2017 it anticipates selecting more than five products each year.

DTSC states that “[m]ultiple iterations of research and stakeholder engagement may be necessary to properly identify and define products in advance of rulemaking.” DTSC will begin gathering information about potential Priority Products via extensive research, data call-ins, and public workshops.

Manufacturers, importers, and retailers of consumer products in the categories listed by DTSC in the Work Plan should begin reviewing their products and determining if a particular chemical-product combination might not satisfy listing criteria or other information of which DTSC should be aware, with regard to any potential chemical-product combinations that DTSC may be investigating. Manufacturers, importers, and retailers of products not included in the categories listed by DTSC, but other products that contain the substances driving DTSC’s concern, should also consider the implications of the presence of such substances, as product targeting efforts could increase as a result of the Work Plan.