US cleaning industry faces more aggressive chemical rules

28 January 2010 00:03  [Source: ICIS news]

ORLANDO, Florida (ICIS news)--The US Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) expects more aggressive chemical regulations coming from government agencies in 2010, officials from the trade group said on Wednesday.

California’s Green Chemistry initiative is one of their biggest concerns, said Richard Sedlak, SDA’s senior vice president of technical and international affairs. He was speaking at the organisation’s annual meeting in Orlando. 

“By the end of this year, we expect a final rule concerning the Safer Alternatives Regulation (AB 1879) to come out under the California Green Chemistry initiative. This rule is likely to include specific product categories including cleaning products,” Sedlak said.

He added: “Certain cleaning products containing a chemical of concern may need an alternative assessment and product manufacturers will be burdened with the cost to do this.”

Another part of the Green Chemistry initiative is prioritising ingredient disclosure, said Michelle Radecki, SDA’s general counsel.

The SDA said it will make sure that the Green Chemistry initiative will not lead to unnecessary product or ingredient bans by continuing to be involved in the ongoing dialogue with California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), which handles the implementation of the initiative.

The SDA also expects more aggressive regulation proposals coming from the federal level.

“The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is more energised and aggressive this year in implementing their chemical action plans as well as examining the practice of confidential business information (CBI),” Radecki said.

Under the EPA’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), companies may claim a range of sensitive, proprietary information as confidential business information. Radecki noted the importance of confidential business information in promoting innovation within the cleaning products industry.

“Without CBI, innovation is lost for cleaning products companies,” she said.

The SDA also expects issues coming out from the “Household Product Labeling Act” introduced in 2009 by Senator Al Franken and Representative Steve Israel. The proposed rule would require disclosure of all ingredients, including fragrances, dyes and preservatives, on product labels.

“This proposal could easily become part of the TSCA reform legislation. In response to this proposal we quickly provided information on our own voluntary ingredients communication initiative,” Radecki said.

The SDA and the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) launched its voluntary ingredient communication initiative early this month, where member companies producing cleaning, air care, automotive, polishes and floor maintenance products are now voluntarily providing their ingredients via their websites, product labels, toll-free numbers and other non-electronic media.

Radecki said 99% of SDA members are already in compliance with the initiative.

The SDA meeting ends on Saturday.

Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives in Green Chemistry
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By: Doris de Guzman
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