California chemical regulatory initiative inching forward

24 March 2014 16:47 Source:ICIS News

California chemical regulatory initiative inches into 2014Focus story by Judith Taylor

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The state of California’s expansion into new regulations on chemicals that go into consumer products is inching forward in the first quarter of 2014, according to Paul DeLeo, senior director of environmental safety for the American Cleaning Institute (ACI).

California Safer Consumer Product Regulations (CA SCP regs) became effective 1 October 2013, identifying 1,500 so-called "Candidate Chemicals of Concern" and including about 200 "Initial Candidate Chemicals".

Regulations proposing five Priority Products have been anticipated for release in the first quarter of 2014, with draft guidance on conducting preliminary and final auditing processes expected to be released between the first and second quarters of the year.

The goal of the new regulatory rules is to identify and eliminate potentially toxic chemicals from consumer products.

“From the list of Candidate Chemicals to choose from, they have narrowed to 200 for work,” DeLeo said.

“As of 13 March, they announced two candidate products, one of which is paint stripping using methylene chloride, and another is spray foams using unreacted di-isocyanates,” he added.

Additionally, children’s sleeping pads produced with flame retardants will be reviewed, DeLeo said.

The chemical under review in the sleeping pads is tris 1,3 di-chloro-2-propyl phosphate, or TDCPP.

The regulatory body controlling the protocols and decision-making processes is the California Department of Toxic Substance Control, whose staff of 40 will oversee the investigation of products, the identification of chemical constituents and all the associated paperwork involved with the programme.

A primary target of the new regulations is lowering exposure to potentially toxic chemicals and collecting the metrics to prove toxicity levels.

“I do not think they are going to be able to measure these metrics,” DeLeo said in late 2013.

One feature of the California regulations is that no clear single threshold of acceptable level of a Chemical of Concern in a product standard was declared.

“They are going to be taking this on a case by case basis,” DeLeo said in October when the regulations became effective.

DeLeo has been involved with the evolution of California’s “green” chemicals initiatives for a number of years, following the work from its inception to the official release of the regulations.

In addition to DeLeo’s work on the California regulatory push, the ACI is also monitoring this state’s regulations on chemicals as part of its 2014 protocols, as announced and clarified by the organisation’s committee leadership teams at the ACI annual convention, held in Florida this January.

The ACI is a key player in the US and international cleaning industry in which numerous commodity chemicals are used, including fatty alcohols – the backbone of surfactants – glycerine, fatty acids, glycols and certain oxides.

While the ACI said that it appears Initial Candidate Chemicals do not include any that are directly important to the cleaning products industry, the organisation will continue to closely monitor the evolving regulations and respond to regulatory implementation.

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By Judith Taylor