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August 07, 2012

Safer Chemicals in Consumer Products

Regulation: State may require consumer product makers to seek alternatives to
chemical ingredients of questioned safety.
Manufacturers would have to seek
"safer" alternatives to some 1,200 chemicals used in consumer products under a
regulation a California state agency proposed in late July. Chemicals covered by
the proposed regulation appear on lists compiled by regulatory agencies in North
America and the European Union. For example, it includes substances classified
as known or reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens in the U.S. National
Toxicology Program's Report on Carcinogens and those deemed as
persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic by Environment Canada or the Washington
State Department of Ecology. The proposal is designed to stimulate the market
for safer chemicals and to boost environmental protection, says Deborah O.
Raphael, director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control
(DTSC). It would require a certified assessor to examine alternative chemicals
that pose less risk to health or the environment than the chemicals targeted in
the proposal, explains Jim Marxen, a spokesman for DTSC. The assessments would
scrutinize cost, performance, and accessibility of those alternatives. After a
company provides an assessment of alternatives to DTSC, the agency and the
company will discuss the options for action, including substitution with a safer
substance, Marxen tells C&EN. If such substitution isn't feasible, the
agency may require the manufacturer to ensure the product is used or disposed of
safely or phased out. Environmental and health activists and some businesses
endorse the proposal. Meanwhile, the Green Chemistry Alliance, a broad
California industry group that includes chemical manufacturers, says it is
studying the proposal. Marxen says activists and industry encouraged DTSC not to
"reinvent the wheel" for the proposal and instead rely on widely used,
scientifically credible lists assembled by other regulatory agencies. DTSC will
accept comments on the proposal through mid-September, in advance of finalizing
the regulation. Chemical & Engineering News, 06 August 2012, p.


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