At the request of Linda S. Adams, California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has postponed implementation of the controversial Safer Consumer Product Alternatives Regulations. The regulations, the result of legislation passed by the California State Assembly in 2008 (Chapter 559, Acts of 2008), were designed to
to establish a process by which chemicals of
concern in products, and their potential alternatives, are evaluated
to determine how best to limit exposure or to reduce the level of
hazard posed by a chemical of concern. The regulations would be
required to specify actions that the department may take following
the completion of the analysis, including imposing requirements to
provide additional information, requirements for labeling or other
types of product information, controlling access to or limiting
exposure, managing the product at the end of its useful life, or
funding green chemistry challenge grants, restrictions on the use of
the chemical of concern in the product, or prohibitions on use.
The proposed regulations drew criticism from both the environmental and industrial communities as being both not stringent enough or too stringent and broad. For example, Renee Sharp, California Director of the Environmental Working Group, has been quoted as stating that ". . . we cannot support these [regulations] . . . . they are so far away from anything they are supposed to do. These are worse than nothing.", while John Ulrich, Executive Director of the Chemical Council of California earlier this year criticized the proposed regulations for creating a potential situation where ". . . every chemical in the state of California becomes a potentially regulated chemical and every industry becomes a potentially regulated industry".
In a letter to Assembly Member Mike Feuer, author of the legislation that lead to the proposed regulations, Secretary Adams noted the criticism of the proposed regulations:
A wide range of stakeholders, including those from industry, environmental groups, scientists and legislative leaders, have raised substantive and valid concerns about the most recent draft of the regulations. . . .
. . . . DTSC has agreed to take additional time to be responsive to the concerns raised and revisit the proposed regulations. I believe this extra time will allow us to create a workable program and address critical policy issues . . . .
I have asked DTSC and its regulation development team to reconvene the Green Ribbon Science Panel early next year to further vet the programmatic issues that have been brought to our attention via the public comment process.
As currently proposed, nanomaterials would have been exempted from the regulations, a change which occurred following hearings and public comment. To read the original proposed regulations, see here and here for the revised proposed regulations.