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Chemical Industry Council of California

Business Coalition Voices Concerns Over Impending Rules on Green Chemistry





The Chemical Industry Council of California, along with a broad coalition of trade associations and companies, expressed concerns this week to the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) over draft green chemistry regulations that are expected to be released in the next several weeks.  In a 10-page letter to DTSC Acting Director Maziar Movassaghi, the Green Chemistry Alliance (GCA)* outlined its concerns surrounding several problematic regulatory concepts that DTSC has indicated may be included in the green chemistry regulations.  GCA has worked with the department since the passage of the Green Chemistry Initiative in 2008 to craft regulations that are workable, practical, grounded in generally accepted scientific principles, and that follow the intent and vision of the law.  That law, authorized by AB 1879 (Feuer; D-Los Angeles, Chapter 559) and SB 509 (Simitian; D-Palo Alto, Chapter 560), gives DTSC broad authority to regulate the use of potentially hazardous substances in consumer products.


Problematic Concepts

Although the draft regulations have not yet been released, the concerns articulated in the coalition letter are based on summary documents that have been provided by DTSC to the public, ongoing conversations with the department, and presentations made by the department's Green Ribbon Science Panel.  CICC notes that while significant progress has been made since the release of DTSC's "Straw 2" proposal seven months ago serious issues will likely still need to be addressed in the draft regulations. "In our opinion, the proposed regulations are much improved from those which were proposed last year at this time; still our job is not finished.  CICC will remain thoroughly engaged on behalf of our members for as long as it takes," said John Ulrich, CICC Executive Director.


Areas of Concern

In the letter, the GCA acknowledges that although the impending draft regulation will be just that—a draft—the details are critical and could have sweeping ramifications on virtually all industry sectors that manufacture or sell consumer products in the state. Some of the primary points made in the letter are as follows:


  • The process of prioritizing and evaluating chemicals in products must be based on exposure as well as hazard, and avoid duplicative and conflicting regulatory requirements.


  • Regulations should apply only to intentionally added ingredients that serve a functional purpose at or above 0.1 percent, consistent with other state, federal and international systems by which manufacturers are currently regulated.


  • If DTSC fails to implement a science-based approach to screening out products with low likelihood of harm, the program will surely collapse under its own weight.


  • DTSC should ensure that the regulations anticipate and fully leverage the wealth of quality information on chemicals in commerce from government agencies and inter-governmental bodies around the world as required by AB 1879.


  • DTSC must ensure that the regulations are crafted in a manner that utilizes both public and private resources as efficiently and effectively as possible.


  • The regulations should provide the option for manufacturers to conduct the alternatives assessment of the chemical in question.


  • Confidential business information must be protected. The ability to protect certain information from competitors is essential to defending the competitive position of companies in the marketplace.


  • A third party certification process for alternatives assessments it must be an option for manufacturers—not a mandate.


  • The regulatory enforcement provisions should provide for industry safeguards and flexibility in regulatory actions.


  • The coalition is highly opposed to certificates of compliance for all priority products whether in compliance or exempt from regulation.


  • The draft regulations must ensure that manufacturer compliance with the program does not lead to excessively burdensome economic impacts.


Workable Rules

The CICC and the GCA are working to promote a workable and practical approach that is grounded in generally accepted scientific principles and follows the intent and vision of the green chemistry law.  By meeting the goals outlined in the coalition letter, DTSC can help ensure that the regulations are designed in an effective and cost-efficient manner so that California's economy and the environment are protected.  CICC wishes to acknowledge and thank Robert Callahan of CalChamber for this excellent summary of GCA's 10 page letter



* The Green Chemistry Alliance (GCA) has its roots in a group of over 100 state and national business trade associations and companies which have long advocated for a science-based framework for chemicals management. GCA was formalized for the purpose of constructively informing the implementation effort such that the promulgated regulations remain true to the objective and scientific ideals of the authorizing legislation.  The GCA is co-chaired by John Ulrich (CICC) and Dawn Sanders-Koepke (The McHugh Group)

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