Yesterday, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”) released its draft Stage 1 Alternatives Analysis Guide (“Guide”) under the California Safer Consumer Products program. Public comments are being accepted on the Guide through October 24, 2015, and DTSC is specifically asking commenters to “provide the names of tools, methods, approaches, and data sources not already mentioned, as well as examples for steps and approaches, to complete an [alternatives analysis].”

By way of background, California’s Safer Consumer Products program took effect on October 13, 2013, and seeks to reduce certain chemicals from consumer products. The program establishes a list of “candidate chemicals” of concern and “priority products” that contain candidate chemicals. Candidate chemicals are identified here. Initial priority products include paint stripper with Methylene Chloride; spray polyurethane foam with unreacted MDI; and children’s foam-padded sleeping products with TDCPP (or TCEP).

Manufacturers and other supply-chain participants of priority products will be required to submit priority product notifications to DTSC sixty (60) days after the effective date of the regulation establishing a product-chemical combination as a final priority product. Subsequently, alternatives analyses will be required, in which manufacturers and other supply-chain participants will need to submit information regarding whether there is a “safer” way to make priority products. Thereafter, DTSC is required to implement a regulatory response, which could include mandated product labeling requirements, safety measures, and bans.

Consumer products manufacturers and supply-chain participants are advised to keep abreast of California’s Safer Consumer Products program. Although it has been slow-moving up until this point, required action is on the horizon. Looking ahead in the next few years, DTSC also plans to examine “Beauty, Personal Care, and Hygiene Products,” “Building Products and Household, Office Furniture and Furnishings,” “Cleaning Products,” “Clothing,” “Fishing and Angling Equipment” and “Office Machinery.”