March 1 is fast approaching. It is the deadline for consumer and commercial product companies to complete an electronic submission to the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) “2013 Consumer and Commercial Products Survey” (Survey). Failure to complete the Survey could potentially result in a fine of up to $10,000 per violation, per day. CARB anticipates that as many as 2,000 cleaning, personal care, and other consumer products manufacturers are expected to respond to the survey and provide information on approximately 300,000 products.

Pursuant to California law, CARB is requiring consumer and commercial product companies — including personal care product companies — whose names appear on product labels (a Responsible Party) to complete the Survey by providing detailed information for each covered product sold or supplied for use in California during Calendar Year 2013. By Letter to Industry dated July 10, 2014, CARB notified many potential Responsible Parties of their obligation to participate in the Survey. The Survey is part of CARB’s effort to control ozone pollution by limiting emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which promote ozone formation. CARB plans to use the survey results to update the State of California’s inventory of VOCs to help determine the feasibility of further VOC reductions.

Responsible Parties that complete the Survey will be asked to submit sales data, product labels, product information (product ingredients/product formulations), and chemical supplier data to CARB for the below noted categories of “chemically formulated” consumer or commercial products sold or supplied for use in California, even for products containing little or no VOCs:

  • Adhesives, sealants, and related products;
  • Household and institutional products;
  • Personal care products;
  • Pesticide products;
  • Solvents and thinning-related products;
  • Vehicle and marine vessel aftermarket products; and/or
  • Aerosol coating products.

Specific Products Not Required to be Reported to CARB

  • Drugs (including Rx) or supplements intended for ingestion;
  • Pesticide products that are restricted materials requiring a use permit;
  • Agricultural use products (food production);
  • Architectural coatings (non-aerosol);
  • Articles (sponges, combs, empty bottles, water filters, furniture, etc.);
  • Furniture coatings and paint products that are non-aerosol);
  • Engine fuel treatments, engine flushes, engine oils;
  • Industrial products used for onsite manufacturing/construction of goods (except for lubricants, thinners, reducers, and industrial aerosol adhesives);
  • Laboratory reagents; and/or
  • Refrigerants.

The Survey covers dozens of everyday products, such as deodorants, antiperspirants, cosmetics, hair products, nail polish, air fresheners, arts/crafts supplies, cleaners and degreasers, dishwashing and laundry products, fuels and lighter materials, garden and lawn care products, office supplies, leather care products, herbicides, insecticides, antimicrobial agents, solvents and spray paint, aerosol coatings, and more.

CARB intends to keep “confidential” all Survey submissions. Further, the data will be encrypted as it is entered into the Survey database. Responsible Parties should also check the “confidential business information” box that appears at the upper portion of each Survey screen. In addition, the Survey includes a reporting tool that can be sent to product formulators to complete and submit to CARB directly if the formulator does not want to provide such information to the Responsible Party for direct submission to the Survey.

The Survey also calls for consumer and commercial products companies to report similar products data to CARB for 2014 sales into California (reporting deadline: November 1, 2015) and for 2015 sales (reporting deadline: November 1, 2016). In the past, CARB surveys have been limited to VOC-emitting products, such as hairsprays and styling products. The 2013 Survey, however, applies to most chemically formulated products sold or supplied for use in the state of California.