California's Department of Toxic Substances Control ("DTSC") issued its ninth draft of the Green Chemistry Initiative in an effort to respond to industry criticisms of early versions of the regulations. (See prior blog on Green Chemistry Initiative.) The comment period on this latest draft began on January 29, 2013 and will run through February 28, 2013.
In its latest version of the regulation, DTSC made a number of positive changes (from an industry perspective), including:
- Limiting DTSC's authority to regulate only product ingredients that are on the chemicals of concern list (as opposed to earlier versions of the regulations that would have allowed DTSC to force companies to address product ingredients not on the chemicals of concern list);
- Provides an upfront mechanism for companies to seek exemptions for products regulated under other public health and safety laws;
- Trade secret protections have been revised for the benefit of manufacturers; and
- Providing that the development of the "Priority Products" list will be done through a separate rulemaking process.
Notwithstanding that these revisions were a result (at least in part) of industry comments, the draft regulations significantly expand the list of chemicals that are on chemicals of concern list (adding European Union Category 1 respiratory sensitizers and Clean Water Act 303(d) list chemicals) as well as expanding the scope of the public review and comment provisions. It is expected that these draft regulations will be the subject of extensive comments by both industry and environmental groups. However, the consensus also appears to be that this will be the last set of draft regulations that will be issued by DTSC. At the close of the public comment period on February 28, 2013, it is expected that these regulations will become effective shortly thereafter. Please click here to go to DTSC's Green Chemistry website to see a copy of DTSC's lastest set of draft regulations.