On July 27, 2012, California's Department of Toxic Substances Control ("DTSC") released what might be a final draft of California's green chemistry regulations that are anticipated to be finalized by the end of 2012. The intent of these regulations is to identify particular chemicals of concern in consumer products and then to require industry to prepare "alternatives assessments" to evaluate whether substitute chemicals are economically and technically feasible. In October 2011, DTSC released an earlier draft of the regulations which were strongly criticized by both industry and environmental groups. Significant changes from the prior drafts include the following:
- The number of "chemicals of concern" was reduced from approximately 3,000 to 1,200 (although additional chemicals can always be added);
- The "alternatives assessment" requirements have been relaxed to eliminate requirements to provide information that would be difficult and/or costly to obtain;
- The exemption for products regulated under other laws (i.e., FDA, FIFRA) has been eliminated; and
- Information relating to the potential hazards of a chemical can not be designated as trade secret information.
Notwithstanding these revisions that are clearly intended, at least in part, to address concerns from both industry and environmental groups, it is expected that these draft regulations will trigger many comments from interested parties. DTSC's efforts to address these comments may push the effective date of these regulations into 2013. Click here to go to DTSC's Green Chemistry website for further information on the draft regulations.