In response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s determination that 1,4-dioxane is a likely human carcinogen, New York and California have both taken action to limit public exposure to the chemical.
Written by Jomarie Garcia, Esq., Senior Regulatory Research Analyst – North America, Verisk 3E
(This post was originally published on the Verisk 3E blog on July 18, 2019. Republished with permission).
Washington state legislators aim to follow California’s example in restricting the use of priority chemicals in products for children and other consumer products. Passed by the legislature on 25 April 2019, An Act Relating to Preventing Toxic Pollution that Affects Public Health or the Environment, Bill No. 5135, is now awaiting the governor’s signature.
Verisk 3E Review
Provided the governor signs it into law, the act would require the Department of Ecology to shortlist five priority chemicals as well as five consumer products that use or are a significant source of these chemicals, every five years.
The criteria for designation as priority chemical include:
- Chemicals identified as a high priority chemical of high concern for children under chapter 70.240 RCW
- Persistent, bioaccumulative toxins (PBT) under chapter 70.105 RCW
- Chemicals in consumer products regulated under chapter 70.240, 70.76, 70.95G, 70.280, 70.285, 70.95M or 70.75A RCW
- Hazardous chemicals regulated under chapter 70.105 or 70.105D RCW
- Chemicals of concern for sensitive populations based on their hazardous traits or toxicological endpoints, their aggregate or cumulative effects, or their potential to degrade or metabolize, among others.
Chemicals that fit the above criteria could be subject to further regulatory action to reduce harmful exposures.
Currently California is the only other state to regulate priority chemicals in similar fashion, under its Safer Consumer Products regulations.
Verisk 3E Analysis
Required to notify
On an annual basis, manufacturers of consumer products and children’s products containing high priority chemicals would need to disclose their ingredients to the department. Based on the information received, the department could restrict the use of priority chemicals in the products described if a safer alternative is available and would reduce the source or use of the chemical. The law defines safer alternative as “an alternative that is less hazardous to humans or the environment than the existing chemical or chemical process. A safer alternative to a particular chemical may include a chemical substitute or a change in materials or design that eliminates the need for a chemical alternative.”
Businesses that fail to comply with the notification requirements could be subject to sanctions that include civil penalties of $5,000 per violation for the first offence and $10,000 per violation for repeated offenses.
If signed, the law would impose strict deadlines on the department to implement the act. The following are the timelines set by statute:
- June 1, 2020: identify priority consumer products that are a significant source of or use significant amounts of priority chemicals
- June 1, 2022: determine regulatory actions regarding the priority chemicals identified on 1 June 2020
- June 1, 2024: select at least five priority chemicals for subsequent review
- June 1, 2025: identify priority consumer products containing the new priority chemicals identified on 1 June 2024
- June 1, 2027: determine regulatory actions for the priority chemicals in the priority products identified on 1 June 2025
- June 1, 2028: adopt rules to implement regulatory actions on the priority consumer products identified on 1 June 2024
Jomarie Garcia is Verisk 3E’s regional lead for regulatory compliance in North America. Trained as a chemist and a lawyer, Garcia plays a significant role assessing regulatory statutes and regulations pertaining to U.S. and Canada. In this capacity, Garcia serves as a liaison for translating regulatory data into accurate content for Verisk 3E’s flagship products, 3E Insight™ for Chemicals and 3E Insight™ for Food and provides ad hoc consulting services.
ABOUT VERISK 3E
Verisk 3E™ delivers intelligent compliance solutions that empower companies to reduce risk, drive continuous improvement, and create new growth opportunities. For 30 years, Verisk 3E has provided clients with the expertise, content, live 24-7-365 environmental health and safety (EHS) support and award winning solutions required to increase chemical and workplace safety, improve product safety and stewardship, strengthen supply chain stewardship, and optimize research and development decision support. Visit www.Verisk3E.com for more information.
This material provided by the Intelex Community and EHSQ Alliance is for informational purposes only. The material may include notification of regulatory activity, regulatory explanation and interpretation, policies and procedures, and best practices and guidelines that are intended to educate and inform you with regard to EHSQ topics of general interest. Opinions are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Intelex. The material is intended solely as guidance and you are responsible for any determination of whether the material meets your needs. Furthermore, you are responsible for complying with all relevant and applicable regulations. We are not responsible for any damage or loss, direct or indirect, arising out of or resulting from your selection or use of the materials.