(January 17, 2012) The latest informal draft regulations that deal with chemicals in consumer products create an uncertain regulatory environment that makes investing, innovating and doing business in California substantially riskier.
In comments to the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the California Chamber of Commerce acknowledged some improvements from previous drafts, but reiterated concerns with the broad-reaching impact of these regulations on businesses.
“A fundamental problem with the draft regulations is that DTSC retains so much discretionary power that it virtually eliminates any certainty that a business might have in terms of regulatory treatment,” the CalChamber noted.
‘Chemicals of Concern’
The informal draft for the “Safer Consumer Product Alternatives” regulations was released October 31, 2011.
The regulations call for an immediate list of “Chemicals of Concern,” which the department estimates will include approximately 3,000 chemicals.
The CalChamber pointed out that there is no objective process for prioritizing chemicals to be regulated. The DTSC can decide on a case-by-case basis whether a product exhibiting only trace levels of a chemical of concern still may be subject to regulation.
Moreover, the draft rule requires companies to establish, maintain and fund an end-of-life product stewardship program for a product identified as a hazardous waste in California.
Small Business Impact
Citing the integral role small businesses play in moving the state toward economic recovery, the CalChamber noted that the department can mitigate the impact of the regulations on smaller operations. Examples include extending timelines or providing flexibility and other accommodations needed for smaller firms to compete with their larger counterparts.
The CalChamber also advised the department to proceed with caution and recognize the value of harmonizing the program with work previously done on chemical use regulation in the European Union and other states and countries.
The CalChamber urged the DTSC to work toward a process that is reasonable, workable and creates certainty for all businesses in the consumer product supply chain without jeopardizing health and environmental quality or creating greater burdens that will further delay the state’s economic recovery.
The DTSC is expected to release an updated draft later next month before issuing the final regulations later this year.
Staff Contact: Brenda M. Coleman