After around 5 years of debate there appears to be progress on the California Safer Consumer Product Regulations which came into force in October 2013.
From over 2350 potential chemicals an initial candidate list of 281 has been established.
If any of these are found in a product then the manufacturer has a choice. Remove the chemical from the product if feasible, withdraw from sale in California or go through a structured process to evaluate the possible use of an alternative.
A list of products that may need evaluating for candidate substances will be published by April 2014, followed by a consultation period, with final publication expected in early 2015.
Examples could include such as nail polish, carpet adhesive, foam cushions, detergents and fluorescent lighting although this needs to be confirmed.
Manufacturers will be responsible for this regulation or, where applicable, the importer or the retailer. The DTSC (Department of Toxic Substances Control) still has to define any penalties.
Safer alternatives will be an integral part of the process and reviews will be in a timely manner. One of the goals of the regulation is to “eliminate regrettable substitutions”.
If this regulation was to spread far and wide across the US then the impact on restriction only directives would be interesting. As ever, activity in the courts could slow progress but this is one definitely worth keeping an eye on.