California Proposes Major Overhaul of Consumer Product Safety Rules

On July 27, 2012, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control proposed sweeping new rules for the regulation of chemicals in consumer products in the state.

The rules, known as the “Safer Consumer Products” regulations, will impose significant new burdens on companies that sell products in the Golden State, writes Amy Westervelt in Forbes:

“The regulations will require manufacturers of selected products sold in California to identify safer alternatives to a potential range of 3,000 chemicals known to be harmful to public health and the environment.”(California Moves To Phase Out Harmful Chemicals)

We’ll post additional updates on the new rules as they come in. In the meantime, three takeaways:

1. The cost of doing business in the state just went up:

“Compliance with the new regulations will be costly and burdensome. Regulated entities should be mindful of potential marketplace effects of non-protectable, publicly posted product information, and should be sensitive to the possibility, for example, that Proposition 65 plaintiffs may use such information as the basis for enforcement actions.” (California Finally Releases Safer Consumer Products Regulations by McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP)

2. The impact will reach beyond California’s borders:

“As DTSC touts, the Safer Consumer Product regulations are among the first comprehensive, state-level efforts to require safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals and are viewed as a potential national model for chemical policy reform. Should these green chemistry regulations be adopted, it will mark a significant milestone in the regulation of chemicals and products that will have lasting impacts beyond the state of California.” (California Proposes (Again) Safer Consumer Product Regulations by Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP)

3. Speak now, or forever hold your peace:

“The 45-day public comment period for the proposed regulations, which closes on September 11, 2012, is an important opportunity for affected stakeholders to participate and potentially influence the rulemaking process. This public comment process is the last chance for companies that want to preserve their right to challenge any aspect of the regulation in court to establish a record upon which to do so.” (Next Generation of Consumer Product Rules: California Issues Draft Green Chemistry Regulations by Morrison & Foerster LLP)

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