California Launches Program To Reduce Toxic Chemicals in Products

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On Thursday, California Department of Toxic Substances regulators launched a program that will require manufacturers to eliminate chemicals known to cause illnesses, such as cancer, from their products, the Contra Costa Times reports.

According to the Times, the Safer Consumer Products program has been planned for six years and is the first of its kind in the U.S.

Details of Program

In the first round of the program, regulators said they will target three chemicals to be reduced or eliminated from products:

  • Diisocyanates, which is found in foam used to weatherproof buildings and has been linked to asthma, cancer, lung damage and respiratory ailments;
  • Methylene, a chloride carcinogen found in paint removers and surface cleaners; and
  • TDCPP -- also known as Tris -- a flame retardant used in furniture and mattresses that has been linked to cancer.

In October, the state will release a second list of harmful chemicals that companies must reduce or eliminate.

Companies that do not comply with the new regulations could be forced to label their ingredients and the state could ban the sale of their products by 2016.

Reaction

Kathleen Curtis, national coordinator for the Alliance for Toxic-Free Fire Safety, called the program "huge" and a "smart strategic move by the state of California."

Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy at the Breast Cancer Fund in San Francisco, said, "It will have a ripple effect though the larger industry," adding, "It's a brilliant one-two punch."

However, the American Chemistry Council, a trade organization representing chemical manufacturers in the U.S., in a statement said, "[W]e share the goal of chemical safety but are disappointed that today's announcement included products that are already being actively evaluated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency" (Somerville, Contra Costa Times, 3/13).


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