California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills moving the state toward a comprehensive green chemistry program to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals in products and the environment. Both bills were approved on September 29, 2008.
AB 1879: Establishes authority for the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to develop regulations that create a process for identifying and prioritizing chemicals of concern and to create methods for analyzing alternatives to existing hazardous chemicals. It also allows DTSC to take certain actions following an assessment that range from no action to restrictions or bans. AB 1879 will empower DTSC to adopt regulations by January 1, 2011 to identify and regulate chemicals of concern in consumer products.
AB 1879 will allow DTSC to pursue regulations that may require some or all of the following: 1) disclosure of information needed to assess a chemical of concern and potential alternatives; 2) labeling or other requirements for identifying consumer product information; 3) restrictions on the use of chemicals in consumer products; 4) prohibition of the use of chemicals in consumer products; 5) limited exposure/access to the chemicals in consumer products; 6) requiring the manufacturer to recycle or properly disposal of consumer products. Link to the bill: http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_1851-1900/ab_1879_bill_20080929_chaptered.pdf
SB 509: Creates an online Toxics Information Clearinghouse, a web-based database, to increase consumer knowledge about the toxicity and hazards of thousands of chemicals used in California every day.
By January 1, 2011 the state’s Office of Health Hazard Assessment will be directed to evaluate and specify the hazard characteristics and environmental and toxicological end points for chemicals and any other relevant data that are to be included in the clearinghouse. The agency will collect and utilize the data collections from both REACH and the Environmental Protection Agency, along with other states, and share its data with those government and regulatory agencies. It is interesting to note that this is the same agency that creates the Proposition 65 lists. Link to the bill: http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/sen/sb_0501-0550/sb_509_bill_20080929_chaptered.pdf
These bills both reflect the influence of REACH on California’s Green Chemistry initiative and would force manufacturers to move to processes that minimize environmental impact. These two bills indicate that California REACH is imminent. As a leader in domestic environmental initiatives, California’s Green Chemistry laws may lead to nationwide REACH awareness and initiatives.