California’s Green Chemistry Initiative – the safer consumer product regulations


With the largest consumer market in the nation, California has adopted new regulations to implement its Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI), a bold new environmental law to identify and restrict toxic chemicals in consumer products sold in the state. The law requires a new life-cycle “alternatives analysis” to evaluate alternatives and substitutes for hazardous substances in consumer products based not only upon their risk during product use, but also during their manufacture and after disposal. The state may then condition, restrict or ban the use of those chemicals in the products of concern. 

Implications for Consumer Product Manufacturers, Suppliers and Retailers

  • The law will broadly affect the global supply chains of manufacturers, suppliers and retailers of a wide variety of consumer products.
  • The structure and regulatory requirements are innovative, untested and potentially expensive in terms of compliance and responding to enforcement.
  • The state will set national and cross-border precedents for the regulation of chemicals in consumer products.
  • The law poses problems for protection of proprietary information and trade secrets.
  • Planning for these complex regulations is a must for every consumer product company.

Green Chemistry Initiative Resources

The law is contained in California’s Assembly Bill 1879 (AB 1879), Senate Bill 509 (SB 509) and the Safer Consumer Product Regulations, which were approved by the Office of Administrative Law on August 28, 2013 and became effective on October 1, 2013. We will be updating this page regularly with client alerts, links and presentations in order to provide you with updates and in-depth analyses of this initiative.

Client Alerts

Press Articles

Other Resources

Need Help?

MoFo lawyers have worked on product stewardship and chemical use issues since the 1980s, including in agency rulemaking, litigation and requirements imposed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Act, California’s Proposition 65, EU’s REACH, RoHS and WEEE Directives, as well as China RoHS. We have followed the scientific debate on the Green Chemistry Initiative throughout its history and can help you understand how the new regulations may affect your business operations, including:

  • Determining how these regulations impact your products and developing an appropriate compliance strategy;
  • Assessing the interaction between California’s new rules and the federal and international requirements on your business, including Section 5 (new chemicals) and Section 14 (disclosure of data) of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, and the proposed Chemical Safety Improvement Act (Vitter/Lautenberg legislation);
  • Providing legal representation at the agency, legislative and executive branch levels for companies seeking clarification, interpretative guidance or modifications to the regulations;
  • Assisting with compliance and enforcement response, including long experience with detailed product life-cycle and risk assessment techniques, epidemiological and fate and transport studies, and product end-of-life analysis and recycling requirements; and
  • Advising on trade secret and intellectual property protections while addressing the regulatory requirements for product disclosures.
  • Providing a full range of legal research, litigation and courtroom experience for potential challenges to rule applicability and responses to enforcement actions.

Peter Hsiao
William Tarantino
Michèle Corash
Robert Falk
Michael Steel

Priority Products

Alternatives Analysis

Administrative Agency Materials

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