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.
- California Takes Three New Steps Under Its Green Chemistry Initiative, May 18, 2018
- California Proposes Next Group of Priority Products (PFASs in Carpets and Rugs) Under Its Green Chemistry Initiative, February 22, 2018
- California’s Green Chemistry Agency Issues Its Draft 2018-2020 Three-Year Priority Product Work Plan, February 13, 2018
- Full Disclosure: New Labeling for Cleaning Products, November 1, 2017
- Consumer Product Update – California’s Green Chemistry Initiative Looks for New Products to Regulate, October 11, 2017
- California Adopts First Green Chemistry Regulations for Children’s Nap Mats and Provides Important Guidance for Its Alternatives Analysis, July 10, 2017
- California Adds New Priority Consumer Product for Green Chemistry Regulation, April 6, 2017
- California Issues New Guidance for Alternatives Analysis for Safer Consumer Products, December 21, 2016
- California Unveils Its First Green Chemistry Regulations for Children’s Foam-Padded Sleeping Products with Fire Retardants, July 19, 2016
- The Toxic Substances Control Act Amendments May Do Little to Relieve California Headaches for Businesses, July 11, 2016
- Federal Toxics Law Grows Up: Congress Strengthens the Toxic Substances Control Act, June 22, 2016
- Consumer Products “Either/Or”: California Issues Guidance on Alternatives Analysis for Safer Products, October 5, 2015
- California’s Green Chemistry Agency Issues New Guidance to Identify Future Consumer Products for Regulation, April 22, 2015
- Seller Beware: California Announces Draft Plan for New Consumer Product Categories Under Its Green Chemistry Initiative, September 15, 2014
- California Announces First Consumer Products Subjected to New Green Chemistry Rules, March 13, 2014
- Toxics in Consumer Products: California Implements Safer Consumer Product Regulations, October 1, 2013
- Consumer Product Alert: California Revises Draft Green Chemistry Regulations, February 4, 2013
- Next Generation of Consumer Product Rules: California Issues Draft Green Chemistry Regulations, July 30, 2012
- Consumer Product Alert: California Revives Green Chemistry Initiative with Draft Regulations that Impact Manufacturers, Importers, and Retailers, November 2, 2011
- California Issues New Green Chemistry Requirements for Consumer Products, September 15, 2010
- Manufacturers of Consumer Products Face Extensive California Green Chemistry Requirements, June 25, 2010
- “TSCA Reforms Won’t Help With Calif.’s Product Safety Issues,” Law360, July 18, 2016.
- “New Calif. Chemistry Product Rules: A National Template?,” Law360, March 21, 2014.
- “New Website Offers Consumers Information on Cosmetic Products,” News Release from the California Department of Public Health, January 10, 2014.
- “Testimony of James Jones, Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, U.S. EPA” regarding S. 1009 , The Chemical Safety Improvement Act, before the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, Committee on Energy and Commerce, United States House of Representatives, November 13, 2013.
- “Stone Introduces Resolution to Condemn Federal Bill Preempting California’s Strong Consumer Health Protections,” Press Release from Assemblymember Mark Stone, August 5, 2013, and related Assembly Joint Resolution No. 30, August 6, 2013
- “Senator Boxer’s Statement on Conclusion of TSCA Reform Hearing,” U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, July 31, 2013
- “California and other states fight changes in toxic chemicals law,” Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2013
- "Manufacturers Urged to Identify Chemicals Of Concern as California Stiffens Regulation," Daily Environment Report, 143 DEN A-23, July 25, 2013
- “EPA Expands List of Safer Chemical Ingredients,” EPA News Release, July 24, 2013
- “Schwarzenegger Signs Green Chemistry Bills,” Law360, September 30, 2008
- “Background on Western States MOU Meeting in Sacramento,” DTSC Informational Release, February 2, 2016
- Green Chemistry MOU between California, Washington and Oregon, October 23, 2015
- Green Chemistry MOU between DTSC and USEPA, January 12, 2012 with January 8, 2015 extension
- Chemicals in Commerce Act Fact Sheet, Energy & Commerce Committee, February 27, 2014
- Chemicals in Commerce Act (Discussion Draft), February 27, 2014
- “At Least 33 States to Consider Toxics Policies in 2014,” Safer States, January 28, 2014
- “Alternatives Assessment Guide, Version 1.0,” Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse, December 2013
- “Proposed Reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in the 113th Congress: S.1009 Compared with S. 696 and Current Law,” Congressional Research Service, October 23, 2013
- “California’s Green Chemistry Initiative: The New Safer Consumer Products Regulations,” ALI-CLE Webinar, July 24, 2013
- “Toxics in Consumer Products: California’s Green Chemistry Regulations at a Crossroad,” Pritzer Briefs, No. 3, January 2012
- “California Revives Green Chemistry Initiative With Draft Program Regulations,” Toxics Law Reporter, 26 TXLR 1349, November 10, 2011
- “How Green is Green?” MoFo Tech, Spring/Summer 2011
- Green Chemistry Alliance: comments, filings and correspondence
Alternatives Analysis (AA)
Administrative Agency Materials
- Candidate Chemicals List Amdt Notice (October 2015)
- Candidate Chemicals List Amdt Proposed Regs. (October 2015)
- Candidate Chemicals List Amdt ISOR (October 2015)
- Green Ribbon Science Panel Meeting (April 9-10, 2014)
- Safer Consumer Products Program (January 29, 2014)
- Safer Consumer Products Regulations (January 29, 2014)
- 2014 Green Ribbon Science Panel Members
- Informational Candidate Chemicals List (October 18, 2013)
- Informational Initial Candidate Chemicals List (October 18, 2013)
- DTSC’s Toxics Information Clearinghouse
- DTSC Launches Safer Consumer Products Initiative (September 26, 2013)
- Informational Candidate Chemicals List (September 26, 2013)
- Informational Initial Candidate Chemicals List (September 26, 2013)
- Safer Consumer Products 15-Day Public Notice & Comment Period (August 26, 2013)
- Revised Text of Proposed Regulations (August 23, 2013)
- Assembly Bill 1879
- Senate Bill 509
- Safer Consumer Products Final Regulations Text
- Revised Text of Proposed Regulations (April 10, 2013)
- Summary of Revised Proposed Regulations
- DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products Website
- Green Chemistry Report (December 2008)
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.