California Releases Proposed Green Chemistry Regulation

On September 14, 2010, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”) released the Green Chemistry Proposed Regulation for Safer Consumer Products, also known at the “Green Chemistry” regulations. DTSC’s adoption of the regulation, required by AB 1879 (Feuer, 2008), was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger and establishes a process for the identification and prioritization of chemicals of concern and the performance of alternatives assessments.

According to Linda Adams, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, “[t]his regulation propels California to the forefront of the nation and the world with the most comprehensive Green Chemistry program and will lead to safer products for consumers.”

DTSC’s Acting Director, Maziar Movassaghi stated that the regulation “will facilitate California’s transition from managing toxic chemicals at the end of their lifecycle to designing products and processes that are more environmentally benign.”

The proposed regulation, which mandates adoption by January 1, 2011, includes changes to a June 23, 2010 draft regulation that reflects feedback received from interested parties. Significant changes have been made to the proposed regulation that directly address comments criticizing several aspects of the draft regulation, including criticism that the initial scope of chemicals list was too narrow and that the draft regulation’s lack of deadlines could cause unintended delays.

The proposed regulation also addresses criticism from the chemical industry that the draft regulation did not adequately consider exposure and therefore fell short of a hazard and exposure-based decision-making process. The proposed regulation now contains language requiring DTSC to consider a number of pertinent factors, including chemical potency and resulting harm, in evaluating chemical exposure.

DTSC’s release of the proposed regulation triggers a 45-day public comment period, in which interested persons may review the proposed regulation and submit comments prior to the issuance of the final regulation. Comments on the proposed regulation are due to DTSC by November 1, 2010 and may be sent to: or mailed to: Heather Jones, Office of Legislation & Regulatory Policy, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

For additional information and to access a copy of the proposed regulation, visit: