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California's Green Chemistry Initiative (February 2010)

Green Chemistry is a six part initiative; two parts became stature in 2008 and four parts were not passed, but are still on the green ribbon science panel discussion agendas throughout 2010. The two parts that were passed are now known as AB 1879: Hazardous Materials and Toxic Substances Evaluation and Regulation and SB 509: Toxic Information Clearinghouse.

AB 1879 – On October 1, 2009, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”) released its second draft regulatory proposal implementing one of the California Green Chemistry Initiative laws, AB 1879. DTSC’s new proposal identifies 16 specific chemicals of concern (“COCs”) which include lead, arsenic, bisphenol A, PFOS and PFOA. The proposal also sets forth a “list of lists” -- 29 chemical lists from various jurisdictions -- by which thousands of other chemicals are indirectly identified as COCs. If consumer products are, or contain, any of these chemicals, they are deemed within the scope of the regulation. In addition, if any chemical exhibits any one of ten specified hazard traits (including acute toxicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity, aquatic toxicity and adverse eye effects), that chemical also shall be deemed a COC, thereby funneling those affected consumer products into the regulatory process.

Like DTSC’s first proposal, this one is not a formal draft regulation submitted to the public for comment under the Administrative Procedures Act but instead represents a detailed concept piece that still may be reshaped by public comment. Interested entities should be mindful of this opportunity to provide input on these and other implementation issues.

SB 509 - Existing law requires DTSC to establish a Toxics Information Clearinghouse for the collection, maintenance and distribution of specific chemical hazard traits and environmental and toxicological end-point data.  The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is required, by January 1, 2011, to evaluate and specify the hazard traits and environmental and toxicological end-points and any other relevant data that are to be included in the clearinghouse.


AB 1879 – Comments to the “informal draft regulations” under AB 1879 released by California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) in October 2011 are now posted on the web. The “informal” aspect of these regulations means that DTSC does not need to keep an official timeline required by the state for development regulations.

DTSC will be developing a set of “Draft Regulations” which begins the official procedure of developing regulations under AB 1879. This part of California’s Green Chemistry Initiative imposes requirements on manufactures or importers of consumer products. Stated in AB 1879 the state has authority to identify consumer products and “chemicals of concern” that may be contained in those consumer products. If companies wish to continue selling those consumer products they must provide information that includes an “alternatives analysis” for “chemicals of concern.” Based on the information submitted, DTSC has authority to require reformulation if continued sales are desired in California.

The public will have 45 days to comment on draft regulations. DTSC may then draft a second set of regulations and after the second release will allow the public to comment for either 15 or 45 days. After two sets of draft regulations, DTSC is likely to develop final regulations that will then be sent to California’s Office of Administrative Law” (OAL) and regulations will be enacted from there. This is anticipated to happen by the end of 2012.
After regulations are final, several “products of concern” and “chemicals of concern” within those products will be identified by DTSC. After DTSC works through the process on the initial set of “products of concern” they will release new “products of concern” with their “chemicals of concern.”

SB 509 – SB 509 is the second Green Chemistry statute in California, named “Toxics Information Clearinghouse” and is under The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) instead of DTSC. These regulations define “chemicals of concern” that are regulated under AB 1879. The hazard traits, endpoints, and other relevant data specified will be used by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control to develop the Toxics Information Clearinghouse, a decentralized, Web-based system for the collection, maintenance, and distribution of specific chemical hazard trait and environmental and toxicological end-point data. SB 509 regulations were considered final as of January 19, 2012.

Supporting rulemaking documents can be found at:

TSG continues to follow and participate in California's Green Chemistry Initiative as it progresses.

For more information, please
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