California Proposes Next Group Of Priority Products Under Its Green Chemistry Initiative

Author:Mr Peter Hsiao and William F. Tarantino
Profession:Morrison & Foerster LLP

California's Green Chemistry Initiative has taken another step towards regulating a widely available consumer product.  On February 15, 2018, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released a discussion draft document entitled   Product - Chemical Profile for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in Carpets and Rugs (Profile), which proposes to list carpets and rugs containing PFASs as a Priority Product.  Under the Initiative, also known as the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) Program, DTSC must identify product-chemical combinations that meet the identification and prioritization criteria set forth in the SCP regulations before initiating a rulemaking.   Those criteria include the following:

There must be potential public and/or aquatic, avian, or terrestrial animal or plant organism exposure to the Candidate Chemical(s) in the product; and There must be the potential for one or more exposures to contribute to or cause significant or widespread adverse impacts. In the Profile, DTSC sets forth its rationale for its proposal to list carpets and rugs containing PFASs as a Priority Product.

The Candidate Chemical and Product

For purposes of this Profile designation, PFASs include:

Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs); PFAA precursors; Perfluoropolyethers (PFPEs); and Fluoropolymers A large number of PFASs are used to treat carpets and rugs by conferring stain-, soil-, oil-, or water-resistance.

The Profile covers carpets and rugs made from natural or synthetic fabric to be used as floor coverings in residential or commercial buildings—including carpeted door mats used indoors and outdoors—but does not include: carpets and rugs for outdoor use; carpets and rugs for use inside trains, planes, buses, automobiles, or any other indoor environment besides buildings; resilient floor coverings (e.g., vinyl tile and linoleum); artificial turf; table mats; wall hangings and coverings; or camping sleeping mats.

Use and Regulation of PFASs

According to the Profile, "[c]arpets and rugs contribute to widespread environmental contamination and exposures, as do other consumer products such as food packaging, cosmetics, and waterproof clothing.  Once released to the environment [i.e., air, water, and soil] during product manufacture, use, or disposal [e.g., landfilling], PFASs become part of a virtually closed cycle leading to chronic, lifelong human and ecological exposures. . . Because PFAAs and other persistent PFASs lack a natural...

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