The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) recently issued its final Priority Product Three-Year Work Plan under the State's Safer Consumer Products regulations — better known as California's Green Chemistry Initiative — in an effort to regulate chemicals in a variety of products sold within California. This is part two of a three-part article on the topic.

Although the Work Plan itself does not impose any regulatory requirements, it identifies seven product categories from which DTSC will select Priority Products to evaluate and consider regulating over the next three years. The product categories described in the Work Plan include:
• Cleaning products;
• Beauty, personal care and hygiene products;
• Building products, such as painting products, adhesives, sealants, and flooring;
• Household and office furniture and furnishings;
• Clothing;
• Fishing and angling equipment; and
• Office machinery.

For each product category, the Work Plan provides several examples of products included within that category. For example, "cleaning products" includes air fresheners, bathroom cleaners, carpet cleaners, detergents, surface cleaners, floor cleaners, floor waxes and wax removers, general purpose cleaners, deodorizers, oven cleaners, scouring cleaners, spot removers and window cleaners.

The Work Plan also identifies several "candidate chemicals" found in products associated with each product category. DTSC designates candidate chemicals based on the risk that they may present to the environment or human health, and has thus far identified nearly 1200 such chemicals. According to the Work Plan, candidate chemicals found in cleaning products include alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APEs), hydrogen fluoride, phthalates, triclosan, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as n-hexane, methyl ethyl keton, n-methyl-pyrrolidone, tuolene, and xylene.

However, DTSC is not limited to consider only candidate chemicals or product examples specifically identified in the Work Plan. The Safer Consumer Products regulations generally require DTSC to (i) identify products that contain one or more candidate chemicals; (ii) prioritize those products for review under an "alternatives analysis" to assess whether there are safer alternatives to the chemicals presently in use; then (iii) consider seven possible "regulatory responses" based on the results of the alternatives analysis, which at its most extreme includes the possibility of banning the sale of the product in California.

Watch for part three of this article in the coming days.

This article was researched and written by Joshua A. Bloom, a partner, and Samir J. Abdelnour, an attorney, at Barg, Coffin, Lewis & Trapp, LLP, a San Francisco-based environmental law firm. They can be reached at and, respectively, or via the firm's website,