Continuing its efforts to regulate chemicals in a variety of products sold within California, 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 accordance with those regulations, DTSC must identify "Priority Products" that contain designated chemicals of concern, and manufacturers of those priority products must conduct an alternatives analysis to assess whether alternatives to the products and/or associated chemicals are feasible. That alternatives analysis will provide the basis for DTSC's determination of what alternatives it will mandate, among other regulatory responses, or at the most extreme, order that the product be prohibited from sale in California.

In 2014, DTSC proposed the following as the program's initial three priority products: Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) systems containing unreacted methylene diphenyl diisocyanates, children's foam padded sleeping products containing Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP), and paint and varnish strippers, and surface cleaners with methylene chloride. It has not yet finalized its rulemaking on establishing those three categories as Priority Products. There is significant disagreement over whether the products identified are appropriate for listing as Priority Products, and litigation likely will follow if that initial list of products becomes final.

Around the same time that it proposed the initial list of Priority Products, the Department, in September, 2104, issued a draft Priority Product Work Plan that would serve as the basis of the next round of Priority Product selection. That Work Plan, with some revisions from the draft, has now been issued as a final Work Plan. According to DTSC, it anticipates that, on the basis of its Work Plan, it will select an additional five Priority Products in each of 2016 and 2017. It is important to note that the modest list of initial Priority Products, the identification of categories in the Work Plan, and ultimately the selection of ten additional Priority Products in 2016 and 2017, represents only the beginning of a multi-decade regulatory process that will potentially target hundreds of products.

Watch for parts two and 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,