California has taken a significant step toward providing residents with information about hazardous chemicals in products under a far-reaching law designed to improve consumer health and safety.
On Friday, the state's Department of Toxic Substances Control, the agency charged with regulating toxic substances, released its final proposals intended to help people identify harmful chemicals in household products and encourage businesses to adopt safer alternatives to them.
The guidelines are required by a 2008 green-chemistry law that was among the first of its kind in the nation. They are expected to be finalized after a 45-day public comment period and take effect by the end of the year.
The agency has chosen to regulate 1,200 chemicals found in household goods and identified as hazardous by scientific and governmental organizations, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Manufacturers and, to a lesser extent, importers and retailers would eventually be required to test products they sell in California for those ingredients.
If they find them, they would have to determine whether there are safer alternatives to those chemicals and whether they would be willing or able to replace them. If the choice is not to replace them, the state would place tougher regulations on the product. If manufacturers fail to do the testing, retailers would not be allowed to order those products in California.