New DTSC regulations present manufacturers with product safety challenge


The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has introduced stricter safety regulations for three “priority products” sold in California, which contain at least one of more than 1,100 toxic chemicals that the Department identified as having the potential to cause significant harm to people or the environment.

Polyurethane foam Image credit: flickr User: Moscow, Russia
Polyurethane foam
Image credit: flickr User: Moscow, Russia

According to the media release by the DTSC, the three flagged products in its Safer Consumer Products regulations include children’s foam padded sleeping products containing TDCPP (chlorinated TRIS), spray Polyurethane foam systems containing unreacted di-isocyanates and paint stripper containing Methylene Chloride.

“People want safer consumer products, and this innovative program establishes a process by which government and businesses can work together to meet this public demand,” said Matt Rodriquez, California Secretary for Environmental Protection.

“Many companies already understand that looking for product alternatives to reduce consumer risk is a sound business practice. The eyes of the world will be watching us as we progress in this new, collective effort to protect public health and preserve our environment.”

DTSC’s landmark Safer Consumer Products regulations aim toward ensuring a more protective and economically viable approach to how California guarantees the safety of consumer products.  It sends manufacturers a clear message to examine their products and find safer alternative ingredients to those identified by the program.

However, it should be noted that DTSC is not banning these products. It is starting a process, requiring manufacturers who want to sell them in California to conduct an “Alternatives Analysis” to determine if feasible safer ingredients are available.

“This approach will also protect California workers, who can be exposed to high levels of hazardous chemicals in paint stripping and insulating products, especially when the products are used in confined spaces,” said Christine Baker, Director of California’s Department of Industrial Relations, which oversees the state’s worker safety program, Cal/OSHA.

“DTSC’s new regulations will motivate investment in safer alternatives; we see that as a smart strategy to prevent on-the-job injuries and illnesses.”

The DTSC is to announce the next group of offending chemicals in October 2014.