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Frequently Asked Questions

California Safer Consumer Products (SCP) Regulation

Please see the SCP Support webpage for more information.

1) What is the California Safer Consumer Products law or regulations?
On October 1, 2013, the California SCP regulation came into effect as a result of the state's multi-year aggressive Green Chemistry Initiative. SCP regulations require California's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to publish an initial list of chemicals of concern, and then identify exposure to the public as a result of their use in products containing these chemicals. Given the 1,200-plus candidate chemicals expected to be listed and the myriad of products in commerce today, the result is a huge universe of products potentially impacted across all industries selling goods in California.

2) What do I need to do right away?
The DTSC will publish an initial list of candidate chemicals by October 2013. By April 1, 2014, it expects to identify up to five chemical-product combinations known as "priority products," which are subject to SCP regulations. To avoid surprises and business interruptions, it's important to prepare in advance, before a notice arrives from the DTSC. This means identifying all the chemistries in your products and their potential for becoming a priority product in the future.

3) What is a "candidate chemical" versus a "chemical of concern?"
Candidate chemicals are the chemicals listed by the DTSC as directed in the SCP regulations. This will be a list of approximately 1,200 chemicals. The SCP regulation defines a candidate chemical as a chemical that "exhibits a hazardous trait and/or environmental or toxicological endpoints" (carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxins, acute toxicity, etc.). A candidate chemical becomes a chemical of concern (CoC) when it is linked with a product in an application (e.g., phthalates in nail polish, adhesives in carpet, flame retardants in foam furniture seating) that is selected as a priority product.

4) What are "priority products?"
By April 2014, the DTSC intends to publish an initial list of product-chemical combinations known as "priority products." The DTSC has promised to identify only five priority products in the first round (such as phthalates in nail polish, adhesives in carpet or flame retardants in foam furniture). Once these initial priority products have gone through the regulatory process, others can be brought forward in future years by the DTSC and also by legislators and stakeholders who may have certain chemicals they want considered.

5) How do I know if my product contains candidate chemicals?
When identifying the chemistries in your product, it is critical to be thorough. You need to know, for example, the paints, colorants, antioxidants, residual monomers, metal contaminants, etc. – right down to part per million levels. This may seem like a daunting task and it is, but that is why you need to start now. Putting a system in place to identify these chemistries will help you become more efficient at identifying candidate chemicals. You will also learn which of your suppliers are willing to work with you to address the situation and which cannot. After you have identified the chemistries in your products, Cardno can help you compare it to the DTSC list and also help identify viable alternatives. The key will be to avoid those chemistries that are likely to be on the DSTC list in the future, avoiding a repeat situation.

6) What is an alternatives analysis versus an alternatives assessment?
Alternatives analysis and alternatives assessment are synonymous terms. An alternatives analysis as it relates to the SCP regulations is a defined process to evaluate the currently used chemical of concern to other alternatives. These alternatives do not need to be other chemicals; they could be a completely new way of accomplishing a performance need. The alternatives analysis process is complicated and Cardno is prepared to help companies navigate it successfully. The basic process requires companies to:
1. Determine whether a chemical of concern is critical to the product in question.
2. Identify potential alternative replacement chemicals.
3. Identify the factors relevant for comparison of alternatives.
4. Evaluate and compare alternatives based on public health and environmental impacts.
5. Consider additional factors, including relevant exposure pathways, product performance, and economic impacts.
6. Prepare a report to submit to the DTSC. (Note: this report will become a public document.)

7) What are my options if I receive a letter from the DTSC as a result of one of my products containing a chemical of concern?
A company has a number of options. Cardno can lead you through the decision-making process. The key is to be prepared, knowing in advance what candidate chemicals you have in your products and evaluating your options before the notice arrives. While 180 days sounds like enough time, if comprehensive supply chain changes are needed, that time will slip away very quickly. Similarly, if an alternatives analysis is indeed required, it will take time to complete it properly. Remember: the alternatives analysis report will become a public document, so scrutiny will occur.

8) Can I move from a chemical of concern to a non-listed chemical?
Yes, this is one of the options available. However, Cardno encourages clients to select an alternative that won't appear on a future DTSC list and to ensure that the supplier has a robust toxicological data set in place. Cardno can help ask and answer the right questions.

9) Can I keep using the chemical of concern in my product?
It is possible, but an alternatives analysis must be completed and submitted to the DTSC that shows no viable alternatives are available, and the DTSC must accept this conclusion. You would then be expected to help explore new alternatives in the future.

10) What if my suppliers won't tell me what is in the products they supply me?

You have four choices:

1. Find a new supplier who will tell you all the chemistries.
2. Find a third party to verify the chemistries for you, but keep any proprietary chemistries confidential.
3. Test for all 1,200 chemicals (not recommended as this is extremely expensive).
4. Enter into to a contractual agreement, making your supplier the legal entity agreeing to respond to the "Priority Product Notification."

11) How do I protect my confidential business information during this process?
The DTSC SCP regulation lays out a path for companies to protect intellectual property. Cardno can assist with this process. We also suggest that clients also consult with lawyers to ensure that nothing critical is lost or stolen.

12) Can Cardno help me through this process?
Yes. See the SCP Support webpage and key services for more information, and contact us at any time.


California Safer Consumer Products (SCP) Regulation