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California Targets 3 Toxic Chemicals in Consumer Products

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Published on : Mar 19, 2014

The Toxic Substances Control Department (DTSC) of California has announced its plans to initiate a new program that focuses on monitoring and regulating the use of toxic substances in consumer products. 

The program, named “Safer Consumer Products”, is in the first installment of its implementation-names of the substances that are under the radar of regulatory consideration have been released. These substances, cited by DTSC as being toxic to the human body, are:
  • Chlorinated tris, a known carcinogen, found in children’s padded sleeping products like bassinets and sleeping mats
  • Unreacted diisocyanates, a suspected carcinogen, found in building insulation foams
  • Methylene chloride, a known carcinogen, found in surface cleaners and paint and varnish strippers
DTSC has mentioned that the department is not completely regulating the use of these substances at this stage but is keen on starting a conversation with manufacturers. The conversation is said to be focused on finding safer alternatives for these substances in consumer products. 

DTSC has mentioned that it knows products in the market that can replace the use of Chlorinated tris and diisocyanates in children’s products and insulation foams. However, no safer alternative to methylene chloride in paint and varnish strippers and surface cleaners is yet known. 

At this stage, the department is appealing to manufacturers to find alternate manufacturing processes that would not involve the use of unreacted diisocyanates, exposure to which causes asthma, skin rashes and also cancer (as is suspected). 

DTSC has stressed that this is not a ban, but just a process. The process is advisory for consumers who ignore the contents of many daily-use goods while purchasing them. It appeals consumers to read labels and ask questions about the contents of goods they are buying. If they are doubtful about any product and wish to inquire whether it is free from these toxic substances, they have the right to ask it to the manufacturers and retailers.

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