October 29, 2010
Washington has identified 59 chemicals as toxic and highly concerning, especially in regards to children. Apparently, soon every state will have their own version of green chemistry and green engineering laws. Ah, the tangled regulatory webs we weave.
Most major media outlets picked up this story, from the Huffington Post to ABC News, because the Associated Press is so hot on the key words: chemicals, children, and toys. We can spare the editorializing because there's plenty of it out there.
Here's what you need to know:
The list of 59 toxic substances just in from the west coast includes benzene and bisphenol A, cadmium, formaldehyde, and lead. A printable version* of the full list is available at bottom of this page.
The list of 59 chemicals of concern is under the umbrella-rule in Washington State called the Reducing Toxic Threats Initiative. The Initiative is a cousin of California Green Chemistry. Basic idea is simply, and we quote, "preventing exposures to toxics is the smartest, cheapest and healthiest way to protect people and the environment." In other words, prevention is the cure.
The list is known as the Chemicals of High Concern for Children or CHCC list. Yet another list for the books; or, hopefully, for the regulation management software system.
According to newly-added sections of the rule, "A manufacturer of children's products is responsible for knowing the amount of CHCCs in its children's products and their components."
A new section to the law states:
"Under the Children's Safe Product Act (CSPA), chapter 70.240 RCW, manufacturers of children's products are required to notify the department of ecology when a chemical of high concern to children (CHCC) is present in their products or, if the product contains more than one component, each product component.
Reporting the presence of a CHCC does not establish that the product is harmful to human health. The reported information will help fill a data gap that exists for both consumers and agencies.
The CSPA requires the department of ecology in consultation with the department of health to identify a list of chemicals for which manufacturers of children's products are required to provide notice. The CSPA specifies both the characteristics of these chemicals and the notice requirements."
*Printable version: Washington State 59 chemicals of concern list.
See the Children's Safe Products Act here.
Official rule text, with updates: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/laws-rules/wac173334/p0904a.pdf
Photo credit: http://www.kmhurley.com