The US State of Washington has signed into law a comprehensive toxic substances and pollution control law that will identify, restrict and ban certain hazardous substances from being used in consumer products and packaging. Once enacted, it will be one of the most restrictive hazardous substances laws in the US.
Substitute Senate Bill 5135 also amends current pollution and children’s safe product legislation and is an addition to the Public Health and Safety Revised Code of Washington (RCW Title 70). This legislation will develop the scope of restrictions already contained within the Children’s Safe Products Act (CPSA) – covering more products and potentially more substances.
Washington State Department of Ecology (WSDE) has been mandated with identifying hazardous substances that may be found in consumer products. In consultation with the state Department of Health, it must create a list of priority chemicals and, every five years, must designate a minimum of five additional priority chemicals or chemical classes to add to the list.
Priority chemicals include:
- Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs)
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
- Organohalogen flame retardants (OFRs)
- Flame retardants as identified in chapter 70.240 RCW
- Phenolic compounds
WSDE will begin this process by June 1, 2020, when the first list of priority products which are a significant source of priority chemicals, will be identified. WSDE then has until June 1, 2022 to determine the regulatory actions needed in relation to these priority products. Rules concerning the implementation of regulatory actions must then be in place by June 1, 2023.
To identify priority chemicals, the WSDE may include chemicals which are:
- Included in the CPSA
- Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT)
- Regulated within consumer products, packaging or identified as hazardous waste
- Found to be hazardous to sensitive populations and species
- Designated as priority chemicals under other regulations
Priority products will be those which are a significant source of priority chemicals. To identify these products, manufacturers may be asked to provide information on priority chemicals contained in priority products. They will have up to six months to respond.
Stakeholders should be aware, exempt products include:
- Food and beverages
- Drugs and tobacco
This law is designed to not only protect consumers but also the state’s waterways and nearby ocean from hazardous waste and pollution. By identifying hazardous materials, waste management facilities can more easily dispose of dangerous substances in the correct manner.
The WSDE must obey the following timeline, renewed every five years:
- By June 1, 2024 – identify a minimum of five priority chemicals
- By June 1, 2025 – designate priority products containing new priority chemicals
- By June 1, 2027 – determine regulatory actions for priority products containing the priority chemicals
- By June 1, 2028 – adopt rules to implement the regulatory actions
Manufacturers who violate this regulation may receive a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for the first offense, and up to $10,000 for repeat offenses.
SGS Consumer Product Services
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