Children’s sleeping items containing the flame retardants TDCPP or TCEP have been listed as a priority product effective 1 July. Their manufacturers have 60 days to register with the department and begin a statutory alternatives analysis to determine if a safer alternative is possible.
The DTSC announced in July 2016 that this would be its first priority product designation under the SCP programme. But during the rulemaking process, some in industry questioned its necessity, given that many manufacturers have already phased out the use of these substances.
The rule applies to polyurethane foam-padded products such as nap mats, bassinet foam, and play pens containing tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP) or tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP). It does not apply to mattresses, mattress pads or child restraint systems.
TDCPP has been listed as a carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65 since October 2011. TCEP has had such a designation since 1992. The DTSC also links the substances to reproductive toxicity, endocrine toxicity and several other hazard traits.
Both substances are included in the chlorinated phosphate ester cluster of flame retardants being assessed by the US EPA prior to TSCA reform. The agency released a problem formulation and initial assessment of the cluster in August 2015.
In June, the agency denied an NGO petition calling for mandatory testing of the cluster of flame retardants. The substances are not included in the first ten chemicals subject to risk evaluation under the new law, although the cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster (HBCD) of flame retardants is.
The DTSC’s proposal for its second priority product, spray polyurethane foam, has been strongly opposed by industry. Paint strippers containing methylene chloride are slated to be named the third priority product, but a formal rulemaking for this has not yet begun.
In June, the DTSC issued guidance for performing alternatives analyses under the SCP programme. The DTSC’s Green Ribbon Science Panel will convene on 17 July to discuss this guide, as well as other issues related to the programme.