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USA: Washington state passed a bill regarding chemicals in consumer products

MAY 2019 - Relevant for: Electrical & Electronics, Hardlines, Softlines, Toys and children's products

Washington’s state legislature recently passed the bill (SB 51351) which establishes a process to address priority chemicals in consumer products. This bill protects human health and wildlife and empowers the Department of Ecology (DoE) to determine regulatory actions and reduce the use of chemicals of concern. Restriction or prohibition may be imposed or reporting of priority chemicals in consumer products by manufacturers or importers may be required in 2023. 

This legislation expands the scope of existing Children's Safe Products Act (RCW 70.2402) to cover not only children’s products and upholstered furniture, but any consumer products containing priority chemicals.

The DoE, in consultation with the Department of Health (DoH), is required to identify five priorities chemicals, which can be a chemical or a chemical class. After that, priority products will also be identified by the DoE as those with "a significant source or use" of priority chemicals. The DoE must submit a report to the appropriate committees of the Washington legislature at the time that it determines regulatory actions. Restriction, prohibition, reporting may be introduced or perhaps no regulatory action is required.

The 1st batch of identified priority chemicals includes:

  • Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS);
  • Phthalates;
  • Organohalogen flame retardants;
  • Other flame retardants identified by the department under chapter 70.240 RCW;
  • Phenolic compounds;
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB);

Here are the timelines of the DoE together with the DoH handles the 1st batch of priority chemicals and priority products.

  • 1 June 2020: Identify the first set of priority products
  • 1 June 2022: determine regulatory actions regarding the priority chemicals and priority consumer products
  • 1 June 2023: adopt rules to implement regulatory actions

And every five years, the DoE shall repeat the above process to identify new sets of priority products with regulatory actions. The 2nd batch of regulatory actions will be released by 2028.  

[1] SB 5135

[2] RCW 70.240

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