WASHINGTON (September 2, 2022) — The American Chemistry Council issued the following statement in response to the Washington State Department of Ecology’s (DoE) Safer Products for Washington Program’s Preliminary Draft Rule Language.
“The American Chemistry Council (ACC) continues to express significant concerns about the preliminary draft rule language for the Safer Products for Washington program, which would restrict the use of multiple products and chemistries that do not meet a set of criteria laid out by the Safer Products Law. We take issue with the process by which this proposal was developed, the lack of scientific basis for multiple elements of the proposal, and the proposed regulatory determinations themselves.
“The proposed rule would authorize the DoE to restrict or prohibit a priority chemical or members of a class of priority chemicals in consumer products if it determines that safer alternatives are feasible and available, that the restriction will reduce a significant source or use of a priority chemical, or that it is necessary to protect the health of sensitive populations or species. We contend that none of these criteria have been met in general, and with respect to multiple individual chemistries, thus there is no basis for these restrictions in the state.
“ACC strongly supports efforts to promote the responsible and safe use of chemicals. However, we remain very concerned that the approach being taken by DoE could undermine product safety, performance, and innovation, and that the regulatory actions proposed are not warranted based on the best available science. In multiple instances, the proposal misstates or excludes relevant and sound scientific data in order to justify its actions and/or conclusions, it overstates the potential exposure to a number of product chemistries, it targets numerous chemistries that are not present or prevalent in the Washington environment, and it does not fully consider the benefits that many of these products and chemistries provide.
“In its comments, ACC urged DoE to address several issues when developing the final rule, including whether the chemical restrictions are necessary to protect sensitive populations and species, if the benefits of the proposal outweigh the anticipated costs, and that the department conduct a more comprehensive alternatives assessment process. ACC also called upon DoE to distinguish between subcategories within the broad class of targeted chemistries and to address inconsistencies and overlap between the proposed rule and existing federal, state, and international regulations.
“DoE’s proposal is an overly broad approach to diverse classes of chemistry that is inconsistent with the state of the science and other regulatory assessments. This approach to chemical regulation is neither scientifically accurate, nor appropriate. Families of chemistry include many different individual compounds that may all have their own unique properties and uses, as well as environmental and health profiles. While there may be opportunities to look at subcategories of some of these chemistries, taking a one-size-fits-all approach is not supported by the science.
“Product safety should be a shared objective of all stakeholders, but misguided policy proposals like this are counterproductive. We look forward to working with Washington State to enhance its implementation of this new program to help ensure that chemicals and the products that they enable are safe and available.”
ACC filed general comments on the proposed rule, along with several of ACC’s product groups that submitted more specific comments about how the proposed rule would impact specific chemistries and proposed priority product categories.