A carcinogen commonly found in napping mats for babies and a paint-stripping chemical linked to more than a dozen deaths made a first-ever list of hazardous products state officials released Thursday, putting manufacturers on notice to find alternative ingredients or face government action.
Department of Toxic Substances Control Director Debbie Raphael issued the list during a press event in downtown Sacramento as the next step in a multi-year effort to reduce toxics used in consumer products.
"We are starting a conversation with manufacturers," Raphael said.
The chemicals on the state's new "Priority Products" list were chosen because of their prevalence. More will be added over time.
Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate: Also known as TDCPP, This fire retardant has been linked with cancer and infertility. It's used in foam-padded baby products such a playpens and changing mats and binds to dust before it's ingested. Baby goods are a particular concern because infants spend many hours each day sleeping on or near items infused with the chemical.
Methylene chloride: A chemical found in paint- and varnish-stripping solvents and some surface cleaners. A Michigan State University study found 13 people using products containing the chemical to strip paints or glazes from residential bathtubs died after inhaling fumes between 2000 and 2011.
California lawmakers in 2008 approved a "green chemistry" law that set in motion a process to encourage manufacturers to find cleaner alternatives to hazardous substances in their products.
Manufacturers with products that use a chemical on the list are supposed to notify the toxics department and begin a search for alternatives. Over the next several months the state will hold a series of workshops focusing on the chemicals and then write specific regulations for them.
Products that still contain the toxics once the regulations are set face a range of actions, from government-mandated labeling to an outright ban on selling the products in California.
PHOTO: Former Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angles, in 2009. Feuer, now Los Angeles city attorney, wrote the green chemistry law in 2008. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton