Indoor Environments and Green Buildings Policy Resource Center
Developments in State Chemicals Policy:
Identifying and Regulating Priority Chemicals
In 2008, Connecticut enacted legislation directing the state to identify toxic substances in children's products and safer alternatives to those substances. Conn. Public Act 08-122, §3. The legislation is part of Connecticut's State Child Protection Act, which governs hazardous substances in consumer products and is the state counterpart to the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.
Identification of priority chemicals. The Connecticut law requires the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), in consultation with the Commissioners of Public Health and Environmental Protection, to compile and periodically amend a list of toxic substances that "potentially should not exist" in children's products. In addition, the DCP is to compile a list of safer alternatives to using the designated toxic substances. The law qualifies these requirements, however, by providing that the lists are to be established "within available appropriations." Conn. Pub. Act 08-122, §3.
Interstate clearinghouse. Connecticut law also grants the DCP authority to engage in an interstate clearinghouse to catalog the level of concern (high, moderate, low, or unknown) associated with particular chemicals in consumer products; to manage and organize available data on particular substances, including their purpose in consumer products, their hazards, and any environmental concerns associated with the substance; to develop and record data on safer alternatives for "specific uses of chemicals and model policies and programs related to such alternatives;" and to "provide technical assistance to businesses and consumers relating to safer chemicals." Conn. Pub. Act 08-106, §13.
In addition, a 2010 law created the Chemical Innovations Institute within the University of Connecticut Health Center. This Institute is designed to identify and research chemicals of concern to public health and the environment, as well as safe alternatives to these chemicals. The law directs the Institute to conduct chemical research, provide technical assistance with chemicals of concern, train businesses on chemical regulations and safer alternatives, and assist businesses in finding funding to support use of safer alternatives. The Institute is also tasked with coordinating and sharing chemical data with similar programs in other states and with the interstate chemicals clearinghouse. Conn. Pub. Act 10-164.