Indoor Environments and Green Buildings Policy Resource Center
Developments in State Chemicals Policy:
Identifying and Regulating Priority Chemicals
Minnesota's Toxic-Free Kids Act, enacted in 2009, requires the state to establish a list of chemicals of high concern and authorizes the state to designate priority chemicals. Minnesota Statutes §§116.9401--9407.
Identification of priority chemicals. The law requires the Department of Health, in consultation with the Pollution Control Agency, to generate a list of "chemicals of high concern" and to review and revise the list at least every three years. Minn. Stat. §116.9402. Chemicals of high concern are defined by the law as those that are known: to be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic; to be very persistent and very bioaccumulative; or to cause developmental toxicity, systemic toxicity, cancer, genetic damage, reproductive harm, or endocrine disruption. Minn. Stat. §116.9401(e).
The law also required the Department of Health to publish a list of "priority chemicals" by February 2011. The agency may designate as a priority chemical any chemical of high concern that has been identified as a high-production volume chemical by the U.S. EPA, if: biomonitoring indicates the chemical's presence in the human body; sampling and analysis indicates the chemical's presence in the indoor environment; or the chemical has been found in monitoring of fish, wildlife, or the natural environment. Minn. Stat. §116.9403. The law exempts a number of product types from the requirements of the law, including consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals, and priority chemicals used in agricultural production. Minn. Stat. §116.9405.
The state has published on its Toxic Free Kids Act website a list of chemicals of high concern and a list of priority chemicals.
Regulation of priority chemicals. The law does not include regulatory measures applicable to priority chemicals. The Department of Health and the Pollution Control Agency submitted a report to the state legislature in December 2010 discussing options for regulating or reducing the use of priority chemicals in consumer products.
Interstate clearinghouse. The law authorizes the state to participate in an interstate chemicals clearinghouse with other states. Use of the interstate clearinghouse may include classifying priority chemicals; managing and organizing available data on chemicals; and producing and evaluating information on safer alternatives to specific uses of priority chemicals. Minn. Stat. §116.9407.