Indoor Environments and Green Buildings Policy Resource Center
Developments in State Chemicals Policy:
Identifying and Regulating Priority Chemicals
Washington law requires the state to identify chemicals of high concern for children and requires manufacturers of certain children's products to report annually on those chemicals. Revised Code of Wash. §§70.240.010--040. The state has promulgated rules implementing the law. Wash. Admin. Code (WAC) §§173-334-010--130.
Designation of priority chemicals .The law requires the Department of Ecology to identify "high priority chemicals" that are of high concern for children due to the potential for exposure. High priority chemicals are defined as those 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. For a chemical to be included, one of the following criteria must apply: biomonitoring studies indicate a chemical's presence in the human body; sampling and analysis indicate the chemical's presence in the indoor home environment; or the chemical is present in a household consumer product. Rev. Code Wa. §§70.240.010(6), .030(1). The Department's rules implementing the law establish a list of Chemicals of High Concern to Children (CHCC). The rules also include a provision for individuals to petition to add or removal a chemical from the list. WAC §§173-334-010--130. In response to petitions, the Department amended the list in October 2013 to add one chemical (tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate) and remove one chemical (n-butanol).
Regulation of priority chemicals. The law requires manufacturers to file annual notices with the Department of Ecology if their children's products contain a high priority chemical. Rev. Code Wa. §70.240.040. The Department's rules provide that this notice is required for each chemical on the CHCC list that is either: an intentionally-added chemical at concentrations above the Practical Quantification Limit; or a contaminant present at concentrations above 100 ppm (unless the manufacturer meets certain stated conditions). WAC §173-334-080. The regulations establish the content of the annual notice, which includes information about the function and the total amount of the chemical in the product. Information in notices that is not deemed confidential business information is publicly available. WAC §173-334-080. Reporting is required beginning in 2012, and the rules establish enforcement mechanisms, including a civil penalty provision. WAC §173-334-120.
The law also required the Department of Ecology to submit to the state legislature a report that discusses implementation of the law and includes policy options for addressing children's products that contain chemicals on the CHCC list. Rev. Code Wa. §70.240.030.