Developments in State Chemicals Policy:
Identifying and Regulating Priority Chemicals
Vermont law establishes a list of chemicals of high concern for children, requires manufacturers of certain children's products to report information on those chemicals, and authorizes the state to further regulate the sale or distribution of children’s products containing listed chemicals. 18 Vt. Stat. §§ 1771—1779; 2014 Vt. Sen. Bill 239.
Designation of priority chemicals. The law designates 66 chemicals as chemicals of high concern for children. The law also requires the Department of Health, on a biennial basis, to review the list and to propose for review at least two additional chemicals. 18 Vt. Stat. § 1773. The recommendations must be based on the “degree of human health risks, exposure pathways, and impact on sensitive populations.” 18 Vt. Stat. § 1774(d). The Department is authorized to promulgate rules amending the list to add or delete chemicals, pursuant to criteria set forth in the law. 18 Vt. Stat. § 1776.
Disclosure of information on priority chemicals. Beginning in 2016, the law requires manufacturers of children’s products (as defined in the law) to report biennially on chemicals of high concern to children, using a notification form developed by the Department of Health. Information to be reported includes, among other things, the amount of the chemical contained in each unit of the product, and the law requires the Department of Health to post information submitted by manufacturers on its website. 18 Vt. Stat. §§ 1772, 1775. The law provides an exemption from the notice requirement for manufacturers who are implementing a manufacturing control program to minimize the presence of the chemical in the children’s product, and the law includes provisions governing confidentiality of reported information. 18 Vt. Stat. § 1775(e).
Regulation of priority chemicals. The law authorizes the Department of Health to adopt rules to regulate the sale or distribution of a children’s product containing a chemical of high concern to children if children will be exposed to the chemical in the product and “there is a probability that…exposure could cause or contribute to one or more of the adverse health impacts listed” in the law. 18 Vt. Stat. § 1776(d). The rules may prohibit sale or distribution of the product or may establish product labeling requirements prior to sale or distribution.
Establishment of a working group. The law establishes a Chemicals of High Concern to Children Working Group within the Department of Health to provide the agency advice and recommendations on implementing the law. The Working Group is charged with reviewing proposed chemicals for listing and recommending whether the state should regulate the sale or distribution of a children’s product containing a chemical of high concern.
The Department of Health must submit biennial reports to the state legislature on implementation of the law. 2014 Vt. S. 239, §3.