Public opinion on government regulatory measures for the handling of chemicals in consumer goods invited



There are thousands of chemicals in consumer products that cause environmental problems and harm human health. (Courtesy photo of the Washington State Department of Ecology)

Consumers use hundreds of items every day, many of which contain chemicals that are dangerous to human health or the environment. The Department of Ecology said in a press release last week that it is seeking public opinion to determine which potentially dangerous chemicals it should regulate in consumer products. The 60-day comment period began on November 17 and the public can provide feedback through the agency’s website. The draft regulatory measures contain restrictions on:

  • Flame retardants in the enclosures for electrical and electronic products and leisure foam (such as in gyms).
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in paints and printing inks that are accidentally formed during pigment manufacture.
  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in carpets and rugs, leather and textile home furniture and furnishings as well as treatment sprays for textile and leather products.
  • Bisphenols in thermal paper (such as receipts) and beverage can liners.
  • Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) in detergents.
  • Phthalates in vinyl floors and personal care and beauty products.

“Many of the toxic chemicals that get into our bodies, our food and our environment come from common household products we use every day,” said Darin Rice, who leads the program to reduce hazardous waste and toxins for the environment. “Our Safer Products team is reviewing regulatory measures for these product-chemical combinations to stop the flow of toxins in products at their source, thereby reducing harm to people and the environment, while at the same time maintaining the valuable services that these consumer products offer . ”

The program implements a law passed in 2019 that gives the Ecology Department one of the strongest powers in the country to limit the types and amounts of harmful chemicals in products. The agency recently published a draft report to the legislature outlining potential regulatory measures for 11 different categories of prioritized consumer products. With the help of the rulemaking process, the program will implement the regulatory measures outlined in the final report to the legislature due in June 2022.

Comments on the last draft proposal are due before January 14, 2022 and can be submitted by:

  • Via the online comment form.
  • Asking questions or exchanging contributions at one of the upcoming public meetings:
  • Send an email to [email protected]
  • Mail written comments to Cheryl Niemi, Department of Ecology, PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.
  • Call the ecology sales force at 360-999-7566 for help with translation or interpretation.

Those interested can also view a story map of harmful chemicals in consumer products and then take a short public feedback survey. At the end of the comment period, the Ecology Department will integrate this feedback into its final report to the legislature.

  • If you speak another language, free voice services are available. Call 360-999-7566.
  • 360-999-7566。
  • 사용 하시는 경우, 지원 서비스 를 무료 ë¡œ 이용하실 수. 360-999-7566 번 으로.
  • Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Lame al 360-999-7566.
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