States Consider Over 60 Bills Regulating Chemicals in 2016

Although legislation to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is under near-final consideration, states continue to consider restrictions on chemicals. In the absence of TSCA reform, over 20 states are considering 60 different bills that would regulate the manufacture and sale of chemicals or restrict their use in products. Some bills would establish a broad regulatory authority to regulate chemicals in products – akin to California’s Safer Consumer Products regulations – whereas others would target specific chemicals of concern or narrow product types. Almost half of the state proposals would regulate the use of chemicals in children’s products. Other areas of legislative activity include limitations on the use of flame retardants, mercury, and bisphenol A, or a focus on personal care products, cosmetics, and cleaning products. The bills range from notification or labeling requirements to blanket prohibitions on certain chemicals in defined products. This chart provides details regarding active state bills in the 2016 legislative cycle.

In particular, state legislation targeting flame retardants is heating up. Eleven U.S. states are considering bills seeking to curb the use of flame retardants in products ranging from upholstered furniture to children’s products. Additionally, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser signed into law on March 17, 2016, a bill that will restrict the use of listed flame retardants in most consumer products by January 1, 2019. Most of the other bills addressing flame retardants are narrower in scope, but would still impact a broad array of products. In addition to material restrictions, many of the bills also contain provisions barring manufacturers from replacing restricted flame retardants with other hazardous chemicals classified as carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxicants, or endocrine disruptors, among other hazard traits. If the bills are enacted, these jurisdictions would join the growing number of states that have adopted similar restrictions on flame retardants over the past few years.