ACA Submits Comments on Maine DEP Proposed Rule for Phthalates

Monday, October 13, 2014

On Sept. 29, ACA submitted comments to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in response to a proposed rule initiated by a citizens’ petition that would designate four phthalates as priority chemicals under Maine’s Kid-Safe Products Act and require reporting for manufacturers of children’s products containing one or more of the listed phthalates. Specifically, the rule would apply to manufacturers of certain products that contain intentionally added di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), or diethyl phthalate (DEP).

Rather than listing specific children’s products covered under the proposed rule, the proposed rule lists broad product categories, and if a manufacturer produces products within one or more of the listed categories and uses at least one of the listed phthalates in the products, it would fall under the reporting requirements.

The rule applies to manufacturers of the following product categories that would fall under the definition of children’s products: apparel and footwear, arts and crafts products, building products, cosmetics and personal care products, home maintenance products, household and commercial cleaning products, household furniture and furnishings, and personal accessories.

The proposal also states that these four regulated phthalates should be designated as priority chemicals because they have been found through biomonitoring to be present in human bodily fluids, household dust, indoor air or drinking water, or elsewhere in the home environment, and in consumer products used in homes. Reporting deadlines are determined by the size/category of manufacturer, and there would be a one-time, currently undetermined, reporting fee to the Department of Environmental Protection to cover administrative costs.

Finally, the proposed rule also allows for a waiver of the reporting requirements if any children’s product containing an intentionally added regulated phthalate is subject to reporting requirements under the state of Washington’s toxic chemicals program (Chapter 173-334 WAC).

In its comments, ACA encouraged DEP to consider its concerns with the scope of the proposed rule, specifically in reference to the broad “product categories.” ACA recommended that DEP narrow a number of the definitions, including arts and crafts products, building products, and home maintenance products, in order to ensure the definitions are not contrary to federal law and are consistent with Maine’s statute on toxic chemicals in children’s products. ACA argued that these recommendations are necessary to ensure that the proposal’s definition of “children’s products” does not sweep in unintended consumer products and remains focused on the kind of products contemplated by the authorizing statute.

Contact ACA’s Javaneh Nekoomaram for more information.