Washington State Safer Products Update on Paints

Washington

In July, the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) submitted its Priority Consumer Products report to the Washington Legislature and included Paints on the list under the “Safer Products for Washington” program. Washington DOE included food and beverage cans (bisphenols) and cited concerns over inadvertent Polychlorinated biphenyls (iPCBs) as the reasoning.

Notably, DOE has identified all paints — not just paints used by consumers —  in the scope of iPCBs under the Safer Products program.

In 2019, the Washington State Legislature directed DOE to implement a regulatory program to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products (Chapter 70.365 RCW), known as the “Safer Products for Washington.” The Legislature identified five priority chemical classes: flame retardants; Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); Phenolic compounds; and Phthalates. The law requires Ecology to identify priority consumer products that are significant sources or uses of the chemical classes. DOE suggests that iPCBs may form as a byproduct in the production of certain chlorinated color pigments including Diarylide yellows, Phthalocyanine blues and greens, and possibly certain titanium dioxides.

DOE is scheduled to complete Phase 3 and over the next two years will identify alternatives and report back to the Legislature any proposed regulatory actions on June 1, 2022. Then, DOE would adopt any such regulations by June 1, 2023. Ultimately, DOE could decide “no regulatory action is needed,” if alternatives are not available or feasible, or DOE could possibly restrict the use of the certain pigments that contain iPCBs.

ACA’s Product Stewardship Committee and PCB Workgroup are monitoring this issue and are engaged with Washington DOE. ACA members, please contact David Darling if you would like to join the PCB Workgroup.

Contact ACA’s David Darling for more information.

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