DTSC Considering Listing NPE Containing Laundry Detergents as Priority Product

The Department of Toxic Substances Control is considering the listing of laundry detergents containing nonylphenol oxylates (NPEs) as a "Priority Product" pursuant to the Department's Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program. As a first step the agency has prepared a draft product-chemical profile containing a technical description of the target detergents and the agency’s reasons for selecting them.

The SCP program identifies chemical-product combinations that DTSC has concluded create a potential for exposure to the public or to terrestrial animal or plant organism, and which also have the potential to contribute or cause widespread adverse impacts to those exposed. Those chemical-product combinations once formally identified by regulation are known as "Priority Products." Chemicals considered in this identification process must be one or more "Candidate Chemicals," that are found on one or more of 23 lists of harmful chemicals compiled by various state, national, and international regulatory and other authoritative bodies.

NPEs are described by DTSC as a class of surfactants in detergents that increase cleaning efficiency. NPE containing detergents are used largely in on-premises commercial enterprises such as hotels and hospitals. They are prized by these institutions for their efficiency and low cost. NPEs are included on two of the authoritative Candidate Chemical lists identified by DTSC's SCP regulations.

NPEs and their degradation products, according to DTSC, "can impact the growth, reproduction, and development of fish and aquatic inverterbrates at low concentrations." While some human health impacts have been identified as resulting from NPE exposure, DTSC emphasizes that human health is not a focus of this potential Priority Product identification.

This draft product-chemical profile is not a formal regulatory proposal. In releasing it DTSC is giving interested parties an opportunity to comment on DTSC's reasons for selecting NPE-containing detergents as a Priority Product prior to the agency actually going ahead with a formal proposal.

Written comments on this draft proposal will be accepted through Monday, June 25. In addition the Department will hold a workshop on Monday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Cal/EPA headquarters in Sacramento. The workshop will be webcast for those unable to attend in person. The Department is asking those planning on attending the workshop or monitoring it via webcast to notify it. 

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agency has prepared a draft product-chemical profile May 11, 2018

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