Corporate Counsel

Authors: Belynda S. Reck

Type: Articles Published

California has long prided itself on its forward-thinking regulations. For product manufacturers, distributors and retailers, access to the Golden State’s massive consumer base comes at the cost of navigating a tangled web of consumer product requirements. This year, that web is likely to get even more tangled.

In 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed twin bills implementing the state’s Green Chemistry Initiative, requiring the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to enact regulations forcing the creation of “safer consumer products.” After a long gestation period, those regulations were finally released in October 2013. Since then, implementation has been slowly creeping forward.

This is not the first time that California has attempted to sway the national market. For example, since 1976, the California Energy Commission has imposed stringent efficiency standards for a wide range of electronics and appliances on California store shelves. Similarly, California’s Proposition 65 has gained notoriety for its ubiquitous warning labels and dreaded “bounty hunter” citizen suits against businesses that fail to provide such a warning. With their implementation, the Safer Consumer Products regulations will bring a host of potential new duties for any business with current California sales or designs on California consumers.

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