California Green Chemistry Initiative

California Green Chemistry Initiative

On October 1, 2013 California implemented a law whereby companies that manufacture certain consumer products may have to review whether they can make those products safer by using different, less toxic or nontoxic ingredients.  Starting in April 2014, California - through its California Safer Consumer Products Law, also known as the Green Chemistry Initiative - will be identifying classes of consumer products and directing manufacturers of those products to look to reformulate them using green chemistry. It is unclear at this time what effect ultimately this law will have on members of The Vision Council.

How will it work?

California published two preliminary lists at the beginning of October.  One list identifies chemicals of concern - approximately 1,200 substances.  The other identifies around 150 "initial" candidates, which are drawn from the more comprehensive list, and which the state has determined pose the greatest potential danger to health and the environment. By April 2014, the state will identify five or so "priority products," which will be consumer products that contain at least one of the chemicals found on the list of 150. 

If they wish to sell in California, manufacturers of those priority products will then have to reformulate to eliminate the problematic substance(s), or justify why reformulation is not necessary.  Over time, the program will expand and more consumer products will be identified as priority products.

Substances of Concern to Members of The Vision Council

Several substances that may be found in The Vision Council's member products made the list of 150.  This includes:  1) bisphenol A, known as "BpA"; 2) various phthalates, including di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, known as DEHP and di-octyl phthalate, known as DOP; 3) nickel; 4) lead; and, 5) cadmium.  Thus, the possibility exists that California could target ophthalmic consumer products that contain these substances.

What will be the Initial Priority Products?

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times (September 26, 2013), the initial priority products could include nail polish (which contains toluene), carpet adhesive (that contains formaldehyde) and fluorescent light bulbs (which contain mercury).  We assume that the list will grow beyond the initial products.


The Vision Council will continue to monitor the roll-out of this law and will inform its members once the initial list of priority products is issued. In the meantime, members with questions on this topic should contact Rick Van Arnam, The Vision Council regulatory legal counsel, at