California Agency Proposes to List Microplastics and PPD derivatives to Candidate Chemical List

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has proposed adding microplastics and PPD derivatives to its Candidate Chemicals List. This listing positions microplastics, and products containing them, for regulation and potential restrictions under the agency’s Safer Consumer Products Program. Companies with products containing microplastics and PPD derivatives should engage with DTSC in coming regulatory proceedings.

DTSC describes microplastics as small particles, generally less than 5,000 microns in one dimension, that are manufactured as such or are degraded from larger plastic products. DTSC, other agencies, and the California legislature have recently raised concerns that microplastics may present risks to human health and the environment, with a particular focus on cosmetics and personal care products. DTSC identified the release of microplastics as one of five priorities in its most recent Priority Product Work Plan for 2021 to 2023.

The Candidate Chemical List establishes those chemicals for which DTSC has concerns and may issue regulations (but does not establish any restrictions on its own). DTSC uses the Candidate Chemicals List to identify Chemicals of Concern in Priority Products, which are established through formal rulemaking. A Priority Product is specific product-chemical combinations with a Chemical of Concern that DTSC determines presents a risk of adverse effects. Manufacturers of Priority Products must conduct an Alternatives Analysis that evaluates safer alternatives to the Chemical of Concern, among other requirements.

The current proposal initiates the process by which DTSC may determine that microplastics and PPD derivatives would be a Chemical of Concern for certain Priority Products.  The agency will host a virtual public workshop on the microplastics proposal on June 27, 2023.

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