California enacts new laws to reduce toxicity of consumer goods
On Monday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law two bills that aim to reduce the toxicity of consumer goods and inform the public about health hazards posed by toxics. Right now, existing law only lets the state regulate the disposal of toxic chemicals, but the new legislation gives the state Department of Toxic Substances Control authority to restrict or ban toxic substances in consumer goods after a science-based process can be designed to evaluate the chemicals. Officials say such a program should be in place by 2011. The laws also create a state-run website that will act as a clearinghouse for information on toxic chemicals’ effects. “With these two bills, we will stop looking at toxics as an inevitable byproduct of industrial production,” Schwarzenegger said. “Instead, they will be something that can be removed from every product in the design stage.” However, to the dismay of some consumer groups, the legislation doesn’t require companies to disclose information on the hazards of any chemicals they use or produce.