November 2019

State Government Relations & Public Policy Wrap-Up

Allyson Azar, Manager, HCPA State Government Relations & Public Policy (Western Region)
J.D. Darr, Manager, HCPA State Government Relations & Public Policy (Eastern Region)

Over the course of 2019, the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) has monitored more than 400 bills at the State level, including chemical bans, ingredient communications, pesticide restrictions, packaging reductions, environmentally preferable procurement and more.
The end of summer signals the close of State legislatures across the country, and what follows is a brief overview of the major State legislative activity related to household and commercial products—much of which we can expect to see again in 2020.

Ingredient communication in New York continues to be a priority issue for the industry, and this year, there was a proposal in the State’s budget that was vague and, ultimately, unworkable.
HCPA passionately advocated against the inclusion of these unfavorable disclosure requirements and successfully removed the language from the New York Governor’s budget. During this process, HCPA and our allied trades prepared suggested bill text for use in the next session. This text closely resembles California’s Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017, which was a carefully crafted compromise led by HCPA between industry, non-government organizations (NGOs) and other groups.

On the regulatory side, the New York State Supreme Court invalidated the Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program issued by the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) on the grounds that it did not comply with the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA). This decision came after the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) and HCPA filed a lawsuit in 2018 against NYSDEC for exceeding its statutory authority under the State’s Environmental Conservation Law and for not following SAPA. As a result of this decision, the Disclosure Program is null and void, and the judge has remitted the Program back to NYSDEC, who can choose to proceed through the SAPA rulemaking process or take the issue up in the legislature.

The New York legislature proposed an unreasonable threshold for 1,4-dioxane levels in cleaning products, which unfortunately passed in both the Assembly and the Senate. HCPA has worked vigorously with other allied trade associations to educate Governor Cuomo’s office about the misinformation surrounding 1,4-dioxane. As part of this effort, HCPA generated notable media coverage of the issue, including publishing an open letter to Governor Cuomo in the Albany-Times Union. In collaboration with allied trades, HCPA submitted a chapter amendment to the bill for Governor Cuomo’s consideration that proposed a 10 parts per million (ppm) limit for 1,4-dioxane, which is in line with other regulations around the world.

HCPA also commented on the California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) proposed Alternatives Analysis Threshold (AAT) for 1,4-dioxane and continues to monitor this issue across the States.
Approximately one-fourth of the bills HCPA tracked this session were related to restrictions on pesticides, herbicides and rodenticides. States continue to focus significant efforts on reclassifying neonicotinoids as restricted use pesticides to protect pollinator populations. A bill in New York that would have prohibited the sale of certain products containing neonicotinoids and fipronil was not passed; however, it attempted to set a precedent by grouping fipronil with neonicotinoids. Since neonicotinoids continue to be unjustly targeted by State legislatures, it is important to keep fipronil—and other pesticides—separate from neonicotinoids.

HCPA was successful in defeating bills that would have restricted the use of pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids, in Oregon, Minnesota, New York, Illinois and Texas.
Legislators in Oregon once again raised a bill that would require manufacturers to pay into a new program for products that finish their lifecycle as household hazardous waste. This legislation has been pursued for several years by Metro (a local government consortium near the Portland area) to help fund hazardous waste disposal. HCPA help hold this bill in the House Ways & Means Committee until adjournment, but expects it to be reintroduced next year.

Washington State passed and enacted Green chemistry legislation to protect marine life in the Puget Sound. This bill authorizes the Dept. of Ecology (DEC) to restrict priority chemicals and consumer products that are significant sources of these chemicals. This legislation is meant to protect the region’s orca whales because a taskforce identified toxic contaminants as one of the key threats against their population. HCPA was part of a large and broad-based industry coalition opposed to this measure, which was successful in amending parts of the bill to limit the DEC’s oversight.

In California, multiple legislative efforts focused on Green chemistry, packaging reduction and rodenticides. HCPA successfully postponed or defeated nearly all legislation of concern. The California legislature adjourned before acting on the Circular Economy & Pollution Reduction Act, which would have required all single-use packaging sold in California on or after Jan. 1, 2030 to be recyclable or compostable. Plastics, and especially single-use plastics, are a global environmental challenge. While HCPA supports the intent of the bill, the Circular Economy & Pollution Reduction Act set extreme standards for recycling and packaging reduction and lacked specific details about how the new regulations would be implemented.

Regulatory activity continues to increase at the State level on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), especially in California. In April, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) initiated a rulemaking to develop new or revised VOC limits for consumer products. In terms of the number of product categories that may be impacted and the total emission reductions that must be achieved, this is one of the most ambitious rulemaking procedures that CARB has ever conducted during the 30 years the agency has regulated consumer products.

CARB staff intends to issue its initial draft-proposed VOC limits, definitions and enforcement provisions in early November 2019 and to present a formal proposed regulation to their Board in late 2020. It is important to note that from the beginning of this process, HCPA staff and our Air Quality Council members have been actively engaged in meeting directly with senior CARB staff to present relevant technical information about our members’ products. In fact, at the HCPA Annual Meeting, attendees will be able to hear directly from David Edwards, the Assistant Division Chief of CARB’s Air Quality Planning & Science Division. This is a very timely and extremely important opportunity to hear directly from CARB senior leadership at a critical junction in the regulatory process.
Whether it is legislative or regulatory, staying up-to-date with the policymaking that affects our products is of critical importance for members of the aerosol industry. If you have any questions about what is on the horizon at the state, federal or international level, contact [email protected] SPRAY