Heartland Institute Reacts to New ‘Toxic’ Chemical Rules in California

Published November 2, 2011

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control this week tightened up the state’s “green chemistry” regulation. Critics of the previous policy said it was weak and did not give consumers sufficient information about potentially harmful chemicals in everyday products.

The new list of so-called “chemicals of concern” will include even small traces of silicone, bisphenol, and other substances. Businesses or manufacturers eventually will have to either replace these chemicals in their products, or explain to California regulators why the chemicals are necessary – and then inform consumers of the chemicals and their potential dangers.

The following statements from experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at [email protected] and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/731-9364.

“Efforts by California bureaucrats to stigmatize thousands of beneficial chemicals as ‘chemicals of concern’ will harm public health and welfare. The vast majority of chemicals targeted by the state have caused no real-world negative consequences to human health, but have offered consumers cost-effective benefits that will be difficult to replace.

“Forcing consumers to forego beneficial goods and services, while spending more of their money to replace these goods and services, in the name of fighting phantom health threats will merely leave less money available for proper nutrition, housing, education, health care and legitimate environmental concerns.”

James M. Taylor
Senior Fellow for Environmental Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The chemical regulatory environment in California is now extremely anti-progress and anti-business and will continue the decline of California to a second-rank economy that cannot compete. The problem is that it will result in know-it-all Californians moving to Texas to avoid the California governmental regulatory insanity, but then pushing their anxieties and environmental agendas. Bad habits and attitudes that create government mischief are not welcome in Texas.

“The rationale of increasing the burden for those who use chemicals will cause hardship and deprivation for the citizens of California.

“In a bow to the discredited precautionary principle, not a policy principle but an expression of irrational anxiety, the California state agencies pushing these new regulations and expanded list of chemicals of concern will cause economic hardships that will diminish quality of life and citizen well-being, and will cause a reduction in life expectancy.

“There is no such thing as an innocent government regulation. The most dangerous government regulatory programs start off with good intentions and then they go off the rails because the first casualty of ideology and good intentions is often the truth. The truth is the list and the regulations are irrational and senseless precautionary principle chemophobia.”

Dr. John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D.
Policy Advisor, Health Care
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The informal draft regulations for Safer Consumer Products put out this week go beyond setting up reasonable standards for protecting Californians from potentially dangerous chemicals. These burdensome regulations will hinder economic growth and product innovation and produce little or no public health or environmental benefits.

“The fact that they nearly quadrupled the number of so-called ‘chemicals of concern’ on their list and reduced the chemical quantity threshold by 90 percent seems to be a big unreasonable leap in the wrong direction. If these regulations are implemented they will have huge repercussions for California businesses and consumers and a negligible impact on public health.”

John Nothdurft Director of Government Relations The Heartland Institute [email protected] 312/377-4000

“Nobody wants people to be exposed unnecessarily to toxic chemicals, but there has been no tragic die-off of Californians requiring draconian regulations as the department is proposing. Californians, like other Americans, are living longer than ever, as a result of increased overall prosperity. Impoverishing Californians by making all products more expensive, as this regulatory regime will do, will actually lower living standards and thus individual health and longevity.”

S.T. Karnick
Director of Research
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.