This article is brought to you by Capital Public Radio concerning new “green chemistry” legislation in California.

It’s been four years since California legislators passed a law to regulate toxic chemicals in consumer products. The “Green Chemistry” law requires businesses to identify and find alternatives to some chemicals that could be harmful.

The final regulations will be released in January. But the rules are coming under fire from industries that say they will generate unpredictable costs and harm the state’s economy.

California’s new law affects every consumer product that may have any of more than 12-hundred “chemicals of concern.”

“These are chemicals widely understood throughout the world to cause problems like cancer, like reproductive harm, polluting our waters, polluting our air, those kinds of chemicals becomes our list of chemicals of concern,” says Raphael.

The prospect of regulating so many chemicals is daunting, so the department will target five chemicals in five products to begin with.

“The way they’ve organized the regulation could cause very serious economic impacts,” says Loren Kaye is with the California Chamber of Commerce. “Initially it’s going to affect manufacturers, but then manufacturers make products that get incorporated into further products, and then eventually it gets into distribution and retail, so it affects the whole stream of commerce.”

Environmentalists disagree.

“The Cal Chamber in this case doesn’t have any interest in protecting public health, ” says Kathryn Philips with the Sierra Club of California. “They have interest in satisfying manufacturers from outside the state who don’t want to see this rule adopted in California because they know this is going to be a landmark”
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