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California to get cleaner consumer products
New regulations protect state from ozone and toxic chemicals
SACRAMENTO - Today the Air Resources Board adopted regulations that will reduce air pollution from 11 categories of consumer products including bug sprays and a variety of household and professionally-used cleaners.
The new regulations target volatile organic compounds and toxic air contaminants and when fully implemented will cut these emissions by about 7 tons per day, reduce airborne carcinogens, minimize potential greenhouse gas emissions and protect aquatic species from chemical runoff. The regulations will be fully effective December 31, 2013.
“ARB works with manufacturers to assure their products are effective but safe for the environment,” said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “These regulations are an example of how ARB balances public health with business interests.”
The new regulations address the emissions from a range of consumer product categories including insecticides, general purpose cleaners and degreasers, glass cleaners, and oven and grill cleaners.
ARB estimates the reduction of air pollution to be the equivalent of removing 500,000 vehicles from California’s roads.
ARB is required to reduce volatile organic emissions from the widest possible range of sources in an effort to minimize the state’s ozone levels. The volatile organic compounds mix with other air pollutants and ‘cook’ when exposed to sunlight to form ozone. Ozone inflames the respiratory tract, causes coughing, chest tightness and aggravation of asthma symptoms, and poses a serious threat to sufferers of cardio-pulmonary disease. Ozone can also substantially damage crops, forests and native plants.
ARB efforts to reduce ozone are required in order to comply with federal clean-air standards. Missing compliance deadlines could result in the loss of federal transportation funds and other sanctions.
To date, ARB consumer-product regulations have eliminated 225 tons per day of volatile organic compound emissions compared to 1990 levels. Still, ARB estimates that emissions from consumer products continue to produce 245 tons per day, about 12 percent of the state’s total burden of these smog-forming compounds.
ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.