Over a dozen businesses have received roughly 400 interim waivers from New York to comply with upcoming restrictions on the use of 1,4-dioxane in personal care and cleaning products.

The permits grant one-year extensions for specific cleaning products or cosmetics produced by L'Oreal, Coty, Reckitt Benckiser, and other companies that provided evidence that they could not reduce their concentrations to those required by state legislation established in 2019. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) of New York is still developing a regulation to execute the Act, so there is still uncertainty over implementation.

Businesses must comply with a 2ppm standard for personal care and household cleaning goods by the end of the year, and a 10ppm threshold for non-cleansing cosmetics like lotions. The standard for cleaning and personal care products will be reduced to 1ppm on December 31, 2023. Up to two waiver requests per article are allowed from manufacturers.

As of September 22, the government had approved waivers from 13 businesses for 391 various products with 1,4-dioxane concentrations between 2.02 and 57.63 ppm. Chemical Watch, was informed by the government that although nine businesses received denial letters, some "were later able to rectify flaws with their application and acquire an approval."

Nevertheless, according to the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC), "most of our business will meet New York's new 1,4-dioxane restrictions."

The American Cleaning Institute's (ACI) Arielle Brown, senior manager of government affairs, stated to Chemical Watch that "formulators are working closely with suppliers to reach" the defined limits. According to her, the industry is strategically using the waiver system set up by NYS DEC to resolve difficulties.

Regulatory action

The difficulty, according to Ms. Brown, is that there is no regulation in place. Angela Diesch, partner at Amin Talati Wasserman, said this poses "a lot of things that are truly up in the air," including what test procedures businesses should employ to prove compliance, during a PCPC conference last week.

The DEC reported that in order to gather input for the ongoing regulation, it has organised two stakeholder workshops and produced a draught performance criteria document on testing. To examine exposures missed in the first 2020 assessment, the EPA plans to review its 1,4-dioxane TSCA risk evaluation. The organisation is also examining how the compound's "down-the-drain" emissions affect the broader public.

The pollution of drinking water with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of the ethoxylation reaction used to make surfactants, has raised concerns across the country.

References: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/121658.html

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