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  • Allison Stalker

Chemicals in Consumer Products

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Last year, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) developed the Responsible Care Product Safety Code for chemical companies to determine safe amounts of chemicals to use when manufacturing consumer products. The code will begin to be enforced next year and confirmed by third party auditors.

According to the ACC, the purpose of the code is to “drive continuous improvement in chemical product safety as part of the industry’s signature environmental, health, safety and security management system”. The code “provides a comprehensive framework to drive continuous improvement in chemical product safety and stewardship. Implementation of the code will be mandatory for all ACC Responsible Care companies.

The code includes 11 management practices, stated below.

  1. Leadership Commitment. Senior leadership commitment to a culture of product safety and stewardship. Each company’s senior leadership demonstrates clear commitment through their words, policies and actions throughout their organization and in external communications.

  2. Accountability and management. Clearly established organizational accountability for product safety and stewardship. Product safety and stewardship are integral to business processes and employee expectations.

  3. Prioritization of products. A risk-based process that considers available hazard and exposure information to prioritize products in need of further evaluation.

  4. Product information. A process to develop and maintain information on safety, health and environmental hazards, intended uses and exposures for new and existing products to support risk characterization and product safety management.

  5. Risk characterization. A process for the characterization of product risks based on information collected on hazards, intended uses, and exposures associated with the stages of a product’s lifecycle.

  6. Product safety management. A process to identify, implement, document and communicate health, safety and environmental measures to manage risk so that products can be safely used for their intended purposes.

  7. Management of new information. A process to identify and evaluate new information that may trigger changes to risk characterizations and product safety management actions. Such triggers include significant new product safety and stewardship information, including hazard, use and exposure information.

  8. Product design and improvement. A process that considers health, safety and environmental impacts in the innovation, design, development, and improvement of products, their manufacture, and uses.

  9. Value chain communication, cooperation and outreach. Processes to work with suppliers, customers and other value chain participants to foster product safety management and information exchange along the value chain, commensurate with risk.

  10. Information sharing. Publicly available product safety and stewardship information.

  11. Performance assessment and continuous improvement. Routine monitoring and assessment of product safety and stewardship, with processes in place to drive continuous performance improvement and implement corrective actions when needed.

A discussion was held this past May on Capitol Hill to review the code and how the safe management of chemicals will provide allow consumers to feel more secure with their purchase.

“The Product Safety Code is our industry’s public commitment to our role in the safe management of chemicals,” said Cal Dooley, ACC president and CEO. “The Code champions transparency, accountability and science-based product development, going above and beyond what is required by law, to foster even greater public confidence in the safety of chemicals.”

For more information on the implementation of the code, click here.

To view the code, click here.



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