BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                               AB 2505
                                                                       

                      SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
                        Senator S. Joseph Simitian, Chairman
                              2007-2008 Regular Session
                                           
           BILL NO:    AB 2505
           AUTHOR:     Brownley
           AMENDED:    May 23, 2008
           FISCAL:     Yes               HEARING DATE:     June 23, 2008
           URGENCY:    No                CONSULTANT:       Caroll  
           Mortensen
            
           SUBJECT  :    PVC PACKAGING PHASE-OUT

            SUMMARY  :    
           
            Existing law  , under the Toxics in Packaging Prevention Act,  
           bans the sale or promotion of packaging that contains one or  
           more specified heavy metals: lead, cadmium, mercury, or  
           hexavalent chromium, if the metals have been intentionally  
           introduced during manufacture or distribution and provides for  
           a limited exemption under specific conditions, including date  
           of manufacture prior to January 1, 2006, or inclusion of  
           metals needed to meet safety standards, etc.

            This bill  :

           1) Makes findings and declarations about polyvinyl chloride  
              (PVC) packaging containers.

           2) Defines a PVC packaging container as a container  
              predominately made of PVC and is used to contain, hold,  
              protect, or display another product, alone or in  
              combination with other materials and may be flexible or  
              rigid and of various shapes.

           3) Exempts from the definition of PVC packaging container:
              a)   Those used to contain a petroleum based product used  
                in or on motor vehicles.
              b)   Those used to contain drugs as defined in the federal  
                Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
              c)   Those used solely in transportation and not made  
                available to consumers.
              d)   Medical devices as described in Section 109920 of the  









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                Health and Safety Code such as instruments, apparatus,  
                implements, machines, contrivances, implants, in vitro  
                reagents, or other similar or related articles. 

           4) Prohibits, on and after January 1, 2010 from manufacturing,  
              importing, selling or distributing in commerce PVC  
              packaging containers.

           5) Requires, on or after January 1, 2010,  all plastic  
              container manufactures to keep on file and to furnish a  
              certificate of compliance to a purchaser of the plastic  
              container certifying the container is in compliance with  
              the requirements of this new article. 

           6) Requires the purchaser of plastic containers to retain the  
              certificate for each container as long as the purchaser is  
              in procession of the container.

           7) Requires plastic container manufacturers to provide upon  
              request to the Department of Toxic Substances Control  
              (DTSC) a copy of the certificate.

           8) Requires that, if a plastic container manufacturer  
              reformulates or creates a new plastic container, they must  
              provide a new or amended certificate to a purchaser.

           9) Prescribes that a person who violates the new article is  
              not subject to the criminal penalties of the chapter.


           10)Provides for the imposition of administrative civil  
              penalties of up to $2,500 per day per violation, which may  
              be pursued in any court of competent jurisdiction. Civil  
              penalties are to be deposited in the Hazardous Waste  
              Control Account for expenditure by the DTSC, upon  
              appropriation, for enforcement. 


           11)Provides that a person who violates this prohibition shall  
              not be subject to criminal penalties. 


            COMMENTS  :









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            1) Purpose of Bill  .  According to the author, this law is  
              designed to solve the human and environmental health risks  
              associated with PVC consumer packaging.  The author cites a  
              Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse study that found a large  
              percentage of PVC packaging tested contained lead or  
              cadmium. Further, they note that PVC is a "potent  
              contaminant" of the plastics recycling stream, reducing  
              California's ability to recycle its plastic waste.  They  
              point out that PVC manufacturing plants, such as the Keysor  
              site in Saugus, have been included on the Federal EPA  
              priority list for Superfund clean up.  The author and  
              sponsor also point to several large retailers that are  
              moving toward phase-outs of PVC products and packaging thus  
              demonstrating the feasibility of the approach contained in  
              this bill.

            2) Just Packaging  .  This bill looks to address the problems  
              posed by PVC plastic in the waste stream.  It should be  
              noted that this bill does not address the issues  
              surrounding the production of PVC nor the use of PVC in  
              other consumer or medical products.

            3) What is PVC?   Most vinyl chloride is used to make polyvinyl  
              chloride (PVC) plastic and vinyl products.  Exposure to  
              vinyl chloride emissions has been linked to adverse human  
              health effects, including liver cancer, other liver  
              diseases, and neurological disorders.  EPA has classified  
              vinyl chloride as a Group A human carcinogen.  The  
              production of PVC is attributed to a host of public health  
              and environmental issues including the release of dioxin,  
              one of the most potent human carcinogens.

           Even with the issues surrounding PVC, it is ubiquitous and is  
              used in thousands of applications including building  
              materials such as cables, window frames, doors, walls,  
              paneling, water and wastewater pipes and in home products  
              such as vinyl flooring, vinyl wallpaper, window blinds and  
              shower curtains.

           It is also very common in consumer articles such as credit  
              cards, records, toys, binders, folders, pens; it is used in  
              the car industry, especially as underseal, in hospitals for  









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              medical disposables, and as cable and wire insulation.   
              And, as addressed in this bill, it is widely used in  
              packaging because of its ability to take many forms and its  
              properties of strength and flexibility.

            4) Recycling Stream Issues  .  According to the author, PVC  
              packaging is virtually nonrecycled in California.   
              Collection, cost and toxicity concerns prevent any  
              large-scale recycling of PVC resin.  PVC is a declared and  
              potent contaminant of the PET recycling stream, the  
              nontoxic, dominant resin used for consumer plastic  
              packaging.  The presence of PVC packaging in the waste  
              stream prevents some municipalities from accepting certain  
              types of plastic packaging for fear of PVC contamination.   
              Phasing out the sale of PVC packaging would result in the  
              use of packaging that can be made from recycled material  
              and that can be recycled, increasing California's landfill  
              diversion rate.

           PVC packaging (labeled with the #3 symbol) is often confused  
              by consumers as polyethylene terephthalate, or PETE (the  
              plastic labeled with the #1 symbol and commonly used for  
              clear plastic applications), because of the visual  
              similarity of the two materials.  Even highly sensitive  
              mechanical sorting equipment used by recycling companies  
              has difficulty distinguishing the two types of plastics.   
              This confusion results in the contamination of PETE during  
              the recycling process.  This is of note in that many of the  
              PVC packaging containers addressed in this bill do not  
              carry a recycling symbol and/or the public is not  
              accustomed to looking for one because they do not fit the  
              description of a 'typical' recyclable container.  However,  
              as local governments expand their recycling programs to  
              include a wider array of plastics, this issue can only  
              become more problematic.  As an example, as a result of an  
              increase in the awareness of recycling plastic grocery bags  
              and other film plastics, it is not unlikely that other  
              types of flexible, 'filmy' type plastics, many likely made  
              from PVC, could find their way to the recycling stream.

           PVC creates significant technological problems for PET bottle  
              recycling.  Because both PET and PVC sink in water, they  
              cannot be separated in traditional plastic recycling wash  









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              systems without expensive detection equipment.  There is no  
              equipment available that will remove 100% of PVC from PET  
              plastic.  PVC has a much lower melt temperature than PETE.  
              At PETE's melt temperature, PVC burns destroying the  
              surrounding PET and harming the processing equipment.  Even  
              very small amounts (100 parts per million) of PVC in PET  
              will reduce its value or make it unusable.  PVC plastic  
              threatens the well-developed PET recycling infrastructure.

            5) Opposition concerns  .  Opponents to the measure state that  
              this bill creates a burdensome certification process, and  
              is duplicative of other plastic packaging laws and other  
              laws that govern PVC.  They also purport that the bill is  
              based on inaccurate information about PVC.  They also  
              contend that the bill presents inconsistent policy  
              direction and point to the various exemptions in the bill.

            6) Considerations  .  The bill contains a certification process  
              for manufacturers and purchasers of PVC packaging.  The  
              author should consider options to streamline this process  
              while still providing protection to downstream users to  
              ensure they do not receive a banned product.  

            SOURCE  :        Californians Against Waste  

           SUPPORT  :       Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
                          American Association on Intellectual and  
                          Developmental
                               Disabilities
                          Breast Cancer Fund
                          Clean Water Action
                          Environmental Health Fund
                          Heal the Bay
                          Healthy Child Healthy World
                          Global P.E.T., Inc.
                          Glynn Environmental Coalition
                          National Resources Defense Council
                          City of Oakland
                          City and County of San Francisco
                          Sierra Club California
                          
            OPPOSITION  :    American Chemistry Council
                          California Business Properties Association









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                          California Chamber of Commerce
                          California Film Extruders and Converters  
                          Association
                          California Grocers Association
                          California Manufacturers and Technology  
                          Association
                          California Retailers Association
                          California Restaurant Association
                          Chemical Industry Council of California
                          Council for Responsible Nutrition
                          Grocery Manufacturers Association
                          Industrial Environmental Association
                          Personal Care Products Council
                          Society of the Plastics Industry
                          Toy Industry Association
                          Western States Petroleum Association
                          Window and Door Manufacturers Association