WAACNewsletter
Volume 6, Number 3, Sept. 1984, p.12

Legislative Update: Call for Action

by Zora Sweet Pinney

There is concern among knowledgeable artists and manufacturers about two California State bills coming before the Senate during this month's session. The two bills, Nos. 3438 and 3439, have passed the assembly and have proceeded through the Finance Committee. The journey through the Finance Committee was enhanced by the fact that no funds are allocated for either bill. Bill No. 3438 deals with labeling of art and craft materials for chronic toxicity hazards for adults and bill No. 3439 addresses the same problem for children.

Both bills were amended by the Assembly on 7 June this year, to include, among other things, the following paragraph:

"If an art or craft material complies with labeling standard D- 4236 of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the department may determine that the material complies with the provisions of this article."

The inclusion of this paragraph certainly validates the voluntary standard, however, since the bill imposes a state-mandated local program, permitting the State Department of Health Services to make judgments, other facts come into play.

If the California Law covering chronic toxicity labeling of these materials differs appreciably from laws in other states covering the same materials, we can be certain that some of the mediums, varnishes, general solvents and colors we have come to rely on from producers of artists materials will simply be withdrawn from the market. It certainly will be economically unfeasible for the manufacturers to make special labels for use in California and other individual states alone. The more states writing different laws, the more obvious this becomes.

The members of the ASTM Committee D1.57, who labored together to produce the Voluntary standard, have put together a workable method for labeling chronic toxicological problems. Currently the major manufacturers have joined the Art and Craft Materials Institute and submitted their formulations to the staff Toxicologist of that organization. He has reviewed this material and recommended the specific kinds of labeling that must be used and/or suggested changes in formulation. These are the prime producers of these materials here and abroad.

Those of us who have been active in the formulation of the ASTM standard feel that a voluntary standard, being cooperative rather than punitive will produce far more acceptable results for us all.

If you agree and feel that these bills should be stopped, please address a letter to Governor DEUKMAJIAN.

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