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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XVI PUBLIC HEALTH
  • CHAPTER 111 PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Section 5R Definitions; distribution and sale of household cleansing products containing phosphorus; limitations; violations

Section 5R. For the purpose of this section the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:—

“Commercial establishment”, any premises used for the purpose of carrying on or exercising any trade, business, profession, vocation, or commercial or charitable activity including, but not limited to, laundries, hospitals, including veterinary facilities, biological research facilities, and food or restaurant establishments.

“Commissioner”, the commissioner of the department of public health.

“Household cleansing product”, any product, soap or detergent used for domestic or commercial cleaning purposes, including, but not limited to, the cleansing of fabric, dishes, food utensils and household and commercial premises. Household cleansing product shall not include: (i) foods, drugs and cosmetics, including personal care items such as toothpaste, shampoo and hand soap; (ii) products labeled, advertised, marketed and distributed for use primarily as poisons, such as pesticides or herbicides; (iii) liquid products labeled, advertised, marketed and distributed for use primarily as environmental surface cleaners in commercial establishments and which have elemental phosphorus content that does not exceed 0.5 percent of the product by weight, and more than 0.1 percent in the use dilution.

“Person”, any proprietor of a commercial establishment, corporation, municipality, the commonwealth or any of its departments, agencies or subdivisions, and any partnership, unincorporated association or other legal entity.

“Phosphorus”, elemental phosphorus.

“Trace quantity”, an incidental amount of phosphorus which is not part of the household cleansing product formulation, is present only as a consequence of manufacturing and does not exceed 0.5 percent of the content of the product by weight, expressed as elemental phosphorus.

No household cleansing product which contains a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of a trace quantity, except those used in a commercial dishwashing process, commercial laundries, for cleansing medical and surgical equipment, food and beverage processing equipment, and dairy equipment shall be distributed, sold, offered or exposed for sale at retail, wholesale, or used in a commercial establishment.

No household cleansing product which contains a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of 8.7 percent by weight expressed as elemental phosphorus, used in a commercial dishwashing process, commercial laundries, for cleansing medical and surgical equipment and food and beverage processing equipment, shall be distributed, sold, offered or exposed for sale at retail, wholesale, or used in a commercial establishment.

The provisions of this section shall not be construed to limit the phosphorus content of household cleansing products used in agricultural production and for cleansing equipment used in processing of agricultural products, or to prohibit the distribution, sale or use of trisodium phosphate for clean-up following lead paint removal or for the cleaning of lead dust.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to any municipality or the commonwealth or any department, agency or subdivision thereof when in the performance of official duties relating to conducting procedures necessary for safety tests to determine the presence of lead or other compounds.

The manufacturer of a cleansing product used primarily in industrial manufacturing, production and assembling processes or any user of the product may apply to the commissioner to have the product excluded from regulation under this chapter. Such application shall contain sufficient evidence to show that the cleansing product is used primarily in industrial manufacturing, production and assembling processes and that there is no reasonably available alternative to the user. Such exclusion, if granted, shall extend only to the use of the product in industrial manufacturing production and assembling processes. Such exclusion, if granted, shall be for a specified period of time and may be extended by the commissioner upon further application by the industrial manufacturer or user.

Manufacturers of household cleansing products distributed, sold or offered for sale in the commonwealth shall furnish to the commissioner for public record such information regarding such products as the commissioner may require, in such form as prescribed by the commissioner. For each household cleansing product, such information shall include but shall not be limited to:

(1) the amount of elemental phosphorus by weight as measured to the nearest one-tenth of one percent;

(2) a list naming each ingredient which equals or exceeds five percent of the contents of the product by weight and specifying the content by weight of each ingredient to the nearest percent;

(3) a list naming each ingredient which does not equal or exceed five percent of the contents of the product by weight; provided, however, that ingredients which are present in trace quantities need not be included on such list unless the commissioner specifically requires the listing of one or more of such ingredients by weight to the nearest percent; and

(4) the nature and extent of investigations and research performed by or for the manufacturer concerning the effects on human health and the environment of such product or such ingredients. Ingredients shall be listed using the generic chemical name which conforms with generally accepted rules of chemical nomenclature.

Such manufacturers shall furnish such information at such times as may be required by the commissioner. Such information shall be available to the public at the offices of the commissioner with the exception of portions which the manufacturer determines, subject to the approval of the commissioner, would be, if disclosed, seriously prejudicial to the manufacturer’s legitimate interest in trade secrets and economics of operation.

Any person who uses a cleaning agent in violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars.

Any person who sells, or distributes a cleaning agent in violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars and not more than five thousand dollars for each twenty-four hour period during which such violation occurs. The department of public health may seize any cleansing agent held for sale or distribution in violation of this section. The seized cleansing agents shall be forfeited.