Meeting the new standards “will not be easy,” but the company supported them, saying they “reflect the state of technology for years to come.” Yost of the industry group said the most challenging limits will be for spray floor cleaners that are used with special, lightweight mops and the heavy-duty hand cleaners.
The companies are struggling to make a spray floor cleaner that can meet the standards without leaving slippery residue left by surfactants, he said.
In the new rule, the board banned alkyphenol surfactants as substitutes for the smog-causing compounds because they are estrogen-like substances that can harm aquatic life when discharged into waterways. Alkyphenols are used in some detergents.
In their staff report, air board officials also expressed concern that some manufacturers of glass and floor cleaners and other products may switch to glycol ethers, which are exempt from the rule. A health study published last month linked glycol ethers to asthma and allergies in children.
But Takemoto said glycol ethers probably won’t be used much because they aren’t very effective cleaners and they evaporate slowly, which leaves a residue. She said the air board will watch over industry to monitor glycol ethers.
"If use were to increase we would again evaluate whether mitigation measures would be necessary," said air board spokesman Dimitri Stanich.
State officials decades ago decided to exempt glycol ethers from state smog rules because they have low volatility and don't contribute much to smog. On the other hand, air-quality officials in the Los Angeles region don't exempt them. As a result, glycol ethers are limited in paints, which are regulated by the Los Angeles board, but not in household cleaners.
Environmental groups said they will work with the air board next year in an attempt to regulate glycol ethers.
Generally, the groups welcomed the smog-reducing restrictions, saying it will have the added benefit of improving indoor air.
“Precedent-setting regulations such as these will supply consumers with the safer products that they deserve and demand,” said Luis Cabrales, deputy director of campaigns at the Coalition for Clean Air.
“Although consumers may have difficulty drawing a connection between household cleaning products and smog…the cumulative use of these products by more than 39 million Californians results in significant emissions,” he said.
Pedro Guzman, a car washer in Los Angeles, told the board on Thursday that he has experienced skin rashes and respiratory problems from his use of window and metal cleaners six days a week. He said he supports the rules because they mean he will face fewer health risks and have a cleaner environment.
The California board must still eliminate more emissions from consumer products by the end of 2013 under its state air plan, which is enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. New rules targeting a minimum of four more tons per day are expected to be proposed next year.