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April 2014

Attorneys General for 13 States Voice Objection to Chemicals in Commerce Act

On April 17, 2014, a coalition of 13 Attorneys General voiced their objections to the draft Chemicals in Commerce Act in a letter to United States House Representatives John Shimkus (R-IL) and Paul Tonko (D-NY).  The Attorneys General’s primary objection was the perceived overly broad preemption provisions, which, according to the letter, would deprive states of their ability to protect their citizens and environment.  The following states were represented in the letter:  California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Grimaldi Law Offices previously reported on the draft Chemicals in Commerce Act, released for discussion on February 27, 2014 by House Representative John Shimkus (R-IL).  With dual objectives of improving public confidence in chemical safety and facilitating interstate commerce, the draft bill contains a broad preemption provision that, as predicted, is now the source of controversy.  The Chemicals in Commerce Act discussion draft …Read More

Vermont Senate Passes Toxics in Consumer Products Bill

On March 27, 2014, the Vermont Senate approved S.239, a bill that would require manufacturers of consumer products to report the presence of “chemicals of high concern” in their products or product components and pay the Vermont Department of Health $2,000 per chemical.  Under the bill, the Department also would be authorized to ban the sale of consumer products containing chemicals of high concern.  The Vermont House is expected to approve the proposed legislation, and the bill could be enacted into law for an effective date of January 1, 2015. For the most part, S.239 appears to be narrower in scope than California’s Safer Consumer Products program but, as explained further below, no less problematic. The proposed Vermont legislation defines “consumer products” more narrowly than California’s regulations, limiting it to products “regularly used or purchased to be used for personal, family or household purposes.”  In contrast, the California program defines …Read More

Texas Lawsuit Highlights Tension Between Agency Transparency and Protection of CBI

The federal Freedom of Information Act requires federal agencies to provide public access to their records, subject to certain limitations.  FOIA’s goal is to ensure an informed citizenry and agency accountability.  At the same time, FOIA and states’ equivalent laws recognize the need to protect trade secrets and confidential business information (CBI), preventing such documents from being disclosed to the public if certain requirements are met.  Such protection is critical to the successful implementation of countless federal and state regulatory programs and leads to a circular conundrum:  Agencies need certain company sensitive information in order to fulfill their regulatory mandates, and regulated entities must be assured that CBI will be protected from public disclosure, for otherwise they will be less likely to provide such information to support the agencies’ regulatory functions — hence, the tension between public access to information and protection of sensitive confidential business information.  This tension has …Read More

EPA Issues Guidance on Web-Distributed Labeling for Pesticides

On April 4, 2014, EPA released Pesticide Registration Notice 2014-1 under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  The Notice provides guidance to registrants on providing legally valid pesticide labeling over the internet.  As part of this guidance, EPA also provides examples of proper web-distributed labeling (WDL) and improper WDL.  EPA’s vountary guidance, although not binding either on registrants or EPA, ought to assist pesticide registrants and users in benefiting from the advantages of the internet without straying outside of strict pesticide labeling requirements. The guidance is directed primarily at registrants of pesticide products marketed for agricultural and commercial (e.g., turf and structural) use.  Registrants would be required to submit an application for amended registration containing the new labeling statements, and, if EPA approves the application, would be responsible for creating, publishing and maintaining the website containing the WDL.  Container labels would be required to direct users to the relevant website …Read More