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May 2014

Minnesota Bans Triclosan in Consumer Antiseptic Products

On May 16, 2014, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a ban on the sale of cleaning and personal care products containing triclosan, an antibacterial agent used in a broad range of consumer products like hand soaps, body washes and dishwashing liquids.  The ban will go into effect on January 1, 2017. Triclosan use in ordinary consumer products has generated controversy recently, with ongoing debates about the chemical’s safety and effectiveness. Minnesota’s law represents the first U.S. state to actually ban triclosan, with New York considering a pending bill, A08697B.  This action follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rule, published on December 13, 2013, that would require data to support a “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS) or “Generally Recognized As Safe And Effective” (GRASE) determination for over-the-counter antiseptic ingredients like triclosan. In other words, the FDA proposed rule would require data demonstrating that an antibacterial agent intended for ordinary …Read More

California Attorney General Issues Report on 2013 Proposition 65 Enforcement Activity

As part of the California Attorney General’s statutory obligation to monitor Proposition 65 enforcement, that office annually compiles data about the number of settlements, the parties entering into those settlements and how the monetary payments break down.  The AG just released its report for 2013, revealing that over 350 settlements resulted in total payments of over $17 million.  Plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees accounted for over 70% of the total payments made by settling defendants.  The report also shows a continued high profile presence of plaintiffs represented by The Chanler Group, who collectively are responsible for over $7.6 million in payments in almost 200 settlements. In a May 14, 2014 letter sent to various Proposition 65 plaintiff and defense counsel and posted on the AG’s Proposition 65 website, the AG also expressed concern about the continuing trend of “payments in lieu of civil penaties,” or “PILPs.”  Although regulatory criteria exist for PILPs paid in Proposition …Read More

Biomonitoring California Publishes Chemical Exposure Results

On May 5, 2014, the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program, also known as Biomonitoring California, published the results of its biomonitoring efforts in an interactive database.  According to the results,  a number of subpopulations have been exposed to several categories of chemicals. Biomonitoring California is a joint program of three California agencies:  the Department of Public Health, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control.  The program was established in 2006 by S.B. 1379 “to assist in the evaluation of toxic chemicals in a representative sample of Californians, establish trends of these chemicals in Californians’ bodies over time, and assess effectiveness of public health efforts and regulatory programs to decrease exposure of Californians to specific chemical contaminants.” Depending on the particular subpopulation being evaluated, the program tests for: Environmental phenols Herbicides Organochlorine pesticides Organophosphate pesticides Pyrethroid pesticides Perfluorochemicals Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) Polychlorinated biphenyls …Read More

California Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Bill Resurrects Proposition 37

Two years after Proposition 37 failed at the California polls, the California Senate has introduced S.B. 1381, which, like Proposition 37, would require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. A violation of the labeling requirements would be considered a misbranding violation under the California Sherman Food, Drug and Cosmetic Law and, along with the imposition of civil penalties and injunctive relief, could be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. Like the private enforcement provision of Proposition 65, “any person” may bring a lawsuit obtain injunctive relief to remedy a violation; although the bill would not authorize a private plaintiff to seek civil penalties or damages, the court would be authorized to require the alleged violator to pay the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees. If passed, the new requirements would become effective January 1, 2016. S.B. 1381 retains many of Proposition 37’s key requirements: Both Proposition 37 and S.B. 1381 require “clear and conspicuous” labeling of …Read More

Vermont House Approves Amended Toxics in Consumer Products Bill

On April 29, 2014, the Vermont House of Representatives passed a substantially revised version of S.239, a toxics in consumer products bill introduced by the Vermont Senate in January 2014. GLO previously reported on the Vermont Senate version of the bill, which would require manufacturers of consumer products containing chemicals of very high concern to notify the Vermont Department of Health and to pay $2,000 per such chemical. The amended bill has substantially narrowed the scope of consumer products that would be subject to its provisions. Among the changes in the House version: The bill’s scope has been narrowed to children’s consumer products; Packaging has been excluded from the definition of “consumer products”; Sixty-six “chemicals of very high concern to children” are listed.  The list, which may be expanded by rule-making, includes phthalates, bisphenol-A and heavy metals; The Vermont Department of Health may require labeling of children’s consumer products, or ban their …Read More