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June 2014

Apparel and Footwear Industry’s Manufacturing Restricted Substances List Will Pose Supply Chain Challenges

The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Group has released its Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL), identifying over 150 chemicals and chemical groups that are prohibited from being used in apparel and footwear above limits established by the list.  These chemicals include heavy metals, phthalates, volatile organic compounds, certain dyes, flame retardants, glycols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and halogenated solvents.  The MRSL undoubtedly will pose supply chain challenges, adding to the ever-increasing supply chain pressure to ban the use of certain categories of chemicals in the production of consumer products. In 2011, a group of apparel and footwear brands, including Adidas Group, Burberry, Nike, H&M and Levi Strauss & Co., jointly committed to reach “zero discharge of hazardous chemicals” across their products’ life cycle by 2020. In 2013, the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemical Group members published a Joint Roadmap outlining the steps needed to reach that goal; the development of a Manufacturing …Read More

SEC Issues New Guidance on Conflict Mineral Rule, But Rule’s Future Is Unclear

Following a U.S. Court of Appeal ruling in National Association of Manufacturers, et al. v. SEC, et al., No. 13-5252 (D.C. Cir. April 14, 2014), the Securities and Exchange Commission issued new guidance on compliance with the Conflicts Mineral Rule.  In the litigation, the National Association of Manufacturers and other business groups challenged the rule on First Amendment and other grounds. On appeal, the court struck down several, but not all, of the Conflict Mineral Rule requirements. Accordingly, at this time companies subject to the Rule do not have to report to the Commission and to state on their website that any of their products have ‘not been found to be “DRC conflict free’.  However, a petition for rehearing filed by the SEC on May 29, 2014 may result in yet another change in the Rule’s application. The appellate ruling left the rest of the Rule’s requirements, including the June 2, 2014 …Read More

EPA Promises To Issue New CBI Rule Under TSCA

Responding to an EPA Office of Inspector General recommendation, EPA has committed to publishing a comprehensive rule on confidential business information (CBI) claims under the Toxic Substances Control Act by September 30, 2014. The scope of CBI protection under TSCA has been a controversial issue for years, and is one of the key stumbling points for TSCA reform.  In 2009, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the agency’s commitment to increase access to and transparency in chemical information submitted to EPA by businesses. Since then, EPA has tightened its approach for CBI protection.  As part of that commitment, EPA has reviewed TSCA submissions and rejected numerous CBI claims. In 2010, EPA issued a CBI Declassification Challenge, asking industry to voluntarily withdraw CBI claims made in their TSCA submissions; this effort resulted in the declassification of almost 1000 documents.  Also in 2010, EPA notified the regulated community that it would scrutinize CBI claims for chemical identities …Read More

Over 130 Trade Organizations and Companies Oppose OEHHA’s Draft Prop 65 Warning Regulations

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s recent proposal to overhaul the Proposition 65 warning regulations has received an overwhelming negative response from the business community.  One submission alone, from a California Chamber of Commerce coalition, represented the views of over 130 trade organizations and companies expressing deep concerns about the cost and difficulty of compliance with the proposal’s warning requirements and the resulting increased risk of frivolous enforcement actions. GLO previously reported on OEHHA’s Proposition 65 warning regulation proposal.  OEHHA’s stated goals are to promote more meaningful Proposition 65 warnings and reduce frivolous enforcement actions.  Yet, as the business stakeholders pointed out in their comments, the proposal would have the opposite effect.  Key problematic aspects of the proposal include: Requirements for a business to submit certain information to OEHHA about the warnings being provided, including chemical exposure levels and instructions on avoiding exposures, all of which would be tied to …Read More