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December 2015

Washington Proposes to Amend PBT Criteria in Chemical Action Plans

Washington’s Department of Ecology is proposing to amend the criteria for persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals (PBTs) in its Chemical Action Plans to be more aligned with current scientific information and other jurisdictions’ criteria. The agency expects to release preliminary draft rule language for public and stakeholder review by March 2016. The proposed rulemaking would amend Chapter 173-333 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), which sets forth criteria used to identify a chemical as a PBT, provides a list of chemicals appropriate for Chemical Action Plan (CAPs) development, identifies the CAP development process, and details the CAP contents.  According to the Department of Ecology:  Updating the chemical list and streamlining the CAP process will allow Ecology to focus limited resources on the chemicals of most concern. During this update [the agency] will evaluate the opportunity to provide consistency by aligning chemical criteria with other jurisdictions, such as the European Union. PBTs and other chemicals have …Read More

Senate Passes TSCA Reform Bill

On December 17, 2015, the U.S. Senate passed S. 697, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act.  This long-awaited Senate action on TSCA reform had been delayed due to efforts by Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) to attach an unrelated amendment.  The bill now must be reconciled with the House of Representative’s TSCA reform bill, H.R. 2576, which the House approved in June.  The most significant challenge likely will be reconciliation of the bills’ preemption provisions, with Senator Barbara Boxer having voiced significant concerns over state rights to regulate chemicals.

OEHHA Issues Safe Use Determination for DINP in Roofing Membrane Products

On November 25, 2015, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment released a Safe Use Determination for Diisononyl Phthalate in Certain Single-Ply Polyvinyl Chloride Roofing Membrane Products.  This is the third Safe Use Determination that OEHHA has issued in the nearly thirty years since Proposition 65 was enacted. A Safe Use Determination (SUD) is a written statement issued by OEHHA, applying Proposition 65 to a specific listed chemical and exposure scenario and determining whether or not the exposure to the listed chemical is below the warning trigger for the chemical. Intended as a means to provide businesses with formal assurance about their obligation to provide Proposition 65 warnings for specific exposures, the SUD process historically has involved a tremendous amount of resources and time both by the entity requesting the SUD and OEHHA. In addition to paying its own expert, the requestor must reimburse OEHHA for its staff review of the …Read More

California Passes Microbeads Ban – But It May Become Preempted

On October 8, 2015, California Jerry Brown signed AB 888 into law, which bans plastic microbeads in personal care products (including toothpaste) at or above 1 parts per million by weight.  The law goes into effect in 2020.  Enforcement is by civil lawsuits brought by the California Attorney General and other public authorities. Violators are subject to civil penalties of up to $2,500 per day; a court also may order injunctive relief. California’s microbeads ban is not the first in the nation, but is the only one that would cover biodegradable plastics within its prohibition.  An industry coalition opposed the bill, arguing that the law stifles innovation and creates confusing ambiguities about whether naturally derived and nature identical alternatives are prohibited. In the meantime, on November 18, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R. 1321, a federal bill that would ban the sale or distribution of rinse-off cosmetic products that …Read More