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June 2016

President Obama Signs TSCA Amendments into Law

On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, amending — for the first time in 40 years — the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. These amendments reflect strong bipartisan leadership on a thorny chemical regulation issue that has plagued Congress for years, i.e., how to improve chemical safety in the United States without impeding innovation and U.S. companies’ competitive standing in the global marketplace. That said, there will be a period of uncertainty, while U.S. EPA begins the rulemakings necessary to implement the amendments and while the agency reviews post-amendment Pre-Manufacture Notices and other applications for approval. More to come….

FDA Scrutinizes Phthalates — And Sours on Evaporated Cane Juice

On May 20, 2016, the federal Food and Drug Administration announced that it had agreed to consider a petition to withdraw its approval of a number of phthalate chemicals as food additives for use in food packaging and food handling equipment. The petition was submitted by a number of non-governmental organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund and Center for Food Safety. Phthalates can be used in food contact applications such as coatings in articles for holding food, or as components of paper and paperboard coming into contact with foods, or adhesives. The petition identifies a number of phthalate chemicals whose approvals should be withdrawn, and seeks to prohibit altogether the use of eight phthalates as food contact substances. These include di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, butyl benzyl phthalate, diisononyl phthalate, and di-n-butyl phthalate, which also are on the Proposition 65 list.  The petition asserts, among other arguments, that: These chemicals are in …Read More

BPA Maximum Acceptable Dose Level Is Finalized – But Not Quite In Time For New BPA Claims

On June 13, 2016, the California Office of Administrative Law approved the Proposition 65 Maximum Acceptable Dose Level (MADL) for bisphenol A (BPA) of 3 micrograms per day via dermal absorption from solid materials, proposed by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment on March 17, 2016.  The MADL becomes legally effective on October 1, 2016. OEHHA has not yet proposed a MADL for BPA oral exposure; that regulatory exercise likely is months away, if not longer. In the meantime, the Center for Environmental Health has served a Proposition 65 Notice of Violation on Del Taco Restaurants, Inc., Del Taco LLC and Grewal Superfoods Inc., alleging consumer exposures to BPA in thermal receipt paper. Interestingly, the Notice of Violation references a receipt obtained on May 11, 2016, the very same day that BPA’s listing as a Proposition 65 reproductive toxicant became effective. This may be the beginning of a significant …Read More

OEHHA Issues Safe Use Determination for DINP in Tandus Centiva ER3 Modular Vinyl Carpet Tile

On May 27, 2016, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment published a Proposition 65 Safe Use Determination (SUD) for diisononyl phthalate (DINP) in Tandus Centiva ER3® Modular Vinyl Carpet Tiles. The SUD concludes that no Proposition 65 warnings are required for DINP exposures to residents with such carpet tiles installed in their homes, if DINP is present in the tiles only in the tiles’ secondary backing layer and at a concentration of no more than 9% by weight in that layer. The SUD also concludes that no Proposition 65 warnings are required for professional installers, if the DINP is present only in the secondary backing layer of the tiles at a concentration of no more than 8.7% by weight. An SUD represents OEHHA’s formal interpretation of Proposition 65 as applied to a specific set of facts regarding an exposure to a listed chemical.  The SUD applies only to the …Read More

H.R. 5205 Would Require Disclosure of Cleaning Product Ingredients

On May 12, 2016, Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) introduced the “Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2016,” H.R. 5205, which would require ingredient labeling for certain consumer cleaning products. The introduction of this bill follows the failure of a similar California bill, AB 708. Under H.R. 5205, all ingredients, even those present at less than 1% of the product, would have to be identified. Additional information would have to be disclosed on the manufacturer’s website, including an explanation of each ingredient’s purpose. Significantly, the bill would require the disclosure of individual ingredients in dyes, fragrances and preservatives, information which, as trade secrets, historically has been the subject of robust efforts to protect against public disclosure. Failure to comply with any of these requirements would render the product “misbranded” within the meaning of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. The bill’s preemption provision specifically allows state regulation unless compliance with the state regulation and …Read More