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January 2016

State Attorneys General Push for Limited Preemption in TSCA Reform

As the House and Senate work towards reconciling their Toxic Substances Control Act modernization bills, the Attorneys General from 12 states continue to urge the legislators to limit the preemptive effect of an amended TSCA on a state’s authority to regulate chemicals.  The Attorneys General outlined their concerns in a January 19, 2016 letter to the Chairpersons of the Senate and House Committees leading the reconciliation efforts. TSCA preemption of state law has long been a thorny issue with TSCA reform efforts.  Senator Boxer, who is former Chair and now Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has voiced strong opposition to any preemption provision that would erode state rights.  At least in part in response to that strong opposition, the most recent House and Senate bills, which take different approaches to preemption, would grandfather state laws existing as of August 1, 2015 — meaning that laws like …Read More

OEHHA Adopts Proposition 65 Website Regulation

On January 25, 2016, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment finalized its Proposition 65 website regulation, publishing a Notice of Adoption – New Section 25205, Proposition 65 Lead Agency Website.  Under the new regulation, OEHHA will develop and maintain a website to provide public information regarding exposures to Proposition 65-listed chemicals for which warnings are being provided. The regulation becomes effective on April 1, 2016, though it is not clear at this time whether the website will operational by then. The website will include links to information compiled by other agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health. But the controversial component of this regulation is the requirement for businesses to respond to OEHHA requests for extensive information regarding Proposition 65 chemicals in their products. Such information includes, for example, the concentration of the chemical in the product and the extent of exposures to such chemicals. …Read More

President Obama Signs Federal Microbeads Ban Into Law

On December 28, 2015, President Obama signed H.R. 1321 into law, amending the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FFDCA”)  to ban plastic microbeads. As amended, the FFDCA bans the manufacture or introduction into interstate commerce of rinse-off cosmetics containing intentionally-added plastic microbeads beginning in 2017. This action follows a number of individual states, including California, passing their own microbeads bans. The primary concern motivating these laws and the new federal law is the environmental impact of the microbeads as they are washed off, pass into sewer systems and into waterways.  As the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Report 114-371 (the “Report”) stated:  “Microbeads are too small to be filtered out by most sewer treatment facilities and make their way into our waterways and wildlife. Microbeads can absorb chemicals commonly found in waterways and become large enough that they are mistaken for food by small fish and wildlife.” The …Read More