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OEHHA Examines the Use of Short Form Warnings

Short form warnings are a new construct of the Proposition 65 amendments that became effective on August 30, 2018. According to Section 25603, companies subject to the warning requirements may use a truncated short form warning on a label of a product requiring a clear and reasonable warning. It can be “affixed or printed on a product or its immediate container or wrapper.” Now California’s Office of Environmental Heath Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is evaluating the use of short-form warnings under Proposition 65. There is some indication that short-form warnings may undergo changes to continue to be used as an avenue…

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Congress Evaluates Bill to Amend EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System Program

In July 2018, Representative Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) introduced H.R.6399, a bill was introduced in Congress to eliminate the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program. Known as the Chemical Assessment Improvement Act (the “Act”), the bill would require evaluations under IRIS to be moved to the EPA’s “relevant program office” and mandate that assessments be handled in a “manner consistent with the best available science.”  The Act also calls for assessments to be reviewed by third-parties. IRIS was originally designed to identify and characterize the health hazards of chemicals found in the environment.  The evaluations conducted under the auspices of…

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EPA Withdraws Last of Direct Final Rules

In November, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew a direct final rule related to 26 significant new use rules known as SNURS under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The SNURS cover numerous substances including several polymers and a carbon nanomaterial, but critical comments from industry and non-governmental organizations led the EPA to suspend the direct final rule. Under Section 5(a), the EPA can identify the use of a chemical substance as a “significant new use” upon consideration of certain factors, and promulgate a SNUR to regulate such use. A company wishing to use a chemical subject to a SNUR…

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Amazon Bans Lethal Paint Strippers

In December, Amazon issued a statement that it would no longer sell paint stripper products containing the chemicals methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP).  As of 2019, the online giant will become the eleventh large retailer to impose a prohibition on these chemicals since May 2018. Methylene chloride and NMP are suspected of causing serious health risks to users including cancer, nervous system damage, and childhood developmental delays.  There have been 50 reported deaths allegedly resulting from acute exposure to methylene chloride in paint strippers, though some experts believe that the number of incidents is actually higher.  Because of the potential…

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OEHHA Proposes Clarifications to the Definition of “Actual Knowledge”

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recently proposed amendments to the warning regulations that became effective August 2018. These proposed amendments are intended to address some uncertainties regarding compliance in specific areas.  One of those areas is the scope of “actual knowledge” that a retail seller must have to bear the primary burden (vis-à-vis suppliers) of providing consumer product exposure warnings. As such, the changes relate to the definition of actual knowledge under Section 25600.2(f) to satisfy the criteria of Section 25600.2(e)(5), which imposes the primary to warn on the retailer under specified circumstances. Under the current regulations,…

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