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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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Clarifying Amendments Proposed for Sellers Under Proposition 65

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has proposed amendments to clarify the Proposition 65 regulations that became effective on August 30, 2018. OEHHA determined that the changes were necessary after numerous comments from stakeholders. The new warning regulations require that manufacturers, producers, packagers, suppliers and distributors of consumer products assume primary responsibility for complying with the regulations, while retailers are obligated to place exposure warnings on products only in limited situations.  Not surprisingly, the updated regulations have caused some confusion among various parties regarding their responsibilities. Now, the recently proposed amendments by OEHHA seek to simplify and better…

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OEHHA Intends to List PCBTF as Proposition 65 Carcinogen

In November 2018, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced its intention to list PCBTF as a carcinogen to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.  This decision was prompted by a 2018 report by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Toxicology Program (NTP) identifying “clear evidence” that PCBTF is carcinogenic. The study conducted by NTP took place over two years and purported to find an increased incidence of cancerous liver tumors in male and female mice that were exposed to the chemical. PCBTF is used as a solvent in…

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