Proposition 65 Plaintiffs Off to Another High Volume Year of Enforcement
Proposition 65 private enforcers have wasted no time in 2014, serving 95 notices of violation so far this year — that’s over three per business day. Most of the notices target well-known issues like DEHP in fashion accessories, lead in apparel and lead in dietary supplements. Food is the subject of several notices served by the Center for Environmental Health and the Council for Education and Research on Toxics; these entities are targeting alleged exposures to lead and acrylamide in baby food, ginger, cookies, licorice and baking mixes. Shefa LMV, Crystal Gerard and the Center for Environmental Health have served extensive notices involving personal care products and alleged exposures to cocamide diethanolamine. Most notable, however, is a 60-Day Notice of Violation served on Southern California Edison Company by former SCE employee Vicki Rogers, alleging discharges of PCBs and asbestos into sources of drinking water. Ms. Rogers’ detailed claims stem from SCE’s alleged mishandling of hazardous materials in what she calls the Million Gallon Tank, which stores water for fire fighting and consumption for Catalina Island residents, among other claims. The timing and scope of the alleged violations suggest that statute of limitations and other defenses may be raised. Ms. Rogers’ notice, which also asserts violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, is far from typical and, if pursued, could generate some interesting court rulings.