Category Archives: Toxic Torts

TSCA Criminal Provision Update: More Bark Than Bite

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On June 22, 2016, Congress passed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, updating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).[1] Congress kept standard violations—whether done knowingly or willfully—as misdemeanors, though it increased the maximum fine from $25,000 to $50,000. Keeping even willful TSCA violations as misdemeanors distinguishes TSCA from other environmental laws, including the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, in which negligent violations are misdemeanors but knowing or willful violations are felonies. Congress did add a felony endangerment provision [...]Read more

US EPA Announces its Implementation Plan for TSCA Reform

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TSCA Reform was signed into law just one week ago on June 22, 2016, but a mere one week later, on June 29, U.S. EPA has published its implementation plan, which sets an aggressive schedule to get into place the basic rulemaking frameworks to implement its vast new authorities. U.S. EPA is proposing to establish its regulatory framework for implementation of its new authorities into four main rulemakings, and propose three of them by mid-December 2016 in the twilight days of the Obama Administration. The four main rulemakings are: 1) prioritization process rule, 2) risk evaluation process [...]Read more

Historic TSCA Reform Signed Into Law

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The outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has just received the most significant update in decades. On Wednesday, June 22, President Obama signed into law sweeping reforms, which had bi-partisan support in both houses. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve a revised version of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bill, H.R. 2576, originally approved by the House last year. The Senate passed the bill on June 7. The newly signed bill was a compromise following House and Senate negotiations to reconcile differences between last year’s House [...]Read more

California – New Prop 65 Product Label Requirements Likely to be Adopted

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Today, May 17, 2016, OEHHA released a second set of revisions to its proposed regulations to change the warning labeling requirements for Prop 65.  This is the first major change to the words required on product labels and shelf signs and catalogues selling products into California in several decades.  OEHHA has been working on these warning wording and method changes since 2013.  The most recent proposal commenced in November 2015, and has gone through several public comment periods and revisions.  Today’s May 17th revision is probably the last set of revisions before adoption.  Comments [...]Read more

I See a Prop 65 Label On This Product, But What Does It Mean? New California Website to Explain

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At the beginning of 2016, the State of California (OEHHA) adopted a new regulation to give itself authority to create and operate a website to provide information about the Prop 65 labels the public sees on everyday products and in everyday locations such as restaurants, gas stations and airports.  New section 25205 allows OEHHA to post information about pathways of exposure to chemicals in products and strategies to avoid exposure, while also providing a disclaimer that OEHHA cannot assure the accuracy of anything it posts.   It creates a petition process for manufacturers, sellers and the [...]Read more

New TSCA Discussion Draft Released Ahead of Hearing

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Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, released his latest discussion draft of the “Chemicals in Commerce Act.” He first released a discussion draft in February, and has since made some changes to it.  Some of the changes in the new discussion draft are: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is given new authority to require the development of new hazard and exposure information for priority designation, if the existing information is insufficient, under section 4; In section 5, the legal standard for [...]Read more

American Bar Association Publishes TSCA Reform White Papers

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As reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is in motion in both the Senate (legislation) and the House (legislation and hearings), the American Bar Association (ABA) has released five white papers that they hope will “promote greater awareness, understanding, and dialogue on TSCA as it exists today, and on the potential shape of future reforms.” ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) has provided in depth analysis to provide a framework of the overview of TSCAwith the group’s first of five white papers. ABA SEER’s other four white papers delve into specific [...]Read more

DTSC Announces Draft Initial Priority Products

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The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has announced their first set of draft Priority Products as part of the Safer Consumer Products regulations. Being named a Priority Product, means the products are consumer goods that are solid in California and each contain at least one Candidate Chemical that have a hazard trait that can harm people or the environment. The three Priority Products and Candidate Chemicals are as follows: Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Systems containing unreacted diisocyanates, Children’s Foam Padded Sleeping Products containing TRIS phosphate or TDCPP, [...]Read more

Draft TSCA Reform Bill Released

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House Energy and Commerce Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) released a discussion draft legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Shimkus’ subcommittee has held a number of hearings on TSCA reform within the last year, and has now formulated legislation that he believes can be moved forward. The Chemicals in Commerce Act (CCA) would create a tiered information development system, which would allow EPA to obtain the hazard and exposure information it needs to enforce the law. The bill would allow EPA to place chemicals in commerce into [...]Read more

Subcommittee Holds Hearing on TSCA Reform

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Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held their fifth hearing on ways to improve the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The hearing focused on TSCA sections 4 and 8. Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus in his opening statement said in regards to section 4, “We need to push beyond re-litigating those cases and focus on what authorities EPA has now or could reasonably use in the future to produce tailored, necessary and high quality test data and other information to carry out TSCA.” The hearing also focused on section 8 of TSCA and EPA’s [...]Read more