California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has extended the public comment period for the proposed amendments to their “short-form” Proposition 65 “safe harbor” warning regulations in response to a request from the California Chamber of Commerce. OEHHA’s proposed amendments change existing provisions addressing label size, catalog and internet warnings, and other issues (see
California proposes further modifications to its “Short-Form” Proposition 65 warnings
As we reported this past year, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) seeks to significantly amend the regulations under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (aka “Proposition 65”) to limit use of the previous State-approved “safe harbor” short-form warnings for regulated chemicals in consumer products. The State announced on December 13, 2021 further amendments to the proposed regulations, but generally continues to propose that use of the current “short form” safe harbor warning be dramatically scaled back, which will impact thousands of consumer products by requiring more specificity in future warning language.
As background, current California law allows a manufacturer, distributor or retailer of a consumer product to place either a “long form” or “short form” warning on the product or product packaging if one or more of 900+ regulated chemicals is in the product. The long form warning identifies by name “at least one” chemical from each regulated chemical risk category (i.e., carcinogens or reproductive toxicants). The short form alternate warning only requires identification of the risk category (ies) – not particular chemicals.
After reviewing over 160 written and oral comments on a prior proposed version of the regulations, OEHHA modified the proposed regulation again to:…
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EU EHS and Product Compliance laws: what to look out for in 2021
2021 is shaping up to be a very busy year for those who are affected by EU laws relating to Environment, Health & Safety, ESG and product compliance matters.
Important developments are expected this year across a number of the EU’s flagship Green Deal policy initiatives, but there are many other significant initiatives to watch out for.
Reed Smith’s EMEA EHS & Product Compliance team will be keeping a close eye on them all for you and writing more detailed pieces on developments as they occur throughout the year.
In the meantime, in this short blog we provide just a snapshot of what you can expect to see during 2021:…
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Recent district court decision limits Proposition 65 warnings on First Amendment ‘compelled speech’ grounds
A U.S. District Court recently barred enforcement of California’s Proposition 65 warning requirement on the First Amendment ground of “compelled speech.” Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to consumers before exposing them to over 900 chemicals linked to cancer or reproductive toxicity. Although the State of California will almost certainly appeal the decision, National Association of Wheat Growers et al., v. Xavier Becerra could be a turning point for Proposition 65 and set the stage for further challenges to consumer product warning labels on First Amendment grounds.
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Comments sought on review of the EU General Product Safety Directive
The European Commission is currently seeking public comment as part of its review of the EU General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) (Directive 2001/95/EC).
The GPSD sets out a broad regulatory framework for the placement of non-food consumer products (not regulated by other product specific EU legislation) on the EU market. In particular, it establishes the general safety requirement, that producers must only place safe products on the EU market, and requires that appropriate steps are taken where there are risks to consumers. The GPSD also established the EU Rapid Alert System (Safety Gate), a platform for communication between EU member states and the European Commission on dangerous products. The GPSD must be transposed into the national law of all EU member states, and subsequently there may be some variations between jurisdictions.
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CARB plans more consumer product regulations to reduce smog-forming emissions
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) continues its efforts to reduce air pollutants from consumer products through amendments to California’s Consumer Products Regulation. Proposed amendments would further lower current volatile organic compounds (VOC) limits for certain consumer products.
The Consumer Product Regulation is an important part of CARB’s effort to reduce the amount of VOCs, toxic air contaminants (TACs), and greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted when using chemically formulated consumer products. In this context, “consumer product” means a chemically formulated product used by household and institutional consumers including, but not limited to: detergents; cleaning compounds; polishes; floor finishes; cosmetics; personal care products; home, lawn, and garden products; disinfectants; sanitizers; aerosol paints; and automotive specialty products; but does not include other paint products, furniture coatings, or architectural coatings. Consumer product also refers to aerosol adhesives, including aerosol adhesives used for consumer, industrial, and commercial uses.…
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Plastic-reduction efforts in California yield to COVID-19 pandemic
This year might have been the year for California to set sharp reductions in plastic packaging and single-use plastic food ware, among other plastic items. But the COVID-19 pandemic and an increased use of disposable products to avoid the risk of transmitting the virus through reused items appear to have halted this effort. A ballot…
In the midst of COVID-19, attorneys general of 18 States urge stronger EPA Action on PFAS
Last Friday, April 17, the attorneys general of New York, Pennsylvania, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin filed a comment letter with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the agency to take more comprehensive actions regarding per-fluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (collectively, “PFAS”), stating “the final rule should be broadened to more effectively serve the goals and mandates of the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) to prevent exposures to harmful substances before they are introduced into the marketplace.” Specifically, the attorneys general urge EPA to strengthen the supplemental proposal by: (1) including the entire chemical family of long-chain PFAS rather than the subset of these chemicals proposed in the Supplemental Proposal; (2) in accordance with its initial proposal, adopting a final rule that applies to articles containing long-chain PFAS anywhere in the article and not only to those articles in which PFAS are contained within the surface coatings; (3) applying the rule to the processing of articles and not just to the importing of them; and (4) disallowing any carve outs to the requirement to notify EPA for de minimis amounts of PFAS covered by the rule.
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Last call for alcohol… comments. Proposed amendments to clarify the requirements for providing alcoholic beverage Proposition 65 warnings
Following a recent settlement between the California Attorney General’s Office and a number of alcoholic beverage retailers, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is proposing to clarify the Proposition 65 warning requirements for alcoholic beverages sold on the internet, in catalogs, and via third-party providers. The most prominent item in the settlement’s methods and in OEHHA’s proposed amendments are that alcoholic beverages sold online or through a catalog must have a warning on the internet site or in the catalog, as well as a warning provided to the purchaser or delivery recipient prior to or at the same time as delivery (e.g., a warning label on a bottle or can).
The amendments would affect industry stakeholders such as retailers, manufacturers, and third-party providers. Affected businesses will likely benefit from the proposed regulatory action because the amendments provide clarifying guidance concerning the provision of Proposition 65 warnings for alcoholic beverages purchased via the internet (including mobile applications) or through catalogs. However, with the increased use of third-party providers to facilitate sales, businesses may need to change their current standards to ensure that warnings are provided to the purchaser or delivery recipient prior to or at the same time as delivery.…
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New EU Circular Economy Action Plan and Sustainable Product Policy
Five years after its first iteration, yesterday (11 March 2020), the European Commission launched its new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) as part of the overall European Green Deal.
The CEAP contains many proposals. We will explore others (including those relating to batteries, packaging, plastics, textiles, ‘safe-by-design’ chemicals, non-financial reporting and shipment of waste) in separate posts.
For now, here is a brief outline of some of the more eye-catching proposals from a ‘sustainable products’ – in particular, electronics – perspective.
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