Will Troutman (US)

Subscribe to all posts by Will Troutman (US)

Trump administration ices EPA formaldehyde in composite wood rule

Following up our recent post on EPA’s publication of its formaldehyde in composite wood rule, the Trump administration has delayed the rule’s effective date from February 10, 2017 to March 21, 2017. This delay is part of the administration’s “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.” It is unclear what impact this freeze will have on the rule’s implementation, as the “manufactured by” date that triggers compliance is based on EPA publication (December 12, 2016), not the original effective date (February 10, 2017). But the “freeze” is intended to prevent implementation of EPA regulations without review, and directs agencies … Continue Reading

EPA publishes formaldehyde in composite wood rule – Dec. 2017 compliance dates

EPA recently published its final rule restricting formaldehyde emissions from composite wood. The publication now triggers the rule’s effective date (Feb. 10, 2017) and the first compliance dates (December 12, 2017). The rule implements the formaldehyde standards found in Title VI of TSCA. EPA has expressly stated that the rule is “consistent, to the extent EPA deemed appropriate and practical considering TSCA Title VI, with the requirements currently in effect in California” under CARB’s ATCM Phase 2, but there are some differences that are bound to cause compliance headaches.

Emission Standards

EPA’s final rule contains the same emissions limits as … Continue Reading

Clamshell compliance: California’s Rigid Plastic Packaging Container law

California remains on the forefront of sustainability and recycling requirements. A key restriction in California is the Rigid Plastic Packaging Container Law, which targets hard plastic product packaging (namely “clamshells”).  The law requires that product manufacturers reduce waste from covered packaging through several methods.

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, referred to as CalRecycle, administers the law and enforces its requirements. Non-compliance can subject a manufacturer to up to $100,000 in fines per year.

What the law covers

The law applies to packaging that is:

  • Made entirely of plastic (except for incidental portions of the packaging);
Continue Reading

Drone requirements continue to evolve

Back in 2015, the FAA promulgated various rules and regulations regarding the use of drones, which included a requirement to register all such aircraft. The FAA has subsequently finalized its rule for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which took effect on August 29, 2016. The new rule offers safety regulations and limitations for unmanned drones weighing less than 55 pounds that conduct “non-hobbyist operations.”

This is particularly relevant because the past year has seen the rapid rise of unmanned aircraft, and various companies are experimenting with the use of drones in their commercial ventures.

This post provides a quick overview … Continue Reading

The mysterious world of green chemistry: Maine’s green chemistry law

Continuing our review of state green chemistry laws, Maine’s Safer Chemicals in Children’s Products Act primarily requires reporting the use of specified chemicals in certain children’s products based on risk and hazard criteria, although it may be used to restrict or ban use. Manufacturers of certain children’s products that contain specified chemicals must submit a one-time report to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The SCCP defines “manufacturers” as the domestic manufacturer or brand holder, and the importer or first domestic distributor if the manufacturer does not have a US presence.

Chemical Lists

The Department maintains three chemical lists … Continue Reading

Prop 65 safe harbor level for BPA finalized

Following the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s proposed regulations for temporary point-of-sale warnings for BPA exposures from canned and bottled foods and beverages, this week OEHHA finalized the Maximum Allowable Dose Level for BPA of 3 micrograms per day from dermal exposure from solid materials. The MADL will go into effect on October 1, 2016.

Once in effect, this will be the rate of exposure at which a warning will be required for dermal exposure to BPA.

Now that the first BPA 60-day notice of violation is out, it remains to be seen whether this seemingly low MADL … Continue Reading

The seal is broken on BPA

After significant industry speculation over what consumer products would be the first targets for Proposition 65 BPA enforcement, the Center for Environmental Health issued the first BPA 60-day notice of violation on June 14, 2016, a little over a month after BPA’s listing anniversary date. The notice is not for canned food; it is not for sunglasses. The inaugural notice is for a thermal-printed receipt provided to the Center for Environmental Health after (presumably) purchasing food at a Del Taco.


Thermal printing is widely used to print receipts because these printers are both fast and do not require ink.  These … Continue Reading

Congress passes TSCA reform bill – no relief from Prop 65

After decades of stalled efforts, the House and Senate have both passed TSCA reform legislation. The bill, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2576), is the result of extensive negotiations between the House and Senate to reconcile differences between competing TSCA reform bills in both houses. We expect the President to sign the bill in short order.

While the bill is welcome reform of a failed law, it’s primary impact will be to manufacturers, as it requires review of existing chemicals in use (eliminating TSCA’s grandfathering) and new chemicals prior to introduction into … Continue Reading

FTC aims to modernize warranty requirements

The FTC has recently proposed amendments to the Disclosure Rule and Pre-Sale Availability Rule it issued under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the federal law governing warranties on consumer products. These amendments come in response to the E-Warranty Act of 2015, which President Obama signed into law in September 2015.  Click through to the full discussion that my colleagues, Jeff Webb and Patrick McMillin, have authored.

 … Continue Reading

Update: OEHHA issues revised Prop 65 warning regulations

On May 16, OEHHA issued its fifth iteration of the revised Proposition 65 warning regulations. As these changes largely seek to clarify existing language in the proposed regulations since the prior revision in March, we have a pretty good idea of what the final regulations will look like (although OEHHA does reserve the right to make additional changes).

Once the final regulatory text is published, OEHHA will also publish its “Final Statement of Reasons,” which responds to public comments on the initial proposed regulation and interim revisions and explains changes that OEHHA did or did not make in response to … Continue Reading

What makes for a $15 million CPSC penalty?

CPSC just announced a record $15.4 million civil penalty settlement with Gree, manufacturers of dehumidifiers widely sold throughout the United States. While the magnitude of this blockbuster settlement makes it newsworthy, what it tells us about CPSC’s perspective on enforcement actions is the real story.

CPSC’s allegations

The limited allegations in the published settlement agreement allege that Gree failed to timely report to CPSC when it knew about the defect and fire hazard, that it knowingly made misrepresentations to CPSC staff during its investigation, and that it put UL safety certification marks on its products when it knew that the … Continue Reading

WARNING! Beta-myrcene goes live March 27

On March 27, 2015, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment added beta-myrcene to the California Proposition 65 chemical list. Under Proposition 65, products containing newly listed chemicals require a warning starting 12 months after the listing. As a result, warnings for significant exposures will be required as of March 27, 2016.

Uses for beta-myrcene

Beta-myrcene, also known as myrcene or 7-Methyl-3-methyleneocta-1,6-diene, is a substance widely found in nature, and is used as an intermediate in the production of aroma and flavor chemicals. It is used in foods and as a scenting agent in fragrances, cosmetics, soaps and other cleaning … Continue Reading

WARNING: OEHHA announces proposed regulations and a safe harbor level for BPA

After several false starts, Proposition 65 warnings will be required for exposures to bisphenol A (BPA) starting on May 11, 2016. Because of tremendous uncertainty regarding the amount of BPA exposure that will require a warning, as well as the ubiquitous nature of the chemical, on March 17, 2016, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment announced an emergency rulemaking for temporary use of a point-of-sale warning for BPA exposures from canned and bottled foods and beverages, and a proposed safe harbor level for dermal exposure to BPA of 3 micrograms/day.


On May 11, 2015, OEHHA placed BPA on … Continue Reading

The mysterious world of green chemistry: update on Washington’s lead, cadmium, and phthalates enforcement

Continuing our coverage of the Washington’s Children’s Safe Products Act, the Washington Department of Ecology recently issued guidance clarifying its enforcement policy of the Washington Act’s prohibition on the manufacturing and sale of children’s products containing lead, cadmium, and phthalates.

In this guidance, the Department concedes that the federal Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act preempts the Washington Act as it concerns those children’s products that are subject to a federal standard for lead, phthalates, or cadmium, but advises that the Washington Act’s limits on the same contaminants apply to a broader range of consumer products. Therefore, for those children’s … Continue Reading

ICPHSO 2016: Chairman Kaye’s Keynote Address

CPSC Chairman Kaye gave the keynote address at ICPHSO CPSC Day, providing announcements on some CPSC policy changes and focusing on his priorities for the upcoming year. These include:

Reporting of products sold in the US, Canada, and Mexico

Chairman Kaye announced that CPSC is collaborating regularly with Health Canada and Profeco in Mexico. As part of that collaboration,  he said the agencies now will expect a company that reports to one of them to report to all of them if the product is sold in more than one of the jurisdictions.

I am interested to see how this plays … Continue Reading

ICPHSO 2016: Corded Blinds

CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye and Health Canada’s Acting Director General, Consumer Product Safety Directorate James Van Loon addressed ICPHSO and the media jointly, to announce that CPSC and Health Canada are united in their commitment to eliminate corded blinds due to the risk of injury to children from cords.

Chairman Kaye stated that he believes this is the year in which industry will commit to eliminating corded blinds, citing commitments  from IKEA, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s to phase the product configurations out.

Acting Director General Van Loon echoed Chairman Kaye’s comments, stating that both Health Canada and CPSC … Continue Reading

ICPHSO 2016: Breakout #2 – Challenges to Recalls


This panel, fully titled “Challenges to Recalls, How to Get Consumers to Respond to Recalls, and New Effective Ways to Reach Consumers,” featured Carolyn Carlin, Christoper Nguyen, and Tanya Topka from CPSC. Here are key points from the session.

Social Media:

  • CPSC Compliance Officer Carolyn Carlin stated that she not only expects recalling companies to use social media to communicate recalls, but she also expects tweets and Facebook posts to be reposted periodically, especially if a high number of marketing messages will follow soon after the recall post.
  • Fast Track Team Lead Tanya Topka sees a relationship between increased
Continue Reading

CPSC Day at ICPHSO 2016

Good morning from ICPHSO CPSC Day. Over the course of the day, I will post updates and highlights from CPSC Day, with particular focus on comments from CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye. I have added my thoughts throughout.

One call out – whenever CPSC personnel speak at ICPHSO, they disclaim their comments as their opinion only, and not on behalf of the Commission. In my experience, these opinions work there way into compliance issues and recalls.… Continue Reading

CPSC targets hoverboards

Late last week, the CPSC Office of Compliance and Field Operations issued a letter on the CPSC website to “Manufacturers, Importers, and Retailers of Self-Balancing Scooters” that ultimately makes a new voluntary safety standard for self-balancing scooters, typically called “hoverboards,” mandatory.

The “voluntary” standard

On February 2, 2016, UL issued its standard, UL 2272 – Outline of Investigation for Electrical Systems for Self-balancing Scooters, which covers the electric drive train, including the rechargeable battery and charger system. This standard complements UN/DOT 38.3 test requirements for lithium ion batteries.

CPSC’s Letter

CPSC’s letter states that hoverboards

that do not meet these

Continue Reading

Prop 65 exposure level set for DINP

Updating an issue we have been tracking, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment finalized the No Significant Risk Level for DINP of 146 µg/day. The NSRL will got into effect April 1, 2016.

Once in effect, this will be the level of exposure at which a warning is required for DINP. This will remove one of the significant, and expensive, hurdles to defending against a Proposition 65 claim, as a company will not need to develop an NSRL as part of its case.

From a planning perspective, it also allows manufacturers to assess their products and, if … Continue Reading

The mysterious world of green chemistry: Washington’s 180 on cadmium and phthalates

In our previous post on Washington’s Children’s Safe Products Act, we focused on the Act’s reporting requirement. But the Act also contains provisions prohibiting the sale of children’s products containing certain chemicals above the following limits:

  • Lead: 90 parts per million (ppm)
  • Cadmium: 40 ppm; and
  • Phthalates in children’s products in excess of 1,000 ppm

Until the end of 2015, the industry understood these limits to be preempted.

Federal preemption

Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act around the same time as Washington enacted the Children’s Safe Products Act. The federal law contains restrictions similarto Washington’s Act, but with … Continue Reading

The mysterious world of green chemistry: Washington’s green chemistry law

This week we turn from federal law to the patchwork of state laws that cropped up due to TSCA’s failures. First up is Washington’s green chemistry law: the Children’s Safe Products Act. The CSPA requires manufacturers of children’s products sold in Washington to file a report with the state if their product contains certain chemicals. The report includes information on the chemical, its function in the product, and its location. Reports are publicly available. The state Department of Ecology implements and enforces the Act.

Children’s products

The CSPA does not define “children’s product,” but provides that … Continue Reading

The mysterious world of green chemistry: TSCA reform

The Toxic Substances Control Act and resulting regulations are the federal regulatory structure for chemicals management. TSCA (tah-ska) authorizes the US EPA to review and regulate chemicals. For many existing chemicals, TSCA requires manufacturers to work with EPA to fill in data gaps on risk, and new chemicals must undergo pre-market screening.

If EPA determines a chemical poses an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment, it can place restrictions on the manufacture, import, processing, distribution, use, and disposal of the chemical. This can include bans, warning labels, and dissemination of hazard information. Whatever the action, it must be … Continue Reading