Topic: Recent legislation and regulations

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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

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

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

The mysterious world of green chemistry: a miniseries

Among the many consumer product buzzwords, green chemistry may be on top of the pile. Depending upon your job, industry, or viewpoint, it also may have a variety of meanings, triggering still other buzzwords — alternatives assessmentrestricted substances listchemicals of concern; life cycle assessmentIn the same vein as our California Proposition 65 miniseries, we here at the blog hope to demystify some of the legal aspects of green chemistry, with a particular focus on federal and state regulatory schemes. Over the next several weeks, we will post a multi-part series analyzing TSCA … Continue Reading

New REACH guidance on substances in articles

ECHA has recently issued revised guidance on substances in articles under REACH. The guidance follows a September 2015 ruling from the European Court of Justice that invalidated ECHA’s prior interpretation – effectively turning this aspect of REACH compliance on its head.

The REACH Regulation

The REACH Regulation addresses the production and use of chemical substances in the European Union. REACH implements reporting requirements for producers, importers and suppliers of products entering the European Union.

REACH defines an article as:

“an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design, which determines its function to a greater degree … Continue Reading

The mysterious world of green chemistry: A miniseries

Among the many consumer product buzzwords, green chemistry may be on top of the pile. Depending upon your job, industry, or viewpoint, it also may have a variety of meanings, triggering still other buzzwords — alternatives assessmentrestricted substances listchemicals of concern; life cycle assessmentIn the same vein as our California Proposition 65 miniseries, we here at the blog hope to demystify some of the legal aspects of green chemistry, with a particular focus on federal and state regulatory schemes. Over the next several weeks, we will post a multi-part series analyzing the … Continue Reading

UK Modern Slavery Act now in effect

modern-slavery-act-2015---reporting-obligationsCalifornia isn’t the only jurisdiction that requires a disclosure about efforts a company has taken to eradicate slavery and human trafficking in its supply chain. Late last week, the UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015 went into effect. Check out this briefing on the Act to find out whether, and how, the Act will impact your retail operations and supply chain.






 … Continue Reading

New California consumer products legislation

Last week marked the last chance for California Governor Jerry Brown to sign or veto legislation the California Legislature passed this year. The legislation goes into effect January 1, 2016. Although it was a quiet year for consumer products, several of the new laws are significant. Here is a rundown of relevant bills Governor Brown signed:

AB 888 – Microbead Ban

  • Prohibits a person from selling or offering a personal care product containing plastic microbeads that are used to exfoliate or cleanse in a rinse-off product for promotional purposes on and after Jan. 1, 2020.
  • Contains exemption for product containing
Continue Reading

President Obama signs new online warranty law

President Obama has signed the E-Warranty Act of 2015 (PL 114-51).  The new law amends the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvements Act (15 USC § 2302(b)) by permitting (not requiring) consumer product warranties to be made available online.  If a consumer product manufacturer elects to make product warranties available online, the manufacturer will be subject to a few requirements:

  • The online warranty on the product manufacturer’s site must be available “in a clear and conspicuous manner” and
  • The product, product packaging, or product manual must provide the consumer with two types of information:  (1) the manufacturer’s web site address where the
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Jerry Brown signs new California “Made in USA” law

Yesterday, California’s Governor Brown signed SB 633 into law.  The new law exempts certain merchandise from the prohibition that merchandise being sold in California cannot be labeled with “Made in the USA” or similar words when the merchandise or any component has been entirely or substantially made outside of the United States.

Made in the USA?

The new California law will allow merchandise to be labeled “Made in the USA” if:

  • the foreign components or parts do not constitute more than 5% of the final wholesale value of the product, or
  • the foreign components or parts do not constitute more
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ARB starts 2013 consumer products survey enforcement roundup, launches 2014 portal

Recap on 2013 reporting and enforcement

ARB reported registrations for 1,400 Responsible Parties and 700 formulators registering.  Of those, 1,300 have reported completion of the survey. ARB has published a summary of the 2013 data, which includes listing the Responsible Parties that reported. ARB has started sending letters to those who registered, but did not complete the survey, giving them a last chance to contact the Board and provide a time to completion. If your company received a letter and you should have reported, responding immediately and establishing a time to completion with the Board may be your … Continue Reading

Transaction declined: are you ready for credit card chips?

By October 1, 2015, many people in the U.S. who use credit cards will likely notice changes when they pay for purchases at retail stores. The reason for the change is the “EMV liability shift” scheduled to occur on October 1 (EMV is an acronym for EuroPay, MasterCard, and Visa). As we had previously described, the “liability shift” is an incentive for both merchants and card issuers to increase card security and reduce counterfeit card fraud.  Note that many U.S. consumers have already begun receiving new cards with chips.


Retailers should note that there are two ways to … Continue Reading

UPDATE: Bill to amend California’s “Made in USA” law gets one step closer to becoming law

Following up on our recent post about two bills pending in the California legislature that would amend California’s “Made in USA” law—yesterday the Assembly passed SB 633.  Next, SB 633 will be sent back to the Senate for a concurrence vote, and assuming the Senate approves, the bill would then go on to the Governor’s desk for signature.  The Legislature goes on summer recess today, so we won’t find out the fate of SB 633 for at least another month.  So far that bill has not received any “no” votes, either in committee or on the floor of … Continue Reading

Changes coming to California’s “Made in USA” law?

California’s “Made in the USA” law imposes strict standards on when products may be labeled “Made in the USA.”  This strict standard has resulted in recent litigation against companies whose products allegedly contain some (albeit relatively minor) foreign components.  But, the Legislature is seeking to amend the law to loosen this standard with two pending bills—AB 312, which has the Assembly has already approved, and SB 633, which the Senate has already approved.

AB 312

In May, the Assembly approved, AB 312, which would align the California law with the Federal Trade Commission standard, and would allow “Made … Continue Reading

Now that you have done the survey, don’t forget the VOC limits….

With the data demands of the California Air Resources Board Consumer Products Survey, it can be easy to miss the forest for the trees. The real concern if you are a manufacturer, importer, or private labeler of consumer products sold in California should be the underlying ARB Consumer Products Regulation.

VOC limits

The ARB Consumer Products Regulation establishes VOC limits for specified consumer products. The limits are measured in percent of VOC by weight. Consumer products subject to a limit may not be sold, supplied, offered for sale, or manufactured for sale in California unless they meet the … Continue Reading

Just when you thought you were out…2014 consumer products survey launches July 1

For many of you, responding to the 2013 California Air Resources Board consumer products survey was a real challenge. Unfortunately, the Board doesn’t plan to give you much time to recover from the trauma. The 2014 survey data entry period begins on July 1, with all data due by November 1.

Responsible Parties will have to report product specs, sales data, and ingredient information, including the volatile organic compound (VOC) composition, for impacted consumer products sold in California in 2014. Impacted products range from air fresheners to antiperspirants to hair care products to home improvement products.

ARB will host … Continue Reading

California seeks to expand flammability labeling law to children’s products

California recently required labeling on upholstered furniture to identify whether it contains flame retardant chemicals. Now the Legislature is seeking to expand that requirement to certain children’s products. Earlier this month, the Senate approved SB 763, which would require labeling on a variety of upholstered (stuffed or filled) products intended for infants and children under 12 years of age, including:

  • Bassinets
  • Booster seats
  • Infant car seats
  • Changing pads
  • Floor play mats
  • Highchairs and highchair pads
  • Bouncers
  • Carriers
  • Seats
  • Swings
  • Walkers
  • Nursing pads and pillows
  • Playpen padding
  • Portable hook-on chairs
  • Strollers
  • Nap mats
  • Foam crib mattresses


SB 763 requires … Continue Reading

DOJ issues compliance guidance on CA human trafficking law

Following up on our recent update, the California Department of Justice has started issuing notifications to California businesses stating that they are subject to the requirements of the Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (SB 657). DOJ has also issued a long-awaited guidance document explaining its interpretation of the Act’s requirements.

The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act Resource Guide

Compliance letters

The letter informs the recipient that DOJ has determined the recipient is a retail seller or manufacturer doing business in California with annual worldwide gross receipts in excess of $100 million.  The letter requests that the recipient submit compliance or inapplicability information to DOJ … Continue Reading