Retail & Consumer Products Law Observer

Retail & Consumer Products Law Observer

Legal Insight for the Retail and Consumer Products Industry

Category Archives: Environment & Natural Resources

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Turf Wars: The Attack On Crumb Rubber Synthetic Turf

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources, Product Liability & Torts
Many universities and local governments have installed synthetic turf made with “crumb rubber” – ground up tires – on playing fields and playgrounds in recent years to obtain the advantages of all-season use and lower maintenance costs. In recent months, however, the media and a growing group of critics contend that the crumb rubber used… Continue Reading

Microbead Bans Expanding

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
The number of states who have banned the use of microbeads in personal care products is growing, with California being the most recent to join the trend.  California and New Jersey laws expand their bans to include biodegradable microbeads; Johnson & Johnson and Proctor & Gamble both opposed the California law.  The Personal Care Products Council,… Continue Reading

OSHA Revises Exemption for “Retail Facilities” from Its Process Safety Management Standard

Posted in Environment & Natural Resources
In a memo dated July 22, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it was revising its interpretation of the “retail facilities” exemption from its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard, as codified at 29 C.F.R. § 1910.119(a)(2)(1). The PSM standard requires employers to manage hazards associated with processes involving highly hazardous chemicals. The standard exempts… Continue Reading

Green Guides Hit Red Light: FTC Judge Says “Biodegradable” Doesn’t Mean Gone in One Year

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
In the FTC’s administrative proceeding against ECM Biofilms, Inc., Administrative Law Judge Chappell rejected the FTC’s assertion, taken directly from the Green Guides, that marketing a product as “biodegradable” includes an implied claim that the product “will completely decompose into elements found in nature within one year after customary disposal.” ALJ Chappell ruled that the… Continue Reading

Those Doggone Environmental Claims

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
The FTC continues its active presence in the environmental claims space with 20 warning letters targeting marketers of “dog waste bags” who make biodegradability and/or compostability claims for the bags and their, er, contents. The sweep contains no surprises in terms of FTC interpretation of environmental claims and is consistent with past FTC actions against… Continue Reading

Use Foam? You may be subject to a new proposed EPA rule

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
EPA has proposed a new rule to restrict the use of seven toluene diisocyanates (TDIs) in consumer products.  TDIs are commonly used in the production of polyurethanes found in foams, coatings, elastomers, adhesives and sealants used in consumer products.  Flexible foams (for cushioning) and rigid foams (for insulation) are the chief uses for TDI. Published… Continue Reading

To Label Or Not To Label? Companies May Have No Choice

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
Most everyone knows that the First Amendment restricts the government’s ability to limit commercial speech. Similarly, most everyone would probably think the First Amendment also restricts the government’s ability to compel commercial speech. But are there times when the government may compel commercial speech? Indeed it can in some circumstances, and the D.C. Circuit recently… Continue Reading

Stricter Rules for Fuel Economy Advertising Are on the Horizon, But Are Unlikely to Put the Brakes on Consumer Class Actions

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Consumer Class Action, Environment & Natural Resources
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are both considering tightening rules governing the advertising of vehicle fuel economy. New federal regulations, however, may not stem the recent tide of consumer class actions alleging that auto manufacturers have misled consumers with inaccurate miles-per-gallon (MPG) claims. Since 1975, the FTC has published… Continue Reading

Report on Phthalates Recommends Permanent Ban on DINP, Additional Permanent Bans on DIBP, DPENP, DHEXP, DCHP, and an Interim Ban on DIOP

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has released the risk assessment on phthalates conducted for the CPSC by a congressionally mandated Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP). In the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, Congress charged the CHAP with making recommendations on whether the use of additional phthalates or phthalate alternatives in children’s toys and… Continue Reading

The Questionable Benefits of California’s Prop 65 Reform

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
Many experts agree the California public has become immune to the warnings on goods and premises required by Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Instead of educating the public, the more notable outcome is a burgeoning cottage industry of plaintiff attorneys bringing frivolous “bounty hunter” enforcement lawsuits against businesses… Continue Reading

California Unveils Green Chemistry Initiative’s Candidate Chemicals Lists

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources, Product Liability & Torts
A month in advance of its October 31, 2013 statutory deadline, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) on September 26, 2013 released its preliminary lists of Candidate Chemicals under the state’s newly enacted Green Chemistry Initiative.  The Green Chemistry regulations, which officially took effect today, require certain “Priority Products” to go through a rigorous… Continue Reading

California Finalizes Green Chemistry Regulations

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
Retailers need to begin thinking right now about how they will handle their compliance obligations under the new Safer Chemicals Regulations in California, which go into effect on October 1, 2013.  Under the regulations, identified Chemicals of Concern will be paired with Priority Products and then Responsible Parties will be required to submit an alternatives… Continue Reading

WEBINAR: Changes in U.S. Chemical Laws (and how they impact manufacturers, importers, and consumer product companies)

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources, International Trade
On Wednesday, September 4, 2013 from 2:00-3:30 pm EST, a Crowell & Moring team of regulatory and public policy attorneys, along with a subject-matter expert from Exponent, will host a webinar examining the current status of TSCA modernization efforts and the potential impacts on manufacturers and importers.  The discussion will include an analysis of the… Continue Reading

Legislative Proposal Announced to Repeal Requirement that Car Seats Contain Allegedly Hazardous Flame Retardant Chemicals

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) announced today a legislative proposal to ensure that car seats manufactured for sale in the United States no longer need to contain allegedly hazardous flame retardant (FR) chemicals. The bill, which will likely be introduced later this week, allows manufacturers the flexibility they need to build car seats that… Continue Reading

RCRA Challenges Faced by Retailers

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
Retailers face serious challenges in complying with their obligations under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) and other federal environmental statutes in light of the wide variety of retail products covered by EPA’s waste disposal regulations. EPA recently expressed its intent to consider future rulemaking under RCRA governing retail products unsold, returned, or removed from… Continue Reading

EPA to Consider New RCRA Regulations on Waste Retail Products

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has announced that it plans to explore future rulemaking on the management of “waste retail products” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”).  Waste retail products include unsold or returned retail products which may at some point become hazardous waste under current RCRA regulations.  According to the Unified Agenda,… Continue Reading

EPA Reverses Course and Promises to Withdraw TSCA Section 8(d) Cadmium Rule

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
By email dated December 14, 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew its controversial direct final rule requiring the reporting of existing and unpublished health and safety data for cadmium and cadmium compounds used in consumer products pursuant to section 8(d) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In its email, EPA admitted that "there… Continue Reading

Study Raises Question About Health Effects from Common Antimicrobial Ingredient Triclosan

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
Although not approved by the FDA, triclosan is a common antibacterial agent in a number of household cleaning and personal hygiene products sold in the United States, including soaps, deodorants, hand-sanitizers, toothpastes, and mouth wash. In recent years, manufacturers have also expanded the use of triclosan as an antimicrobial in cosmetics, socks, workout clothes, and… Continue Reading

California’s Proposed “Green Chemistry” Regulations Will Impact Consumer Product Manufacturers, Importers and Retailers

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources, International Trade
On July 27, 2012, California released a revised draft of its Safer Consumer Products Regulations—commonly known as the "Green Chemistry Initiative." The proposed regulations establish a process for California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and product manufacturers to assess whether consumer products containing certain "chemicals of concern" can be made with safer ingredients. Once… Continue Reading

Crowell & Moring Attorneys to Present Webinar on Emerging Trends and the Future of Chemical Regulation in California

Posted in Environment & Natural Resources
Readers of the Retail Law Observer are invited to join us on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. EDT for a complementary webinar entitled “Is California a Canary in the Coalmine? Emerging Trends and the Future of Chemical Regulation in California.” I will moderate the panel, which will include Crowell & Moring partners Warren… Continue Reading

Revised U.K. Green Claims Guidance

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources, EU Regulation
Advertising the environmental benefits and attributes of consumer products has become an increasing trend in recent years as companies learn that consumers value “green” goods and services. To address compliance issues encountered in making these types of marketing claims, regulators are formulating guidance for businesses. While the U.S. is in the process of revising its… Continue Reading

California Delays Implementation of Green Chemistry Initiative

Posted in Environment & Natural Resources
California has delayed the effective date of new regulations drafted to implement the state’s Green Chemistry Initiative. As discussed in our blog post of November 22, 2010, California planned to implement the regulations on January 1, 2011. If the regulations had been implemented on that date, how companies designed and manufactured consumer products sold, offered… Continue Reading