Environment & Natural Resources

On October 1, 2021, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”) published a proposed regulation that would list Nail Products Containing Toluene as a Priority Pollutant under its Safer Consumer Products (“SCP”) program.

Comments will be accepted by the DTSC respecting the proposed regulation until November 18, 2021.

The proposed regulation is aimed specifically at nail salon workers as well as pregnant women and their fetuses, infants, children and adolescents.

The rationale behind DTSC taking this action at this time, in part, is that these populations, within the specific context of nail salons currently under consideration, are deemed “sensitive subpopulations” pursuant to 22 Cal. Code Regs. § 69501.1(a)(64), as well as comprising a significant percentage of persons of color and/or persons of lower socioeconomic status, as set forth in Cal. Gov’t Code 65040.12(e) (“Environmental Justice”).

The proposed regulation covers nail coatings and nail polish thinners, including an array of specific types of coatings, including solvent or UV base coating, top coating, lacquer, gel nail polish, hard gel, shellac, nail art paint, and nail polish thinner, and thus is quite comprehensive in scope.
Continue Reading DTSC Proposes Adding Toluene-Containing Nail Products To SCP Priority Pollutants

In 2020, Greenpeace published a major report that purports to show that less than 15% of all plastic, including single-use plastic that is labeled as “recyclable,” is actually recycled in the United States. These dramatic findings kicked off a new wave of putative class action cases against manufacturers who regularly use plastic packaging, much of which is labeled as recyclable. For example, mere days after issuance of the Greenpeace Report, Earth Island Institute sued a group of ten major companies, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Clorox and Nestle over the use of plastic packaging that allegedly contributes substantially to plastics pollution in California waterways.

On Monday, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed one of the more prominent recent cases, which had been filed by Greenpeace itself against Walmart. Greenpeace, Inc. v. Walmart, Inc., No. 21-cv-00754-MMC (Sept. 20, 2021). Greenpeace’s case, brought under the widely-used, California consumer protection law, Cal. Bus. & Professions Code §17200 (“UCL”), sought to hold Walmart liable for making what Greenpeace alleged were false and misleading “recyclable” claims for certain products. Greenpeace alleged that the claims were false, not because the products are not recyclable, because most consumers do not have access to recycling programs that could accept the products for recycling.
Continue Reading Greenpeace Plastics Recyclability Suit Dismissed for Lack of Standing

On September 8, 2021, Crowell & Moring attorneys Karel Bourgeois and Judith Bussé will be presenting a webinar in collaboration with IBJ/IJE.

This webinar will discuss some of the most important European and national initiatives and their likely impact in practice: from the EU Action Plan on Sustainable Finance (March 2018) to the more

On June 23, 2021, Brussels-based Judith Bussé spoke at the International Consumer Product Health and Safety’s (ICPHSO) North American Workshop. ICPHSO is an international, neutral forum for product safety stakeholders to learn, network and share information.

In her presentation, Judith explored new EU Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) related measures and their practical consequences for

The Biden Administration has promised an across-the-government effort to combat climate change, consistent with policy priorities during the Obama Administration. While much speculation has focused on a climate infrastructure package or a possible revamp of the Clean Power Plan, appliance manufacturers should be prepared for a less publicized but similarly significant change in direction from the current administration: increased enforcement under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) appliance standards program.

Background

The DOE administers the appliance standards program under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), which includes setting mandatory appliance energy and water efficiency standards for over 60 covered products, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, vacuums, and battery chargers. Each appliance standard has two components: a conservation standard and an associated testing procedure through which the manufacturer demonstrates compliance with the applicable standard.

Although this program has existed since the 1980s, the Obama Administration was the first to explicitly include goals for greenhouse gas emission reductions as a component of the standards-setting process. Over the course of 8 years, DOE issued new and updated conservation standards for numerous products, and DOE’s Office of Enforcement investigated and issued monetary penalties to companies failing to comply with updated standards incorporating these emission reduction goals. The Trump Administration, by comparison, has not directly incorporated these greenhouse gas-related factors into the rulemaking process, and has been comparatively less active in updating standards in general. The Trump Administration also has pursued fewer enforcement actions on the whole – and appears to have sought smaller penalties – relative to the Obama Administration.
Continue Reading Appliance Manufacturers Should Prepare for Increased DOE Enforcement Activity

On Monday, more than a dozen states and major environmental and consumer organizations issued notices of intent (available here and here) to sue the Department of Energy (DOE) for alleged violations of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA).

As discussed in previous client alerts, DOE administers EPCA by setting mandatory appliance efficiency standards or conservation standards for over 60 covered products. Under the law, DOE is required to reexamine the standards for each product at least once every six years, and must update the standards for certain products by specific deadlines.

Continue Reading States and Major Environmental and Consumer Organizations Threaten to Sue the Department of Energy Over Alleged Delays in Issuing Energy Efficiency Standards

Two important developments from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are potentially significant to the retail industry, but may have escaped widespread attention in light of recent worldwide events. Somewhat unusually, both proposals are administered by EPA under TSCA, despite the fact that TSCA typically applies to chemical products, not manufactured articles.

Comment and compliance deadlines

Manufacturers of battery chargers or external power supplies (EPSs), or sellers of consumer products that include battery chargers or EPSs, are likely subject to strict energy conservation standards. By virtue of Department of Energy (DOE) regulations that took effect in February 2016 and June 2018 for EPSs and battery chargers, respectively, manufacturers and importers of

Today, our blog takes a detour from advising on the CPSC and FTC to update you on a lesser-known law that can have major compliance consequences for appliance manufacturers and importers: the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, or “EPCA.”

Background

EPCA was born out of legislation in the late 1970s, which authorized the setting of

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