"Examples of Chemical Regulations Applicable to U.S. Companies"


Some of you might have noticed an uptick lately in the area of chemical regulations applicable to products in the United States. By chemical regulations, I mean state and federal legislation as well as international regulations which apply to American companies doing business worldwide. For example, California’s infamous Proposition 65 is particularly hot right now because of an upcoming deadline for new rules for labeling and warning about chemicals in products in California. Clients have been reaching out to me about these new Prop 65 rules. Speaking of “reaching” out, a number of clients have been requesting assistance with REACH, one of the European Union’s regulations of chemicals. Because these are hot topics among environmental lawyers, I will touch on a few here to bring awareness about what rules might be out there and possibly applicable to what you and your company might do.

First, let me describe California’s “Prop 65.” Proposition 65, officially known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, was enacted as a California ballot initiative in November, 1986. The proposition tries to protect the state’s drinking water sources from being contaminated with chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and requires businesses to inform Californians about exposures to such chemicals. Prop 65 requires warnings about significant exposures to chemicals which can be in the products Californians purchase, have in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. By requiring this information to be provided, Prop 65 supposedly enables Californians to make informed decisions about their exposures to these chemicals. Prop 65 requires California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list, which must be updated at least once a year, has grown to include approximately 900 chemicals.

Click here to read the full article in the October issue of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Journal.

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