Tag - chemical legislation

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Safer Products? The EPA Takes First Steps Under New Chemical Law
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States Ban Chemicals of High Concern from Children’s Products
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Ask Naturepedic: Aren’t You Required to Have Flame Retardants By Law?
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Jessica Alba, Naturepedic and ASBC Members Take to the Senate
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California’s Green Chemistry Initiative Debuts Three Year Plan
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California’s SB1019 Requires Disclosure of Flame Retardants in Furniture
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New Government Report on Phthalates Sends Mixed Messages
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Demand for Safer Chemicals Gets Broader Acceptance
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Vermont Passes Stricter Law for Chemicals in Children’s Products
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Want to Do Something About It? Get Into Grass Roots Chemical Reform

Safer Products? The EPA Takes First Steps Under New Chemical Law

On June 22, 2016, the bi-partisan supported Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA) into law. This law amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the federal framework that had been intended to control the use of chemicals in commerce. Intended, because TSCA has widely been seen as ineffective. Driving the new law has been a growing demand by consumers for better regulation over the chemicals found in their everyday products, including housewares, furniture and mattresses. While this is the first substantial update since TSCA was passed in 1976, how much of an impact the update will actually have remains to be seen. Slow Motion Impact One concern is the slow pace of planned chemical review under LCSA, particularly given how many chemicals are found in consumer products. Way back in 2001, the TSCA chemical inventory listed 73,757 chemicals in commercial and since then an estimated 2,000-2,500 in new chemicals applications have been submitted to the[…]

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States Ban Chemicals of High Concern from Children’s Products

Last year on November 19, Vermont issued the final rule for its law “An Act Relating to the Regulation of Toxic Substances” to regulate Chemicals of High Concern to Children in children’s products. Passed in 2014, this law follows similar ones passed by the State of Washington and Oregon, and legislation introduced, but not passed into law, by Connecticut and Florida. Additionally, in 2015, Westchester County in New York banned formaldehyde, benzene, lead, mercury, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, and cobalt from children’s products. If you haven’t followed any of this legislation, a logical reaction might be, why are these needed? Surely the U.S. government doesn’t allow Chemicals of High Concern in children’s products, do they? Sadly, while there rules for children’s products regarding sizes, shapes and other aspects of physical safety, there are virtually no national safeguards for the chemicals in these products. While the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) does ban six types of phthalates from certain children’s product, it[…]

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Ask Naturepedic: Aren’t You Required to Have Flame Retardants By Law?

This is a common misconception. We are required to pass all State and Federal testing, but we are not required to use a flame barrier to do so. The primary filling material used in most mattresses (but never Naturepedic) is polyurethane foam – a highly flammable petroleum-based material. In fact, the National Association of State Fire Marshals refers to it as “solid gasoline.” Due to its high flammability, polyurethane foam is typically treated or wrapped with fire retardant chemicals. Some of these chemicals introduce health and toxicity concerns. In fact, most manufacturers don’t even disclose their fire retardant ingredients. At Naturepedic, we don’t like harsh chemicals, and we certainly don’t like fire retardant chemicals! We consider the best form of fire protection to be superior product design that avoids the need for these chemicals in the first place. Organic cotton, for example, is a far superior filling material and is significantly less flammable. Through extensive research and creative product design,[…]

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Jessica Alba, Naturepedic and ASBC Members Take to the Senate

  As Sustainability Officer for Naturepedic, my role is to go beyond the certified organic products we make to strengthen our relationship to the larger sustainability picture including business practices and advocacy. When things go really well, I get to compare notes with others also passionate about sustainability. When things go really, really well, I get to promote sustainability at the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. with Jessica Alba. Thursday, June 18 went really, really well. Serving as a Naturepedic representative for the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), I spent the day alongside actress and advocate for safer products Jessica Alba, co-founder of The Honest Company, and a team of talented business professionals, traveling the halls of the U.S. Senate to meet with a variety of senators. As members of the ASBC, we made the case for sensible reform to the outdated Toxics Substances Control Act (TSCA). Currently, a draft bill, S. 697, is being considered in the Senate. In[…]

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California’s Green Chemistry Initiative Debuts Three Year Plan

Looking to encourage the creation of safer consumer products, the state of California under its Green Chemistry Initiative launched a draft of its Three Year Work Plan. The draft plan, published in September of 2014, will ultimately focus on specific Priority Products and their associated chemistries for which safer chemical alternatives must be evaluated. By focusing on select products, the plan hopes to encourage overall “market shifts toward a green economy.” Over the next three years the plan will limit its evaluations to seven broad product categories: – Beauty and Personal Care – Building Products and Household, Office Furniture and Furnishings – Cleaning Products – Clothing – Fishing and Angling Equipment – Office Machinery and Clothing Specific types of products within the categories have also been identified for further examination. At this stage specific products have yet to be chosen, with the plan instead looking to lay the roadmap for future regulatory actions by California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control[…]

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California’s SB1019 Requires Disclosure of Flame Retardants in Furniture

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New Government Report on Phthalates Sends Mixed Messages

Phthalates are chemical plasticizers used to make plastics like vinyl pliable or soft, and they are in almost everyone’s blood.  These chemicals are used in all types of products including children’s items like plastic teething rings, vinyl mattress covers and even baby lotions. This is a serious problem considering phthalates and phthalate substitutes are suspected of being connected to hormonal disruptions, asthma and even obesity. In mid-July, a panel overseen by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a final report on phthalates and phthalate substitutes. The CPSC is a relatively small federal agency tasked with overseeing that products are safe. (For example, they issued the regulations for crib design, including the banning of drop sides.) The “Report on Phthalates and Phthalate Alternatives” does not call for a ban on all phthalates in children’s products. Instead, it recommends which phthalates should be allowable and which are not. Phthalates Are Born Drifters One aspect of concern regarding phthalates is that they don’t[…]

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Demand for Safer Chemicals Gets Broader Acceptance

Debate continues to rage regarding reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Many industry watchers are guessing that any reform of the national law is becoming less and less likely to happen before the close of 2014. Legislative reform or not, the topic of safer chemicals in consumer products is capturing public attention, and businesses are noticing. High profile initiatives by retailers Wal-Mart, Target and Whole Foods underscore the burgeoning realization that safer products makes good business sense. Of course any reform or initiative is only as good as the details within the effort. Simply participating in a “safer chemical” program does not a safer product make. Nonetheless, these initiatives show that concerns have moved out of the insular world of environmentalism and into the broader consumer base. TSCA after all was passed back in 1976, and only ten years ago its existence was largely known only by environmentalists and legislators. Now in 2014 the law now is being[…]

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Vermont Passes Stricter Law for Chemicals in Children’s Products

While national efforts to reform the outdated federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) continue, the state of Vermont has pushed forward on its own to create more stringent chemical safety standards than currently afforded. On Friday, May 9, 2014, Vermont bill S.239 passed the Vermont Senate with a vote of 26 to 3, making the bill law and sending it to the Governor’s desk. The new state law gives power to the Vermont health department to require manufacturers to label or outright ban chemicals from children’s products sold in Vermont that the health department deems harmful. Currently, the definition of “children’s products” is still being debated. For example, debate is underway if products that children commonly come in contact with, such as carpeting, should be included in the definition. The Vermont legislature follows The Children’s Safe Products Act  enacted in the state of Washington as well as state laws in California and Maine. As part of the Washington state law, the state has[…]

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Want to Do Something About It? Get Into Grass Roots Chemical Reform

Let’s face it, not too many corporations are socially conscious enough to make changes in the products they manufacture or sell just because they contain chemicals suspected of causing health problems. Changes can be expensive, so they’re not likely to happen, unless the government steps in with new laws and regulations that even the playing field for everyone. But even without that official pressure, big corporations can be moved in the right direction. How? There is one person who can exert enough pressure on a company to force them to do something – and that person is you. On April 16, 2014, for example, the public – you – descended on 50 different Walgreens stores and returned products that contained toxic chemicals. They also delivered postcards to the managers. The move to get Walgreens to do more to get rid of these products has been ongoing for some time. In the last year, consumers and health professionals have sent Walgreens[…]

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