Welcome to Dorsey's Consumer Products Law blog. This blog provides visitors with informative, up-to-date and easy-to-understand commentary on consumer products matters. Our purpose is to help manufacturers, importers, warehousers, retailers, e-tailers, consumers, and lenders better understand the legal issues impacting the consumer products industry.
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May 09, 2013 | Posted by
In 2009, Vermont enacted Act 61 (9 V.S.A. § 2971) limiting “brominated” flame retardants—sometimes called PBDEs—in certain consumer products. Concerns have been raised about these chemicals’ effects on the human nervous and endocrine systems.
Specifically, Act 61 prohibited any person from offering or distributing for sale, distributing for promotional purposes, or knowingly selling at retail (1) as of July 1, 2010, any product containing more than 0.1 percent by weight of the flame retardants octaBDE or pentaBDE; (2) as of July 1, 2010 (except for inventory purchased before July 1, 2009), any mattress, mattress pad, or upholstered furniture containing more than 0.1 percent by weight of decaBDE; and (3) as of July 1, 2012 (except for inventory purchased before July 1, 2009), any television or computer with a plastic casing containing more than 0.1 percent by weight of decaBDE. These prohibitions do not apply to used products or to motor vehicles or their part
The Vermont House has now passed a law to additionally regulate the chlorinated flame retardants known as Tris (TCEP or TDCPP) in household items and children's products.
The bill outlines a phased-in approach that would (i) as of July 1, 2013, prohibit manufacturers from making, selling or distributing children’s products or residential upholstered furniture that contains chlorinated Tris in any product component in an amount greater than 0.1 percent by weight, and (ii) as of July 1, 2014, prohibit retailers from selling children’s products or residential upholstered furniture containing chlorinated Tris in any product component in an amount greater than 1,0.1 percent by weight.
The Tris chemicals are reportedly linked to cancer, neurological impacts, reproductive harm and developmental impacts in children.
The Vermont law is one of the most stringent regulations of flame retardant materials in the country.
The VT House version of the law can be found at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/journal/HJ130507.pdf#page=11.
May 03, 2013 | Posted by
EPA regulates wood stoves with a firebox volume of less than 20 cubic feet, an air to fuel ratio of less than 35 to 1, a burn rate of less than 5 kg/hr and a total weight of less than 800.
The New Source Performance Standard for Residential Wood Heaters (40 CFR Part 60 Subpart AAA) was promulgated in 1988 as part of a regulatory negotiation process with the hearth industry and non-governmental organizations to reduce particulate emissions from wood stoves. The wood heater regulation requires wood stove manufacturers to undergo emissions testing at an EPA-accredited laboratory to certify that each wood stove model line complies with the particulate emission limit of 7.5 grams/hour for non-catalytic wood stoves and 4.1 grams/hour for catalytic wood stoves. The rule also requires manufacturers to conduct a quality assurance program for production-line wood heaters and to certify by a permanent label that each wood heater meets the applicable emission standard. A temporary label is also required for use by the consumer, that specifies the emission rate, the heating range of the wood heater and overall efficiency.
The EPA regulations are available at this link: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/policies/monitoring/caa/woodstoverule.pdf
The EPA is planning to proposed revisions to the wood heater regulations to further reduce particulate matter pollution. Stay tuned for more details.
The EPA document, Strategies for Reducing Residential Wood Smoke, is available at http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/pdfs/strategies.pdf.
May 03, 2013 | Posted by
Maryland this week pased House Bill 00. This bill prohibits a person from importing, selling, or offering for sale any child care product that contains more than one-tenth of 1% (by mass) of tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP). A “child care product” is a consumer product – including a baby product, toy, car seat, nursing pillow, crib mattress, or stroller – intended for use by a child younger than age three. (The bill does not apply to the sale or distribution of a child care product that is resold, offered for resale, or distributed by a consumer for consumer use. Furthermore, the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene may suspend implementation of this prohibition if the Secretary determines that the fire safety benefits of TCEP are greater than the health risks associated with TCEP.) A person that violates the bill is subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for a first violation and $2,500 for each subsequent violation. In addition, the bill authorizes a court to enjoin any action prohibited by the bill . The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) must, on or before January 1, 2014, adopt regulations to implement the bill.
H.B. 99 is available at this link: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&stab=01&id=hb0099&tab=subject3&ys=2013RS.
May 01, 2013 | Posted by
CPSC Enforcement Highlights
The CPSC continues to take steps to agressively enforce product safety compliance at U.S. ports. The agency reported that it stopped nearly three million units of consumer products that violated U.S. safety rules from reaching consumers in the 3rd quarter of fiscal year 2012. This was nearly three times the number of violative units stopped in the previous two quarters combined.
Accroding to the agency, from October 2011 through June 2012, CPSC investigators and agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) prevented about four million units of violative and hazardous imported products from entering the domestic stream of commerce and ending up on store shelves.
According to a joint release issued by CPSC and CBP, during the past four years, at least 2,400 different toys and children's products, making up more than two million individual units, have been stopped at the ports because of the presence of safety hazards or the failure to meet federal safety standards.
Toys and children’s products continued to make up the bulk of products stopped by CPSC investigators and CBP agents. Products with levels of lead exceeding federal limits topped the group and were followed by those with phthalate levels in excess of federal limits. Toys and other articles with small parts that present a choking hazard for children younger than 3 years were also targeted.
CPSC has been screening products at ports since it began operating in 1973. The agency intensified its efforts in 2008 with the creation of an import surveillance division and again in 2011 with the creation of the Office of Import Surveillance.