Category Archives: Chemicals

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No Delay for Proposition 65 Listing of Glyphosate

For the past several months, Monsanto has been in court challenging California’s decision to add the chemical glyphosate—the active ingredient in its herbicide Roundup—to the Proposition 65 list. It recently faced a setback when the California Supreme Court rejected Monsanto’s request to stay a lower court’s decision to include glyphosate among the 960 chemicals on … Continue Reading

Talc Talk – One of These Things (Verdicts) Is Not Like the Others

We’ve been following a series of cases filed against Johnson & Johnson by plaintiffs alleging that using talc caused ovarian cancer. Since 2009, over 2000 cases have been filed, mostly in Missouri, New Jersey, and California. Missouri has seen four trials: the first three resulted in plaintiffs’ verdicts, but the fourth and most recent resulted in … Continue Reading

Monsanto Uses the Constitution to Challenge Warning Labels for Herbicide

Monsanto has, at least temporarily, lost its fight to avoid a Prop 65 warning label on its products containing glyphosate, a chemical used in the popular herbicide Roundup. On January 27, 2017, a California judge tentatively dismissed Monsanto’s claims that the State of California unconstitutionally turned to an unelected, European organization to decide whether glyphosate … Continue Reading

California Releases New Prop 65 Warning Regulations

After considering them for more than a year, California’s Office of Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has finally issued new “Safe Harbor” warning regulations for Proposition 65. The new regulations intend to provide consumers “more specificity” about the chemical content of products sold in California.  They take effect on August 30, 2018 and are set forth … Continue Reading

Let’s Talc About Baby Powder

Talc—the softest mineral on earth—historically had been a key ingredient in baby powder. Because baby powder is a cosmetic product, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate it. But talc has faced recent legal challenges by long-time baby powder users, alleging that talc may have caused ovarian cancer.… Continue Reading

Toxic Substances Control Act Revised for the 21st Century

On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act into law.  The Act is the first significant change to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act in 40 years and amends the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) methods for reviewing chemical substances before they are marketed and allowed to be used in consumer products. … Continue Reading

Researchers Turn Their Attention to Diacetyl in E-Cigarettes

On December 8, 2015, researchers at Harvard University announced that they had examined a small sample of flavored e-cigarette products and found that some contained diacetyl, a chemical suspected of causing respiratory illness. In the wake of this announcement, some news organizations reported that the Harvard paper established a “link” between e-cigarettes and bronchiolitis obliterans, … Continue Reading

Monitoring Your Personal Environment with Wearable Technology

“The dose makes the poison” is a maxim of toxicology. The phrase is attributed to Paracelsus, a true Renaissance Man and founder of the field who lived more than 500 years ago, long before the industrial, chemical/pharmaceutical, and technological revolutions.   In today’s society, we are exposed to various chemical substances on a daily basis. Some … Continue Reading

Scrutiny of Nail Salon Chemicals Raises Mass Tort Risk

Recent reports purport to link certain chemicals used in nail salon products to serious health problems such as cancer, asthma, respiratory disease, and miscarriages.  Though past efforts to impose stricter regulations on these chemicals have been largely unsuccessful, a recent slew of New York Times articles have drawn significant attention to the issue.  In response, … Continue Reading

UPDATE: FDA Speeds Up the BMPEA Battle

In response to mounting pressure, the FDA issued warnings to five supplement companies last week regarding the risks associated with beta-methylphenethylamine, or BMPEA. BMPEA is widely used in weight loss and energy supplements, but has an ingredient similar to amphetamine. Supplement makers claimed that BMPEA was allowed in dietary supplements because it occurred naturally in a shrub … Continue Reading

Bodybuilder Beware: Study Raises Concerns About Speed-Like Substance in Supplements

Whether you’re a bodybuilder trying to lose that last percentage of body fat or an average person looking to lose a few extra pounds, weight loss supplements can offer a quick fix. But a number of popular fat-burning weight loss supplements may contain the chemical known as Beta-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA), a stimulant recently criticized for its … Continue Reading

Federal Fracking Rule Announced

The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Land Management issued a long-awaited final rule for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. The rule was announced on Friday, March 20, 2015. According to the DOI’s press release these “commonsense standards will improve safety and help protect groundwater by updating requirements for well-bore integrity, wastewater … Continue Reading

Lawsuits Fuel Debate About Powdered Caffeine

Two recent deaths allegedly resulting from the use of powdered caffeine has led to litigation and a public alert from the FDA, warning consumers of the dangers of the substance. One teaspoon of powdered caffeine is roughly equivalent to 25 cups of coffee. The product is not available in stores, but can be purchased in … Continue Reading

Proposed Changes To Prop 65 Warning Requirements Will Increase Burden on Manufacturers

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recently released new revisions to Proposition 65’s “safe harbor” warning language regulations.  Under OEHHA’s proposal, businesses selling goods in California will no longer be able to rely on the standard simple warning language that has been used for decades.  Instead, business will be required to issue new … Continue Reading

First FDA E-Cigarette Workshop Highlights Divisions in the Industry

Researchers, academics, public health advocates, and other stakeholders in the e-cigarette industry participated in the FDA’s first public workshop on e-cigarettes over two days in December 2014.  The workshop on e-cigarettes and other vapor products (sometimes referred to as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, or ENDS) suggested that ongoing efforts to regulate these devices are aligning … Continue Reading

Cancer Concerns, Proposed New Regulations Dog E-Cigarette Industry

E-cigarettes continue to come under fire from numerous groups, as shown by several events in the last week. Scientists from Portland State University, in a January 22 letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, contend that e-cigarette use may carry a risk of cancer 5 to 15 times greater than the risk associated with … Continue Reading

CPSC Proposes Expansion of Ban On Substance Used in Children’s Toys

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has proposed a permanent ban on certain phthalates in children’s toys and child care articles. Phthalates, a family of chemical plasticizer, give plastic products more flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity.  They can be found in a number of everyday products, including toys and furniture. Phthalate exposure has been associated with birth defects, … Continue Reading

Groups Debate the Health Effects of Crumb Rubber Infill for Artificial Turf

Are synthetic turf playing fields exposing children to unsafe levels of harmful chemicals putting them at risk of illness and disease?  That is a question that has percolated over the last several years, and one that received high-profile media attention in 2014.  The issue centers around the possible connection between crumb rubber infill – little … Continue Reading

New York to Ban Fracking

New York State’s Department of Health (DOH) Acting Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, has recommended that hydraulic fracturing be banned.  According to a press release issued today, the DOH has determined that significant questions and risks to public health from fracking are unanswered making it “reckless” to allow fracking in New York State. According to Dr. Zucker, “it would be reckless to … Continue Reading

North Dakota Issues New Standards for Bakken Oil

North Dakota’s Industrial Commission (Commission) has issued an order tightening the conditioning and transportation standards for oil produced in the Bakken Petroleum System (Bakken, Three Forks, and Spanish Pool). Non-compliance with the new standards carry a penalty of up to $12,500 per day of violation.  The order is set to take effect April 1, 2015. … Continue Reading
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