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, asthma, male reproductive issues, and early female puberty.  The proposed ban would add  to the list of phthalates already banned by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”).

The CPSIA currently prohibits manufacturers from using certain phthalates in children’s products.  Under the exising rules, manufacturers are not allowed to use greater than 0.1 percent individually of the phthalates DEHP, DBP, and BBP in children’s toys and certain child care articles.  “Children’s toys” refers to consumer products intended for children 12 years and younger for recreational use. “Child care articles” are consumer products manufactured for children three years or younger and made to assist in sleeping, feeding, sucking, or teething.
Continue Reading CPSC Proposes Expansion of Ban On Substance Used in Children’s Toys

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 proceed in New York until more authoritative research is done.”  One motivating factor in Zucker’s decision was that he would not let his family live in a community with fracking so he could not recommend that anyone else’s family live in such a community either.
Continue Reading New York to Ban Fracking

New York’s highest court has determined that towns could use local zoning ordinances to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking).  The decision, issued June 30, 2014, is an important development in the debate about how fracking activities can be effectively “regulated” at the local level.   The New York Court of Appeals determined that the ordinances banning fracking were reasonable exercises of the towns zoning authority.  According to the Court of Appeals:  [the towns] engaged in a reasonable exercise of their zoning authority . . . when they adopted local laws clarifying that oil and gas extraction and production were not permissible uses in any zoning districts.”
Continue Reading New York Court Upholds Local Zoning Ordinances Banning Fracking