Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Senator Durbin Holds Hearing on Brominated Flame Retardants

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) held a hearing on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 regarding the question:

AreConsumers Adequately Protected from Flammability of Upholstered Furniture?  Hearing on the Effectiveness of FurnitureFlammability Standards and Flame Retardant Chemicals.

Durbin's concern stems from a recent Chicago Tribune investigative series that suggested the flame retardant industry had misled regulators on both the effectiveness and safety of a class of brominated flame retardants called PBDEs. The Senator is a strong supporter of overhauling the 26-year old TSCA law and is a co-sponsor of the Safe Chemicals Act introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

Scheduled witnesses at the July 17th hearing were:
Panel I
·        The Honorable Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman, Consumer Product Safety Commission.
·        James J. Jones, Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Environmental Protection Agency.

Panel II
·        August (Gus) Schaefer, Sr., Vice President and Chief Safety Officer, Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
·        Andy Counts, CEO, American Home Furnishings Alliance.
·        Peter Van Dorpe, Chief of the Training Division for Chicago Fire Department.

More information on the hearing can be found here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New EU Biocide Regulation Enters Into Force

The new Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) enters into force in the EU today, July 17, 2012. The BPR replaces the Biocidal Products Directive (BPD) that had been the law governing biocides. There will be a transition period for some biocidal products already in the review process, but the new BPR moves much of the responsibility for approving biocides to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).  ECHA is also responsible for REACH, the chemicals regulation.

As a regulation, the BPR goes into force in all of the EU immediately.  The previous Directive had to be implemented by individual member state action.

More information on the new Biocidal Products Regulation can be found on ECHA's web site.