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NEA newsletter-202309

Latest Progress in Environmental Protection Laws and Regulations, Product Recall Case, and Experts Q&A

US agencies look to maximize PFAS-free procurement
On August 3, 2023, the United States proposed a rule to instruct its agencies to avoid buying certain PFAS-containing goods. This sustainable purchasing proposal seeks to advance implementation of a 2021 executive order boosting federal agencies’ PFAS-free procurement, with an aim to push the market towards safer alternatives by harnessing their $630b annual buying power. The rule would require agencies like the General Services Administration (GSA) to "prioritize the purchase of products without added perfluoro-alkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances" (PFASs) by using EPA-recommended standards and ecolabels. Although EWG supports the EPA’s effort to recommend PFAS-free options, the "fastest way to achieve results is to ask companies to affirm that they are not including intentionally added PFASs in the products that they're offering to the government". The proposed rule is currently open for comment until October 2, 2023.

Three substances added into CP 65 list
Effective August 11, 2023, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is adding anthracene (CAS RN 120-12-7), 2-bromopropane (CAS RN 75-26-3), and dimethyl hydrogen phosphite (CAS RN 868-85-9) to the list of chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer under Proposition 65, coming into force 12 months later, on August 11, 2024.

  • Anthracene: an intermediate used in the manufacture of disperse dyes, alizarin, and vat dyes, can be used as a raw material for plastics and insulating materials.
  • 2-Bromopropane: for organic synthesis and pharmaceutical, pesticide intermediates.
  • Dimethyl Hydrogen Phosphite: used as lubricating oil additives,  adhesives and some organic synthesis intermediates. It is used in the synthesis of insecticides omethoate, methylthiocyclophos and herbicide glyphosate, etc.
ECHA will focus on restricted substances in batteries
On 17 August 2023, with the modernization of the EU’s regulatory framework for batteries, ECHA has received new tasks to support the European Commission in identifying substances of concern found in batteries or used in their manufacturing, that have negative impacts on human health, the environment or recycling for safe and high-quality raw materials. It will also prepare proposals to restrict substances in batteries. The aim is to make batteries on the EEA market more sustainable throughout their lifecycle.
The report, expected by 31 December 2027, will identify the substances and consider follow-up measures, such as possible Union-wide restrictions. It is expected that ECHA will begin its work toward this report in 2024.

Maine adopts legislation prohibiting mercury-added lamps
State legislators in Maine have passed a measure that prohibits the manufacture and sale of compact and linear fluorescent lamps containing mercury beginning in less than three years.
The legislation (HP 1160: An Act to Reduce Mercury in the Environment by Phasing Out Certain Fluorescent Light Bulbs), which became law without a signature from Governor on 5 July, prohibits mercury-containing fluorescent lamps beginning on 1 January 2026. It expands the State’s current restrictions of mercury in certain consumer products, such as thermometers and button cell batteries, and some ex-emptions are set for certain products.
Compact fluorescent lamps with a screw or bayonet base type and linear fluorescent mercury-added lamps with a 1-pin or 2-pin base type will be banned under the legislation.

Hawaii to ban manufacture, sale of some mercury-containing lamps
Hawaii has adopted a measure that will prohibit the manufacture and sale of certain compact and linear mercury-added fluorescent lamps as new manufactured products beginning in 2025. 
Signed into law by Governor on 5 July, the legislation (HB 192) bans the manufacture and sale of compact fluorescent lamps with a screw or bayonet base in the State from 1 January 2025.  A restriction on pin-based compact fluorescent lamps and linear fluorescent lamps will begin on 1 January 2026. And some exemptions are set for certain products.
The newly adopted law follows efforts to minimize mercury in other states. It closely resembles a bill passed in Maine on the same date, set to begin in 2026.

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