Dennis E. Raglin
Rimon’s California Proposition 65 and Green Chemistry practice group is comprised of seasoned lawyers who have extensive experience counseling and litigating diverse matters involving California’s unique and often complicated Proposition 65 “right-to-know” law, as well as experience in counseling clients in the burgeoning area of green chemistry laws and regulations across the country.
Proposition 65 was enacted by California’s voters in 1986 and is formally known as the “Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.” It affects many companies that sell products or do business in the state, whether they sell to California consumers online or at a store located in California. Proposition 65 provides that persons doing business in California may not expose individuals to chemicals known to cause cancer and/or reproductive toxicity without first giving clear and reasonable warning, nor discharge such chemicals into drinking water. The statute requires the governor to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm. The list was first published in 1987 and is updated at least once a year. There are currently more than 800 chemicals and substances on the list. These “listed” chemicals are present in a variety of everyday things and virtually every company selling products in California should be aware of the law and potential liability.
Rimon’s lawyers have been involved in all aspects of evaluating, counseling and defending clients in Proposition 65 matters. This includes understanding at the outset what the most practicable, cost-effective approach is to resolving these cases where possible, as they can often be disruptive to businesses. These cases can be brought by the government or, as is often the case with this statute, by private “bounty hunters” who seek attorneys’ fees allowed by the law in additional to penalties required to be paid to the state. Rimon’s lawyers have significant experience negotiating efficient, successful settlements and consent judgments for clients in a variety of fields and, when necessary, defending them in trial. They also work with clients to develop aggressive defenses to Proposition 65 when needed.
Rimon’s lawyers also counsel clients large and small regarding compliance and best practice with various green chemistry regulations being developed and enacted in several states. For over a decade now, with no agreement at the federal level regarding a uniform, updated chemical law, states have begun to fill the void with a host of laws designed to require companies who sell certain products in the state to provide detailed information regarding the chemicals contained in them. Over 25 states now have some form of chemical regulation. These laws also restrict the use of certain substances in certain products, particularly children’s products, and allow the states to impose penalties on companies for noncompliance. California has the most far-reaching green chemistry law currently, the Safer Consumer Products regulation. This set of regulations imposes requirements for certain target products identified by the state that contain chemicals deemed hazardous, and requires that manufacturers of these products provide detailed information on both the products and the chemicals they contain, and also requires the manufacturer submit an alternative assessment analysis showing how feasible it would be to make the subject product without the offending chemical. This regulatory template will likely be replicated in other states in the future. Rimon’s lawyers understand these laws and counsel clients in what these regulations mean for them and their business, and discuss best practices in how to comply.
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