Toxic Substances

Mick Jagger on Chemical Reform

Vermont's new chemical program looks to be a mixed bag

Vermont just joined the posse of states taking chemical regulation reform into their own hands in the face of inaction in Congress.  Last week the Green Mountain State enacted a new law covering chemicals in children’s products.  (A children’s product is defined as “any consumer product, marketed for use by, marketed to, sold, offered for […]

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Supreme Court: North Carolina Tort Plaintiffs Can’t Sue for Latent Injuries from Contaminated Sites

Court holds that federal law doesn't preempt state statutes of repose

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger.   In this case, which my colleague Jesse Lueders described and analyzed in detail here and here, the Court had to decide whether state statutes of repose can bar tort lawsuits by people harmed by latent injuries from toxic contamination, by imposing […]

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What’s in a Name?

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Supreme Court arguments surround the policies and effects of limitations periods

A few weeks back, I posted about CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, a case then awaiting oral argument in the Supreme Court.  As you may recall (or as you can read here, with links to relevant documents), Waldburger involves hazardous waste contamination, and a provision of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) that […]

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Statutes of Limitations, Statutes of Repose, and Latent Harms

A warning sign posted outside the CTS property.  Credit: Jeremy P. Jacobs.

Can plaintiffs harmed years after exposure to toxic substances seek relief?

You may not have heard of CTS Corp. v. Waldburger.  At a glance, it is relatively unremarkable, a private nuisance suit between landowners and a retired manufacturing facility.  Much of the work on the plaintiffs’ side has been handled by students.  In a sense, the case hasn’t even begun yet—a judge found that the plaintiffs waited […]

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An Ounce of Prevention

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Can inherently safer technology save us from chemical accidents and terrorists?

As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Franklin’s comment, originally made in reference to home fire safety, is characteristically timeless.  Today, many are looking to the principle of prevention as a way to reduce the incidence and severity of chemical plant disasters. The threat of chemical disaster […]

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Calfiornia Bans Lead Ammunition

New Law Is Welcome, But Probably Won't Take Full Effect Until 2019

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation that will ban the use of lead ammunition in California by hunters. In approving AB 711 (Rendon), Brown withstood furious lobbying efforts by the National Rifle Association and some (but not all) hunting organizations, who had urged the Governor to veto the legislation. AB 711 was supported by […]

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Happy Birthday, TSCA!

With the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) celebrating its 37th birthday today, I was thinking what we should get it as a birthday gift.  Here’s one idea; how about a little respect.  I’ve blogged before about how the statute has become one of the most denigrated environmental laws on the books.  It seems that every […]

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A new treaty on global mercury: not much, but better than nothing

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Next week in Japan, an international diplomatic meeting will sign and adopt a new environmental treaty, the Minamata Convention on Mercury Pollution, which was finalized in negotiations earlier this year. In its name – and in locating the conference in Minamata and the nearby city of Kumamoto, in Kyushu– the convention commemorates the victims of […]

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New Chemical Regulations Go Live in California

Making Prevention Real?

Today, after years of discussions and drafts, California’s new Safer Consumer Product regulations take effect.  They create a comprehensive chemicals regulatory scheme having three steps: identification and prioritization of consumer products containing chemicals of greatest concern (“product-chemical combinations”); performance of “alternative analyses” by the manufacturers of those high priority product-chemical combinations; and selection of regulatory responses […]

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