California to Toxin Products: Clean Up or Be Banned

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March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Dara O'Rourke, associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley and the co-founder of GoodGuide, and Paul Rosenlund, a partner at Duane Morris, discuss the toxic products California regulators want to ban. They speak with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)

And a partner at duane morris.

Both join us from san francisco.

I wonder if we can begin with you.

Based on your experience, what kinds of toxins are we talking about?

The state only announced three chemicals and three types of products yesterday.

Those are like a cleanup list from the 1980's. these are well-known toxins.

Paint strippers.

A chemical that has killed over a dozen people over the last couple of years.

Chemicals in his raise.

Occupational asthma.

A flame retardant put in children's baby mats, bassinets, foam children's products.

It is a carcinogen and banned in the 1970's. it is still showing up in children's products across america.

The state of california is beginning a program called the safer consumer-products program where they will identify the most hazardous chemicals and then try to motivate industry to identify alternatives.

Get these known hazards out of products currently exposing americans to serious health issues.

Coming in on the legal issues related to this new law, give us some perspective.

Why haven't these things been banned?

It has been a very long road.

The federal government began regulating these chemicals many years ago.

The reason that it is now at the state level is that a lot of people are simply impatient with the pace of activity of the federal agencies charged with the task.

Several states, including california, but also vermont and others have begun their own tasks, essentially to pile on top of what the federal government has already begun.

To identify chemicals of concern.

To identify products and what chemicals might turn up.

To charge the producers of those products with analyzing what they have got, and asked them the hard question of why is that product in there, and is there a better way you can make this product without that someday will be better for all who use the product or are exposed to it.

That is the background.

The real difficulty.

Many people are asking the question, is this something that should be done on a state level, or is it better to pursue the national level and deal with the delays that come with that.

Where do you stand?

From the perspective of the clients i represent, most of my clients are manufacturers and mr.

Beecher's in consumer-products.

They are extremely concerned about the prospect of state to state regulation.

Of having a product that may be legal in oregon, illegal in california, possibly illegal in others.

What about using california's law as a basis for a more widespread national law question absolutely.

That is what is going to happen.

There is no action washington, d.c.. they are leveling -- their lobbying to block any type of substance control.

There is no chance of a comprehensive regulation coming from d.c. all of the adulation is at the state level.

They are pushing alternatives.

They are taking small steps forward for the national government can't. this is going to be the result.

Industry has blocked that.

The asian -- the industry is going to be statewide.

30 years it takes to evaluate a few chemicals in washington dc.

We can get known hazards on the shelves all cross america.

Quite frankly, this is something we see.

They are taking the lead over the federal government of banning chemicals and getting them off their own shelves.

The u.s. government is not doing its job.

California is taking an important step here.

This is where the discussion is going to be.

Getting these hazards out of consumer products.

Can you, on the issue of consistency.

Their regulations in the european union that may be inconsistent with current law and the united states.

Is it possible that the companies who are involved can meet these different regulations?

We will never know the answer until we see the actual regulations.

Europe is several years ahead of us with the reach program.

That has the same goal to identify chemicals of concern, and task the people who make those chemicals to produce products with figuring out what is in there, and how can we make it more safe, and expose people to fewer toxins.

Dealing with uniformity, everybody has a lot of good ideas.

It is difficult to be critical of what one state might do versus another.

The problem will arrive.

I can guarantee you that we will have inconsistencies.

To some degree may affect our ability to export products to europe or other countries ducking at this.

It may affect the ability of other countries to send products here.

And just cause a great amount of uncertainty in the markets.

Let me break in.

I want to give you a moment here.

Why would the u.s. adopt the european union union regulations after all?

There is not a lot of difference between human beings in europe or the united states.

Really, the european union has moved beyond the u.s.. they are out in front of the u.s.. the states in the u.s. are basically catching up.

We have the eu in california taking the lead.

This presents a test for the american chemical industry.

It is an easy test.

We have listed three chemicals everyone has known for 20 years are hazardous.

Can they innovate to get these hazards out of the products of that they can compete globally and innovate, and stay ahead of the curve, and not just continue to lobby them spend millions of dollars blocking regulation.

Where can people learn about where these products are?

Is there a website?

A website for these priority

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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