A Few States Adopt Chemical Legislation Despite TSCA Reform

State legislatures continue to consider legislation to restrict chemicals even as, at the federal level, the Toxic Substances Control Act has been thoroughly overhauled by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. As previously reported here, over 60 bills to restrict chemicals in various ways were introduced earlier this year. Now that many state legislative sessions have ended, it’s time to assess the results, presented in the attached chart

Most of the bills failed to pass, but the following three bills were enacted.

In the District of Columbia, the Mayor signed into law Carcinogenic Flame Retardant Prohibition Amendment Act of 2015, which set up a two-step road map to restrict the use of two flame retardant chemicals, first in children’s products and residential upholstered furniture and then to consumer products in general (other than exempt products). The Congressional review period ended in August 2016; and the Act became part of D.C. law effective from May 12, 2016. A separate alert on this legislation is available here

In Washington, the Governor signed into law H.B. 2545 / S.B. 6440, a bill that restricts manufacturing, knowingly selling, offering for sale, distributing for sale, or distributing for use five flame retardant chemicals in children’s products and residential upholstered furniture. The law became effective on June 9, 2016. 

In New York, A.B. 172 / S. 5322 became the law after the Governor signed it on September 9, 2016. This law effectively prohibits mercury-added wheel weights by disallowing registration of vehicles that use these weights and outlawing sale, offer to sell, or distribution of such weights. The law became effective immediately upon enactment, but the deadlines for both requirements are in 2018. 

The plethora of legislation introduced in 2016, double the number of similar bills introduced in 2015, reflects the continued interest of states in regulating chemicals. That only three of the bills passed is not unusual in light of recent experience. 

The impact of TSCA reform enactment on the introduction of state chemicals legislation will likely be seen early in 2017 when most bills for that legislative session will be introduced.