Pierce Atwood’s environmental attorneys have addressed chemical safety issues beginning in 1970s with the passage of the Toxic Substances Control Act and pesticide laws, and advised clients as OSHA and the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission began regulating to protect workers and consumers. Following the reach of federal and state laws, our product regulation and chemical safety practice has expanded correspondingly, and now ranges to include the Federal Trade Commission’s “Green Advertising” guidance.
There has been a proliferation of state laws that affect companies doing business in multiple states, including California’s Proposition 65. State regulation has exploded and Maine and other states have contributed their own chemical bans, product stewardship and “take-back” laws, recycling requirements, toxics in products regulation, and packaging requirements. Our chemical product regulation and litigation practices assist clients in addressing these requirements at the legislative and regulatory levels and, in appropriate cases, defending marketing and sales of products or challenging government regulatory actions. Product literature, advertising, and effectiveness claims are frequent battlegrounds.
The extent of our practice covers both chemicals and products, from mining or synthesis, to chemical processing and product manufacturing, to marketing and sales, to disposal or recycling -- and most everything in between. Among other related matters, we have advised clients on manufacture, storage requirements, shipping and transportation in interstate and international commerce, labeling and advertising, and multistate product recalls. With our litigation practice group, we have also successfully defended manufacturers and manufacturers’ groups in class action lawsuits alleging product liability, including defense of a claim by a New England state that sought to impose massive liabilities for the historic manufacture and sale of lead paint and storage and sale of petroleum products with additives.
- Defense of OSHA Hazard Communication Violations and Chemical Exposure Claims
We regularly advise on compliance issues and defend OSHA claims, including defense of a high-tech company in claims related to transfer of machines allegedly coated with chemical residues and application of Hazard Communication standard. We are familiar with and have assisted companies on compliance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals and preparation of Safety Data Sheets. Our work has also including advising on Air Toxics Permissible Exposure Level issues and a number of chemical-specific OSHA standards.
- Product Labeling and Green Advertising Claims
We have advised clients on the FTC's Guidelines for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (the "Green Guides") for both goods and services, including energy sources, and on textile labeling under the Textile, Fur, and Wool Products Labeling Acts.
- Represented American Chemistry Council, and BPA Manufacturers and Users, and Chemical-Specific Trade Associations
Represented ACC in addressing Maine Toxics in Children’s Products legislation and proposed regulation of Bisphenol-A. Since the adoption of enforceable regulations, we have advised clients on compliance and defended companies alleged to have violated these regulations. Recently, the firm has represented several trade associations in correcting Maine's classification of "Chemicals of High Concern."
- Trade Association Representation on Take-back Laws
Represented a national trade association on Maine’s take-back law for electrical products and proposed regulation to assist in developing a workable program. We have assisted recycling companies in complying with those laws, and also represented companies affected by Maine's recent paint recycling take-back regulations.
- TSCA Advice
Companies seek our advice on TSCA compliance for existing and new chemicals, reporting under TSCA rules, and proper procedures for import and export of chemical substances.
- Representation on California Proposition 65 Warning Claims
Our attorneys have advised on these toxic chemical warning requirements, safe-harbor levels and compliance testing, and defended and settled claims against consumer products brought by private citizens under the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65).
- U.S. DOT Hazardous Materials Shipping Regulations
The DOT regulations, as enforced by several agencies and states, are complicated and apply to a vast array of materials. We regularly advise clients on these requirements and defend clients in enforcement actions, as well as conduct training for clients to comply with HAZMAT training requirements.
- Maine’s Toxics in Packaging Ban
Pierce Atwood’s environmental attorneys have advised international companies on the production of packaging and compliance with this law, which has been adopted New England-wide.
- Defense of Enforcement Actions for Storage of Unused Products
We have successfully defended clients in enforcement actions brought by the U.S. EPA and states alleging that products were wastes, and improperly stored under hazardous waste rules and analogous state regulations.
- REACH Directive
Clients are increasing affected by the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals regulation, and we have advised clients on requirements of REACH to allow marketing and export of chemical products to the EU.