By Richard P. Bress, Philip J. Perry, Andrew D. Prins, Ryan Baasch and Alexandra Shechtel

On February 26, for the first time ever, a federal district court has enjoined a California Proposition 65 warning requirement on First Amendment grounds. Under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 — colloquially known as “Proposition 65” — the State listed the herbicide glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, as a chemical “known” to the

By Paul Davies and Alice Gunn

The European Commission published two evaluation and fitness check roadmaps in May this year. These roadmaps will assist the Commission in assessing whether the current legislative framework for chemicals, including REACH, is fit-for-purpose and delivers as expected.

Together with the ongoing evaluation of 24 EU Directives in the area of health and safety at work, the roadmaps will not only serve as evidence for the chemicals stock-taking report referenced in the 2014 Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT) but, more generally, for developing the non-toxic environment strategy as required by the 7th Environment Action Programme by 2018.

Fitness check of chemicals legislation

The first roadmap concerns a fitness check of current chemicals legislation, as well as related aspects of legislation applied to downstream industries. It does not cover REACH, except for the criteria for identifying a phase-out substance.

By Michael Green and Glen Jeffries

The recent judgment by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) clarified the definition of “article” under the REACH Regulation 2006 ((EC) No 1907/2006).

REACH is a regulation that concerns the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals in the EU and REACH ensures that chemical manufacturers and suppliers that are producing and distributing “articles” categorised as “substances of very high concern” (SVHC), are obliged to notify the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and provide recipients with sufficient product safety guidance.

REACH defines an article as: “an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than does its chemical composition”. Both the European Commission and the ECHA confirmed their position that the concentration of a SVHC had to exceed 0.1 percent in the entire article for obligations to apply. Therefore, it was the Commission and the ECHA’s view that the obligations applied only to a complete product and not the constituent parts of that completed product.

The recent ECJ decision, in relation to the disputed definition of an “article”, has essentially lowered the threshold at which the relevant obligations kick in, reversing the position held by the ECHA.