All Published Articles

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Extended producer responsibility for packaging: and so it begins in the US," Financier Worldwide, October 2021.

On 13 July 2021, Maine became the first state in the US to enact extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation for packaging. Quickly thereafter, on 6 August, Oregon became the second state to enact a similar EPR law applicable to packaging. Other states are poised to enact similar legislation, following trends more mature in the European Union (EU) and elsewhere around the world.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Goes Back To The Drawing Board On Toxic Substances," Chemical Processing, September 15, 2021.

The implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) provisions relating to regulating persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals has been anything but smooth. On September 3, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it intends to initiate new PBT rulemaking and anticipates proposing new rules for five PBT chemicals subject to final risk management rules under TSCA Section 6(h). Additionally, and happily, the agency extended the compliance dates for the prohibitions on processing and distribution and the associated recordkeeping requirements of one of these PBT chemicals, phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)). The action was imperative as EPA’s earlier-issued “No Action Assurance” (NAA) lapsed on September 4, 2021. This article provides key points related to this complicated area of TSCA regulation.

Carla N. Hutton and Karin F. Baron, MSPH, "Expert Briefing: What could the European Commission’s plan to strengthen CLP mean for industry?," Chemical Watch, August 2, 2021.

To help achieve the ambitious goals of the European Green Deal, the European Commission adopted the chemicals strategy for sustainability in October 2020. The strategy suggests that the Commission can address pressing human health and environmental concerns by reinforcing Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures – one of the EU’s cornerstones for regulating chemicals.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "PFAS: Is Anything Not Reportable?," Chemical Processing, July 19, 2021.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on June 10, 2021, three actions intended to protect communities from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), as covered in July’s column “EPA Announces Blockbuster PFAS Actions.” This column focuses on one of them: an ambitious proposal intended to obtain comprehensive data on more than 1,000 PFAS manufactured in or imported into the United States. As discussed in this article, the proposal’s scope is enormous.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Announces Blockbuster PFAS Actions," Chemical Processing, June 23, 2021.

When it comes to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not messing around. The agency announced on June 10, 2021, three actions intended to protect communities from PFAS. This article summarizes the actions.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Avoiding costly supply chain disruption: a cautionary tale," Financier Worldwide, July 2021.

By any independent standard, the US electronics industry is huge – it was worth over $300bn in 2019 – and growing annually. Would it surprise you to know that as big, essential and powerful as it is, a single rule issued in January of this year by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nearly brought this sector to a halt? To this day, the rule is causing extraordinary disruption as electric and electronic device manufacturers, importers, processors, distributors and others scramble to adjust in its aftermath. This article tells the cautionary tale of PIP (3:1). This sad and largely avoidable tale crystalises the importance of understanding the long reach of the US industrial chemical control law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and its seemingly limitless potential for disrupting global supply chains.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The essential role of evolving technologies in securing a safe and sustainable food supply," Agricultural Law Section of the International Bar Association, June 1, 2021.

Emerging tools enabled by nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and other innovative technologies are today increasingly supplementing the ploughs and tractors so emblematic of the agricultural community of the past. These precision farming tools are ensuring a sustainable food supply otherwise threatened by climate change and population growth, among other global challenges, while diminishing worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Genetically modified E coli is being used to produce synthetically-derived pheromones, substances beneficially used in agricultural applications to attract, capture, and eliminate harmful pests. Agricultural stakeholders use nanopesticides and nanofertilisers in drought-stricken regions, minimising the need for more conventional and environmentally consequential agricultural chemicals. GPS-based auto-steering systems for tractors augment human labour, freeing up effort better spent on other tasks. These technologies enable global agricultural professionals to address the climate change imperatives which threaten an increasingly fragile global food supply.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "TSCA: A change of course," Specialty Chemicals Magazine , May/June 2021.

Just as the industrial chemical community was getting into a predictable, somewhat comfortable groove regarding commercializing new chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to blow up the process. With it went any hope for business certainty in this highly volatile regulatory area.  While new administrations are entitled to shape policies to align with their agendas, the Biden Administration’s decision to rescind the new chemicals policies bodes badly for chemical innovation at the very time new, sustainable chemical innovations are most needed.  This article explains why the new chemicals policies portend major delays.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Expands TRI Reporting Rules," Chemical Processing, May 17, 2021.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 29, 2021, that it will be “taking important steps under the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to advance environmental justice, improve transparency, and increase access to environmental information.” The EPA plans to expand the scope of TRI reporting requirements to cover additional chemicals and facilities, including those not currently reporting ethylene oxide (EtO) releases. The agency also announced enhancements to its TRI reporting tools, but this article will focus on the chemical expansion effort and why it is significant.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The TSCA under the Biden administration: what to expect," Environmental Law & Management, Volume 31, Issue 6, 2019.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) will be busy in 2021. Implementation of the 2016 amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) will continue to dominate the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT). In 2021, the EPA will need to complete outstanding risk evaluators of the 'first 10' chemicals and begin developing proposals for the section 6 risk management rules necessitated by the risk evaluations' conclusions. Given the tight statutory deadline for issuing proposed risk management rules, the complexity of the issues and the novelty of applying the new regulatory authorities, risk management decisions will likely present daunting challenges to the EPA as it sorts through the many legal and evolving policy issues at play. The EPA also now has four manufacture-requested risk evaluations that will parallel the 'next 20' chemicals for review. The change in administration makes the next four years especially 'unpredictable', not a word the business community welcomes.

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