News Recap for 7-31-2020
Los Angeles Times: You see the warnings everywhere. But does Prop. 65 really protect you? — An investigation by the LA Times reveals that California’s Proposition 65 — which coerces companies into replacing toxic chemicals by threat of a product warning label — has left consumers overwarned, underinformed and potentially unprotected, all while funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to lawsuit mills. According to state data, attorney fees account for nearly three-quarters of the more than $300 million that has been paid out in Proposition 65 settlements since 2000.
Environmental Health News: Some US Roundup plaintiffs balk at signing Bayer settlement deals; $160,000 average payout eyed — Plaintiffs in the U.S. Roundup litigation are starting to learn the details of what Bayer AG’s $10 billion settlement of cancer claims actually means for them individually, and they don’t like what they see. Many could end up with little to no money, while the law firms earn hundreds of millions of dollars. “It’s a win for the law firms and a slap in the face of the harmed” said one plaintiff.
Portland Press Herald: Groups pushing to extend timeline for lawsuits over PFAS chemical pollution — Health and environmental advocates urged Maine lawmakers to pass a bill that aims to ensure property owners have legal recourse against parties responsible for pollution after milk from a Central Maine dairy farm was discovered to have elevated PFAS levels. State agriculture officials say that Maine’s milk supply remains safe thanks, in part, to periodic testing and rigorous record-keeping. The most recent round of testing of retail milk samples – the second since 2019 – found PFAS levels were below the reporting level in 19 of the 20 samples.
Bloomberg Law: Toxics Group Spurs Nationwide Efforts to Ban PFAS in Packaging — The Toxics In Packaging Clearinghouse, which led the effort to put limits on heavy metals in food packaging in 19 states, is now turning its attention to banning any concentration of PFAS in packaging nationwide. If adopted by states, the ban could affect anything from plastic wrapped around cucumbers to pizza boxes. The American Chemistry Council said it supports safe packaging but is concerned the legislation would bypass safety and packaging oversight by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They also believe that listing an entire class of substances as a one-size-fits-all solution threatens sound science.
JD Supra: EPA Failed to Evaluate Potential Adverse Impact of Pesticide on Monarch Butterfly — The Ninth Circuit held that the EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIRFA) by failing to assess adverse effects of a pesticide—Enlist Duo—on monarch butterfly habitat. The court agreed with petitioners that the EPA failed to properly consider the potential adverse effect of expanded chemical use on monarch butterfly habitats. Though the EPA did assess some of these risks, finding that Enlist Duo would only affect treated crop fields (not off-field plants that make up the primary source of monarch caterpillar diets), the court determined EPA should also have considered how the potential destruction of surrounding fields by the pesticide would affect monarch butterflies. The court rejected petitioners’ claim that EPA violated the Endangered Species Act by wrongly concluding that Enlist Duo would have “no effect” on listed species or critical habitat.