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The preliminary program for Deco ’13 in Louisville has been mailed to all members and posted on the website for the Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorated Products (SGCDpro). The program will focus on using sustainable manufacturing practices to build profit.
Several speakers will discuss new organic decorating technologies and products. Jan Weyrich, SGCDpro treasurer, will discuss how her employer has used sustainable business practices to lower operating costs. The popular “Ask the Experts” session will be held Sunday, April 14, and will feature speakers discussing issues related to CPSC, EPA, TSCA, NLRB, and Affordable Healthcare Act compliance. The session will be followed by exhibits and an attendee reception. Technical sessions will be held Monday, April 15, followed by the annual Awards Luncheon. For complete details, visit www.sgcd.org.
This summer has been a busy one for regulatory issues affecting the glass and ceramic industries. The issues currently being tracked by SGCDpro will be covered in greater detail during the “Ask the Experts” session at Deco ’13.
CPSC Small Business Ombudsman Explains His Role
Neal Cohen, CPSC small business ombudsman, called himself an “information provider and explainer” at a recent meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers’ CPSC Coalition, as reported by SGCDpro lobbyist Walt Sanders. Cohen’s office runs small business webinars to explain the activity of the commission, answer basic questions, review regulatory summaries and attempt to simplify the text, and assist individuals in understanding expectations and procedures in filing petitions with the commission.
Cohen’s office has also been simplifying the small batch registry, intending to reduce the burden on small business testing and certification. He said some 300 manufacturers have already registered, and more are expected.
Green Chemistry Issues Highlighted
Sanders reports that the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) CPSC Coalition has urged members to focus on the impact of green chemistry laws and remain involved in the development of these initiatives by commenting on proposed legislation, rulemakings and the identification of priority chemicals, and by urging reliance on sound science and risk assessment principles.
This issue was addressed in depth at Deco ’12 by California attorney Carol Brophy, who commented on the pending California regulations, explaining that “this initiative promises to revolutionize chemical use. It seeks to reduce and prevent pollution at its source by placing the burden of proving the safety of chemicals on the manufacturer. It will require environmental and exposure assessments on thousands of chemicals and provide for enforcement through class actions.”
A copy of Brophy’s presentation is available at the SGCDpro website. Sanders’ report from the NAM meeting is also on the site. His report includes a brief summary of state legislation from Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota and Washington, as well as the California initiative. California’s law affects all products, while the other states only affect children’s products. Green chemistry legislation is also pending in Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont.
EU Considering Dramatic Reductions in Lead and Cadmium Food Contact Limits
The European Commission is considering revising limits for the release of lead and cadmium from ceramic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs, as currently laid down in Council Directive 84/500. The commission is also considering including other materials, such as glass, in the new measure.
The proposal under consideration would involve a 60-fold reduction for cadmium and a 400-fold reduction for lead. Although the consultation is described as “informal,” industry groups in the EU are viewing it with alarm and expect that if adopted, the lowered standards could spread outside the EU.
BPA Banned in Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups
In late July, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a ban on the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles and children’s drinking cups. According to The New York Times, BPA has been used since the 1960s to make hard plastic bottles, cups for toddlers, and the linings of food and beverage cans, including those that hold infant formula and soda. Until recently, it was used in baby bottles, but major manufacturers are now making bottles without it. Plastic items containing BPA are generally marked with a 7 on the bottom for recycling purposes. The chemical can leach into food, and a study of over 2,000 people found that more than 90% of them had BPA in their urine.
The FDA said that its decision was a response to a request by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association, that rules allowing BPA in those products be phased out, in part to boost consumer confidence. Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the agency, said the decision simply codified what the industry was already doing based on the preference of consumers and did not reflect concerns about the safety of BPA in baby bottles or toddlers’ cups. In late 2010, California joined 10 other states in banning BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. Canada, Chicago and Suffolk County, NY, have banned BPA from all children’s products.
Any views or opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not represent those of Ceramic Industry, its staff, Editorial Advisory Board or BNP Media.