Tag: FIFRA

Bag this Ban

From The Los Angeles Times, “Reusable bags found to be dirty“:

Nearly every bag examined for bacteria by researchers at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University found whopping amounts of bugs. Coliform bacteria, suggesting raw-meat or uncooked-food contamination, was in half of the bags, and E. coli was found in 12 percent of the bags.

Running the bags through a washer or cleaning them by hand reduced bacteria levels to almost nothing, the study reported, but nearly all shoppers questioned said they do not regularly, if ever, wash their reusable bags. About a third said they also used their food-shopping bags to haul around non-food items.

The study was funded by the American Chemistry Council amid debate over a California bill that would ban single-use plastic bags. The council is opposed to that measure.

Guess we were ahead of the curve. A year ago July, after the D.C. City Council taxed plastic bags, we joked: “Thankfully, we’ve found a great source of reusable bags, piles of them discarded in the alley right behind the Municipal Diphtheria Clinic.”

Of course, the obvious solution to the contaminated-bag question is a technological one: The imbedding of anti-microbial nano-silver particles in all grocery bags. EPA is stepping up its oversight, enforcement, involvement, and scolding of nanotechnology under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. The technology’s mandatory use in all grocery bags is clearly called for. (At least for bags sold into interstate commerce.)

We’re pleased, as well, that California state lawmakers are engaged in this important issue, the banning of plastic bags. Obviously the state legislature has a clear sense of the state’s most pressing priorities.

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No Private Cause of Action Under FIFRA

Radio talk show host, blogger and lawyer Hugh Hewitt recently urged Shopfloor to keep track of the regulatory burdens an aggressive EPA would be dreaming up under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). He provided legitimate grounds for concern, but, phew, FIFRA? That’s pretty arcane even to those of use who used to follow U.S.-Canada pesticide harmonization.

But here it is, in the courts. On May 25, a panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, ruled that FIFRA did not create a private right of action, preventing a rush of new litigation against manufacturers. From the opinion in Douglas Voss v. Saint Martin Cooperative:

The Voss family, organic dairy farmers in rural Minnesota, commenced this damage action alleging that defendants’ unlawful application of chemical pesticides on a neighboring farm caused the chemicals to drift and to damage the Vosses and their property. Liberally construed, the pro se complaint alleged a federal cause of action for a labeling violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), 7 U.S.C. § 136 et seq., and a state law cause of action for violation of
Minn. Stat. § 18B.07, subd. 2. The district court dismissed the entire complaint without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because “it is well-settled that FIFRA does not provide for a private right of action.”

We agree that FIFRA does not provide a private right of action to farmers and others injured as a result of a manufacturer’s violation of FIFRA’s labeling requirements.

The district court should have dismissed the federal claim with prejudice, the appellate court wrote.

So there’s that at least.

As for the EPA, the agency is moving toward regulation of nanoparticles in pesticides under FIFRA, according to this Powerpoint presentation by William Jordan of the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs.

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FIFRA: Jobs-Creating Businesses Could Use Protection from EPA

Lawyer, blogger and talk show host Hugh Hewitt’s latest Examiner column warns against the Environmental Protection Agency’s expanded use and abuse of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), now being turned into an all-purpose weapon against business and advertising. “Federal control costs jobs” cites the EPA’s recent fines totaling $500,000 against four manufacturers, including The North Face outdoor-gear maker, for claiming their products provided “antimicrobial protection.”

“While The North Face, Califone and Saniguard products all incorporated EPA-registered silver-based antimicrobial compounds to protect them against deterioration,” the EPA’s press release said, “they were never tested or registered to protect consumers against bacteria, fungus, mold and/or mildew.”

And there you have the nanny state in all its fury. No testing! No registration! No proof of a marketing claim of “antimicrobial protection.”

Whatever the merits of the manufacturers’ claims, it’s difficult to see a significant threat to public health or safety in the advertising that brought down the wrath of the EPA on these companies.

It’s easy, on the other hand, to see the cost of the fines, and the almost certain additional significant costs for attorneys and other staff who had to deal with the problem. It’s easy to imagine the cost of new marketing materials and of increased regulatory compliance.

Lost jobs, for one.

Hewitt has more detail at his blog, HughHewitt.com, a post, “A Very Disturbing, Job-Killing Trend.”

At his Examiner column, he concludes: “If Congress is serious about helping the economy create jobs, it can start by summoning EPA brass to a hearing and asking for a detailed rationale for its draconian fines and for its reading of the statute.”

If Congress is serious…

Unfortunately, it’s easier to imagine a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committe — the same group of lawmakers that brought us the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act — being convened to berate business owners for failing to live up to the EPA’s rapidly changing standards of consumer protection.

In the meantime, the EPA continues to cement its standing as the most powerful regulatory agency in human history.

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