The Chanler Group, an environmental law firm, reached a settlement on behalf of its client, Peter Englander, with a Chinese manufacturer of products alleged to contain the reproductive toxin di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, commonly known as DEHP. Mr. Englander alleged that the foreign company, Hangzhou GreatStar Tool Company, violated California’s Proposition 65 by manufacturing and selling hand tools and stools containing DEHP through major retailers such as Lowe’s and Orchard Supply Hardware, without providing California consumers with the requisite health hazard warning.
“If a product is going to be sold in America, it has to meet American health and safety standards, both local and federal,” said Clifford Chanler, the founder and spokesperson of The Chanler Group. “This is true regardless of where the product is manufactured.”
As a result of the settlement, the overseas manufacturer has agreed that, no later than May 1, 2014, all of the products at issue, intended for sale to California consumers, shall be reformulated so as to virtually eliminate the presence of DEHP. Should Hangzhou GreatStar Tool Company, accelerate its reformulation schedule and certify that the products at issue are reformulated by March 15, 2014, Mr. Englander agreed to waive a portion of the $30,000 civil fine. Seventy-five percent of the civil fine is paid to the State of California.
This is the first time Proposition 65, or any American consumer protection statute, has been used as a basis for international prosecution. The Chanler Group and its clients expect this to be the beginning of a new trend, where overseas manufacturers are held accountable for the products they provide for American consumers.
The Chanler Group represents citizen enforcers and whistleblowers to promote awareness of toxic chemicals found in our everyday environment and to enhance the health of the general public by advocating for the removal of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm from consumer products. For more information, visit: www.chanler.com
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