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California Joins States Banning Flame Retardants; San Francisco Ban to Take Effect in 2019

November 16, 2018


California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a ban on flame retardants in certain household products. Starting January 1, 2020, it will be prohibited to sell or distribute children’s products, mattresses, and upholstered furniture that contain flame retardants in concentrations above 1,000 parts per million (ppm) in the state of California.

In addition to banning the sale of products containing flame retardants, the law requires the International Sleep Products Association to survey mattress producers every three years to determine what materials are being used to meet flammability standards.

The Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation is authorized to enforce the new law and adopt implementing rules and regulations.

In passing the bill, the Legislature cited evidence that flame retardants do little to increase fire safety, and expressed concerns about the link between flame retardants and various health problems, such as developmental problems in children and cancer.

California is one of a number of states that have banned flame retardants or specific chemicals commonly used in flame retardants. For more information about similar bans in other states, click on the links below.

San Francisco’s Flame Retardant Ban to Take Effect

On January 1, 2019, San Francisco’s similar ban on sale of upholstered furniture and juvenile products containing flame retardants goes into effect. Beginning next year, it

INTA Offers Guide for Combating Counterfeit Sales

July 20, 2018


As retailers continue to battle the escalating problem of counterfeit products, The International Trademark Association (INTA) has released a guide titled Addressing the Sale of Counterfeits on the Internet.  The guide is the product of INTA’s Anti-Counterfeiting committee and aims to further the organization’s continuing efforts to curb the problem of online sales of counterfeit goods.

According to a 2017 impact study commissioned by INTA and cited in the guide, the global value of counterfeit and pirated goods was estimated to be $1.13 trillion in 2013 and is projected to reach $1.9-$2.8 trillion in 2022. Counterfeit sales not only harm businesses, but pose a risk to public health and safety and often fund criminal organizations.

INTA’s guide includes updated and expanded best practices for search websites, online market places, PSPs, trademark owners, and social media, logistics, and registry companies. The guide also includes the following key recommendations:

  • Search advertising services should have a clear and effective complaint process publicly available to report counterfeit ads.
  • To the extent that there are legal frameworks applicable to removal of content on search engines and the legal grounds implicate behavior used by counterfeiters, search engines should provide an efficient process for parties to submit removal requests.
  • Online trading platforms should strengthen and streamline procedures for identifying and taking more effective action against repeat offenders, as well as tighten repeat offender policies.
  • Payment service providers should have in place policies prohibiting the use of their services for the purchase and sale of goods that

Retailers Can Maintain Drug Free Workplace Despite State Legalization of Marijuana

Many retailers wonder what effect, if any, legalization of recreational marijuana has on their ability to maintain a drug free workplace.

Recreational marijuana has been legalized in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Marijuana still remains an illegal Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and therefore still subject to prosecution under federal law.

Legalization of marijuana in the above states does not affect an employer’s ability to enact and enforce workplace restrictions related to drug possession, use, impairment, and testing. For example, California’s “Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” commonly referred to as Proposition 64, contains express language specifying that it does not:

  • affect the rights and obligations of public and private employers to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace;
  • require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growth of marijuana in the workplace;
  • affect the ability of employers to have policies prohibiting the use of marijuana by employees and prospective employees; or
  • prevent employers from complying with state or federal law. (Cal. Health & Safety Code § 11362.45.)

Employers also maintain the right to enforce workplace restrictions on medical marijuana.  In 2008, the California Supreme Court held in Ross v. RagingWire Telecommunications, Inc. that an employer lawfully may enforce drug free workplace policies even if an employee uses the marijuana for medical purposes.   Proposition 64, does not limit the scope of that California Supreme Court holding.

Given the potential for confusion, employers

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