Like many governments around the world, UK politics currently appear somewhat unstable. And the UK’s problems are a reflection of the world, where established views and beliefs are suddenly no longer the unassailable certainties they have seemed to be for decades.

Davos met this week for the first time in two years against this very unsettled backdrop.  A few thoughts and reflections on discussions there follow…

Continue Reading A Few Thoughts from Davos…

            On May 24, 2022, the National Academies of Sciences released a report, sponsored by EPA, CDC, and others, on indoor chemistry and air quality issues.  The report stresses the importance of these issues given that “people spend, on average, more than 80 percent of their time” in indoor environments, “often in close proximity to sources and processes that emit chemicals” and biological pollutants.  A main theme of the report is that there remain many outstanding questions in this area, and that “the management of indoor chemistry is at a nascent stage,” but rapidly evolving.

            Several aspects of the report are likely to be of particular interest to companies that market products for indoor use, particularly air cleaning and air sensor products.

Continue Reading National Academies of Sciences Report Highlights Indoor Air Quality Issues and Regulatory Considerations

Critiques of OSHA’s current flexible approach to COVID-19 in the workplace provide insight into how a Democratic administration might regulate differently at the federal level.  Moreover, some states have moved forward with establishing binding rules to address COVID-19 in the workplace, which may provide models for future federal efforts.
Continue Reading Non-binding OSHA COVID-19 Guidance Sparks Calls for Federal Action and Plans for State Action to Create Binding Rules

As businesses and commercial buildings reopen following shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality used their June 26 meeting to highlight recommendations on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system operation.
Continue Reading Federal Agencies Highlight COVID-19 Best Practices for HVAC Systems

The COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on the need for resilient supply chains, including perhaps most importantly, the critical need for sustainable supplies of healthy food.  In line with this, the European Commission (the “Commission”) has published a Communication on a Farm to Fork Strategy (the “Strategy”) where it announces a series of legislative and policy initiatives intended to place sustainability at the center of EU food law and policy by ensuring fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food systems.  The Strategy is one of the main pillars of the European Green Deal that, in December 2019, the European Commission announced as its policy flagship for the next five years.
Continue Reading The European Commission Announces a Sustainable Food Strategy for Europe

EPA on May 12 announced a new framework for reviewing and approving products for use against the novel coronavirus.  EPA’s framework explains which new product and existing product amendment requests will be expedited, and provides approximate timelines for EPA review and approval.  Because of continued high demand for disinfectant products, companies seeking to launch new products or amend existing registrations should take care to ensure that their requests will receive expedited treatment.  Seeking expedited treatment is particularly important given the concerns some companies have about making significant investments into EPA product registration, in light of the sometimes lengthy EPA-approval process.
Continue Reading Top 5 Takeaways From EPA’s New Policy on Expediting COVID-19 Disinfectant Approvals

EPA and the CDC on April 29 provided updated guidance on steps employers and businesses should take to disinfect their premises, as part of the “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.”  This provides important guidance for businesses to protect employees and members of the public, and to minimize potential liability arising out of coronavirus exposure in the workplace.
Continue Reading EPA and CDC Urge Employers to Establish Disinfection Plans as Part of COVID-19 Reopening

Next week – April 22, 2020 – brings the 50th anniversary of the inaugural Earth Day, a public awakening inspired and promoted by Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson that prompted over 20 million Americans (at that time 10% of the national population) to participate in events and activities around the country to demonstrate for government and corporate policies to end environmental degradation and promote a healthy and sustainable environment.
Continue Reading How Will COVID-19 Affect Corporate Sustainability Efforts – Virtual Earth Day

EPA on April 14 expanded its formal relaxation of certain FIFRA requirements for pesticides listed on EPA’s “List N” of products expected to be effective against the coronavirus.  This expansion builds on EPA’s March 30 iteration of this temporary policy, which this blog previously discussed.
Continue Reading EPA Expands Flexibilities for Manufacturers of “List N” Disinfectants for Use Against Coronavirus

In guidance to its enforcement staff released on April 13, OSHA has re-emphasized the obligations of employers, particularly in the healthcare industry, to ensure workplace health and safety and to report illnesses and deaths relating to COVID-19 notwithstanding the pandemic.  The guidance also recognizes shortages of N-95 masks and other PPE and other practical considerations that OSHA will take into account in determining whether to bring enforcement actions.
Continue Reading OSHA Issues Interim Enforcement Guidance for COVID-19