Oregon Bans DecaBDE in Pallets

Do the plastic pallets you use contain decabrominated diphenyl ether?

Decabrominated diphenyl ether (often referred to as DecaBDE or deca) is one of a group of commonly used "brominated flame retardants." These polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have raised concerns for public health experts because animal studies have shown that PBDEs can affect brain development and function, disrupt endocrine, reproductive and immune systems and possibly cause cancer.

Now, Oregon has joined other states (Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, Illinois, Washington and Massachusetts) in banning some or all PBDEs.

Effective January 1, 2011, it is unlawful for any person to: 1) introduce into commerce; or 2) deliver for introduction into commerce in the state of Oregon any product containing more than 0.10% by mass of deca.

According to Pallet Enterprise, this ban could have a major impact on Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS) and its customers, because the second generation iGPS pallet uses deca to improve the fire rating of its design.

Back in 2009, Oregon passed PBDE flame retardant legislation (Senate Bill 596) that phased out the use of PBDEs starting this year. And, while there are notable exemptions or exclusions to the law, it is also worth noting that the law provides no "grandfather" provision or any phase-in of compliance. (See policy guidance from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) here.)

Pallet Enterprise says it's unclear when or how Oregon intends on enforcing the ban. The OHA has issued a 60-day comment period, but the policy guidance states that violators may be subject to a temporary or permanent injunction, and may be criminally liable for a Class A or Class B misdemeanor. In addition, OHA could issue civil penalties for violations of the law.

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