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James Votaw Cited in Bloomberg Law Article About EPA’s Flame Retardant Rule

Keller and Heckman Partner James Votaw was quoted in the Bloomberg Law article, “EPA’s Flame Retardant Rule Offers Chemical Lesson for Businesses.” The article discusses how an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule restricting industrial uses of a popular flame retardant is causing headaches for equipment manufacturers and demonstrating how the nation’s chemicals law can upend global supply chains.

The regulation, developed during the Trump administration, bans a host of uses of the compound that can be found in forklifts, tractors, electric keyboards, and electron microscopes, among other products. But soon after the Biden administration came into office, the EPA was besieged by industry pleas for help, so it took an unusual step – it announced in March that it wouldn’t enforce a key part of the regulation until September 2021, and it invited more comments on the final rule.

James noted that it takes time for companies to know whether their machine’s part contains the chemical. Companies often purchase wires, cables, and other “commodity” parts from different sources based on their price, and the specific chemicals in the same product sold by different suppliers can vary, he said.

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