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Ohio right-to-know proposal under fire.

A proposed right-to-know law in Ohio has rallied the plastics industry there to band together in an effort to defeat the plan.

In late June, more than 100 processors and chemical company representatives calling themselves Ohioans for Responsible Health Information (ORHI) met in Columbus to discuss blocking the state's proposed toxic labeling initiative. They claim federal and state laws already exist for the control of toxic emissions and the Ohio statute would be superfluous.

Under the terms of the initiative, which will be on the Nov. 3 ballot and is said to be favored by 80% of the state's voters, businesses using one or more chemicals the Ohio EPA designates as carcinogens or reproductive toxicants must label the products and mail exposure warnings to the public.

Modeled after California's five-year-old Proposition 65, the Ohio law is expected to initially list 500 chemicals requiring a warning. Among the chemicals affecting plastics are vinyl chloride monomer, heavy metals and toluene di-isocyanate. However, plastics industry watchdogs warn the initial roster could grow to 800 substances because of a provision allowing the addition of potential carcinogens and toxicants identified by federal agencies and research groups.

SPI and ORHI say their main objection to the law centers around a provision requiring businesses to conduct risk assessments upon request to determine if a plant's emissions pose a local health threat. According to Jerome Heckman, SPI general counsel, the law makes no provisions for trade secret protection as part of that assessment. SPI estimates each assessment could cost at least $5000.

Ohio processors fear that the higher costs resulting from this law will leave them unable to compete with processors in states with less restrictive guidelines. Opponents point to the high cost of mailings and the proposal's call for a 1|cent~/lb fee on generators of toxic waste that is expected to raise $3 million/yr for the law's enforcement.

Violators could face civil penalties of $2500 a day for each offense and criminal penalties of $10,000-$25,000 and/or 2-4 years imprisonment for reckless violation.
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Title Annotation:plastics industry band together to oppose plan
Author:Monks, Richard
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Aug 1, 1992
Words:342
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