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New Oregon Deca Ban Covers Plastic Pallets
State health guidelines suggest rules cover plastic pallets using decaBDE. Ban raises questions about iGPS pallets in the state.

By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 2/11/2011

Shipping into Oregon on pallets containing DecaBDE (deca) may soon become a major problem for the supply chain. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) recently issued a directive to help manufacturers and distributors comply with a new ban that went into effect this year.

Deca is one of the most common polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a controversial group of fire retardants that have raised concerns for some public health experts. In 2009, Oregon passed PBDE flame retardant legislation (Senate Bill 596) that phased out the use of PBDEs starting January 1, 2011. Lawmakers decided to ban the chemicals and their use in products due to public health concerns.

The 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.

The ban applies to any product, except a few notable exceptions, that contain more than one tenth of one percent of PBDE's. iGPS admitted in public documents that its pallet contains about 4 lbs. of the material. Specifically, OHA stated that the ban applies to plastic shipping pallets.

The OHA also clarified that the “law provides no 'grandfather' provision or any phase-in of compliance.” This is important because in earlier bans in other states, iGPS had worked with state governments to provide exemptions for existing pallet inventories.

It is not clear when Oregon intends on enforcing the ban. Currently, OHA has issued a 60-day comment period before promulgating the final rule to implement the statute. OHA has interpreted the ban to outlaw shipping or otherwise transferring a product containing PBDEs to a manufacturer, distributor, retailer, or consumer in Oregon. Additionally, OHA prohibits the holding of a product after its introduction into commerce.

The Pallet Enterprise has contacted both OHA and iGPS seeking comment and will have more information when it becomes available. It is unclear at this time exactly how the law will be enforced. But companies and individuals that ship on affected pallets may be subject to a temporary or permanent injunction, and may be criminally liable for a Class A or Class B misdemeanor. In addition, the OHA could issue civil penalties for violations of the law.

The new law provides exemptions for motor vehicles, airplanes, some transportation equipment, unused office furniture sold to a discount distributor, replacement parts already in commerce or existing inventories before the ban took effect, pesticides, scientific laboratory substances, food, and drugs. The ban also excludes previously used goods sold in second hand or consignment stores or by a private party.

To view the entire guidelines, visit http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/envtox/docs/PBDEGuidance.Final.pdf








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