Mike Rogge

Environmentalist lawsuit against OEHHA rejected

By Mike Rogge

Capitol Update, July 2, 2015 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation filed suit against California‘s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) on January 13th in an attempt to require OEHHA to rescind the current safe harbor level for lead, which is 0.5 micrograms per day adopted in 1989. Mateel believes there should not be a threshold for lead exposure - any detectable amount of lead should be a violation.

According to Inside CalEPA, “Mateel is a legal organizationthat has filed thousands of notices to sue companies under Prop. 65 for alleged violations.”

Safe harbor levels, which include No Significant Risk Levels (NSRLs) for cancer-causing chemicals and Maximum Allowable Dose Levels (MADLs) for chemicals causing reproductive toxicity, have been established for many of the chemicals listed under Proposition 65. Safe harbor levels represent a threshold below which adverse human health effects are not expected to occur. Exposure levels and discharges to drinking water sources that are below the safe harbor levels are exempt from the requirements of Proposition 65.

On June 10th, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carvill issued a tentative decision dismissing Mateel’s lawsuit agreeing with OEHHA that a three-year statute of limitations barred the challenge and that OEHHA’s administrative actions in recent years do not restart the statute of limitations. During the hearing, the court asked for additional briefing on a technical non-substantive issue. A final ruling is expected this week and the new briefing is not expected to change the court's tentative ruling.

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