On June 1, 2007, a new set of regulations governing nearly all chemical substances took effect throughout the EU's twenty-seven member states. The primary goal of the legislation, called REACH, is to improve the protection of human health and the environment from risks posed by toxic chemical exposure. No equivalent federal legislation exists in the United States. As a result, chemicals that the EU will soon ban or restrict under REACH will continue to enter American homes and workplaces. This Note explores how private law—particularly in the form of toxic tort litigation—may fill the gap in U.S. chemicals regulation, and induce manufacturers to produce safer products for U.S. consumption. Focusing on the potential of REACH to influence the establishment of general causation in toxic tort litigation, it analyzes whether and to what extent REACH data is likely to assist toxic tort plaintiffs in U.S. federal courts. The Note concludes that, although REACH is likely to provide plaintiffs with additional evidentiary support of general causation in some instances, it seems unlikely that REACH data alone will be sufficient to support causation claims at the federal level.
Leslie E. Kersey,
Trans-Atlantic Reach: The Potential Impact of the European Union's New Chemical Regulations on Proof of Causation in U.S. Federal Courts,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.