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March 3, 2009

SDA Responds to Lawsuit Regarding Product Safety

An activist group’s lawsuit in New York State against cleaning product manufacturers is unfounded, lacks legal standing and its claims are not supported by state law, according to The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA). Furthermore, the challenge ignores efforts by industry to offer more information than ever before about cleaning products and their ingredients, said SDA, which represents the U.S. cleaning products industry.

The association expressed disappointment that activist groups led by Earthjustice are using an arcane New York State regulation as a way to disparage cleaning product formulators whose products are used safely and effectively by millions of people every day. SDA said that the activists’ attempts to force disclosure of ingredient information under New York State law are not supported by state regulations.

“We believe that the activists are misinterpreting state law and that their threats are counterproductive,” said Michelle Radecki, SDA’s general counsel. “We have already unveiled a voluntary program that will provide more meaningful information on ingredients, in a more consistent, easy-to-understand format, that will help consumers make informed decisions about the products they use in and around their homes.”

The Consumer Product Ingredient Communication Initiative was unveiled in November 2008 by SDA, the Consumer Specialty Products Association and the Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association. This initiative provides different means to inform consumers about the ingredients in products: on the product label; on the manufacturers’, distributors’, or importers’ website; through a toll-free telephone number; or through some other non-electronic means.

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Special General Liability Session Planned for CSPA Mid-Year Meeting

Attendees at the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) 2009 Mid-Year Meeting this May in Chicago will have an opportunity to learn how to become shrewd managers of their general liability policies at the session, “Special insurance coverage issues—Opportunities for the informed and traps for the unwary,”a special session.

“Many people don’t fully understand the coverage limitations and exclusions in their standard policies or realize that special coverage enhancements are available for manufacturers of specialty chemical products,” said Chris Cathcart, president of CSPA and the Consumer Specialties Insurance (CSI) Company, Risk Retention Group.

The interactive session, which begins on May 6 at 11 a.m. will offer attendees a forum to discuss the standard conditions and exclusions contained in commercial general liability policies that limit or exclude coverage, and the availability of special endorsements to address coverage issues. If registered for the CSPA meeting, all are welcome and there is no additional charge to attend this session.

Presenters include Gerri Littleton, Hanna, Kremer & Tilghman Insurance, Inc. (HK&T), who has been the program administrator for CSI since 1999. HK&T provides a wide variety of insurance services on behalf of the CSI policyholders and their agents and brokers.

The session will also feature Jeff Altman, McKenna, Long & Aldridge LLP, Washington, DC, who serves as legal counsel to CSI. His firm acts as national claims counsel and litigation coordinator for CSI.

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