As You Sow v. Mallinckrodt Group, Inc., et al.

Posted: 11/25/1996  browse the case archive

Chemical manufacturer and distributor Mallinckrodt, Inc. and several of its subsidiaries entered into a settlement agreement with private Proposition 65 enforcer and whistleblower As You Sow on November 25, 1996. The agreement was entered by the San Francisco County Superior Court and concluded the enforcement action instituted by AYS against Mallinckrodt after no public enforcer elected to prosecute the violations of Proposition 65 that are alleged in AYS's November 8, 1995, 60-Day Notice of Violation to Mallinckrodt. AYS alleged that Mallinckrodt violated Proposition 65 when it failed to provide health hazard warnings for chemicals sold in California that are known to cause cancer, reproductive harm, or birth defects, and that are listed pursuant to Proposition 65, including toluene, lead and cadmium.

Under the settlement, which covered more than one hundred chemicals distributed by Mallinckrodt and identified by AYS, the chemical maker was required to revise the MSDS included with the products to include health hazard warnings regarding the toxic effects of exposures to the listed chemicals, and to provide specific health hazard warning labels requested by AYS on the exterior or packaging of products sold in California. The revised MSDS and warning labels will be included with all Mallinckrodt products covered by the settlement beginning March 15, 1997 and May 15, 1997, respectively.

In addition to providing appropriate health hazard warnings, the settlement required Mallinckrodt to make settlement payments totaling $120,800, including a $50,000 payment to AYS in lieu of civil penalties that AYS will distribute to California nonprofit groups working to reduce consumer and workplace exposures to, and educate the public and workers about, chemicals that are known to cause cancer and reproductive harm or birth defects. The $24,000 civil penalty payment required by the settlement was allocated between the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment ($18,000) and private enforcer AYS ($4,000). The settlement also required Mallinckrodt to reimburse AYS for its reasonable fees and costs incurred in bringing, litigating, and negotiating a settlement of the private enforcement action in the public interest.

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