The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is subjecting 35 chemicals to additional government scrutiny. The agency issued direct final rules last month mandating that chemical manufacturers, petroleum refineries and others inform the agency before using the substances. The significant new use rules establish a 90-day advance notification requirement for companies planning to import, manufacture or process the 35 chemicals. The list includes 14 substances that are already deemed a heightened health and environmental risk under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
The EPA said it wants to review data associated with any proposed new use of the chemicals to make sure the process is safe. The agency will evaluate potentially dangerous exposure to humans and the environment during manufacturing, processing and importing, using detailed information submitted by the companies planning to use the chemicals. The rule provides:
Receipt of such notices allows EPA to assess risks that may be presented by the intended uses and, if appropriate, to regulate the proposed use before it occurs.
Chemicals covered by the final rule include industrial adhesives, conductive adhesives used in the electronics industry, additives for heat transfer in electronic devices, anti-wear additives for greases and oils, rubber additives and catalysts supporting chemical manufacturing. The rule also applies to chemicals used in wood, plastic and automotive paint material and seat-heaters, as well as chemicals used as electron emitters for lighting and X-ray sources.
The health concerns that the EPA is worried about for these chemicals include irritation to skin, eyes, lungs, mucous membranes, and lung toxicity if inhaled. Water contamination leads the list of the EPA’s environmental concerns surrounding these chemicals. The rule, published in the Federal Register on Feb. 11 will take effect 60 days after that date. If the EPA receives a notice of intent to submit adverse or critical comments within 30 days of the publication date, the agency will withdraw the direct final rule.
According to the EPA, the rule will primarily impact petroleum refineries, manufacturers, chemical processors and chemical importers. The rule covers all new activity using the chemicals that are not ongoing when the rule is published in the Federal Register. The EPA said:
Persons who begin commercial manufacture or processing of the chemical substances for a significant new use identified as of that date would have to cease any such activity upon the effective date of the final rule. To resume their activities, these persons would have to first comply with all applicable significant new use rule notification requirements and wait until the notice review period, including any extensions, expires.
If any of our readers need the premanufacture notification numbers for the 14 chemicals covered under TSCA and the other 21 chemicals they can contact Shanna Malone at Shanna.Malone@beasleyallen.com.
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