SAFEGUARDS | Consumer ProductsNO. 039/21
In January 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published five final rules to regulate five persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals under Section 6(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
These PBT chemicals are:
- 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2,4,6-TTBP, CAS 732-26-3)
- Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE, CAS 1163-19-5)
- Phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP 3:1, CAS 68937-41-7)
- Pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP, CAS 133-49-3)
- Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD, CAS 87-68-3)
These five final rules were to be implemented in phases, starting March 8, 2021 (SafeGuardS 19/21).
On March 16, 2021, the EPA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (86 FR 14398) announcing a 60-day public comment period for additional public input on the aforementioned five final rules for five PBT chemicals. This notice complements the agency’s news release of March 8, 2021 ‘Seeking public comment on protecting human health and the environment from PBT chemicals’.
The comment period is for the public to provide new input on:
- Whether there are further exposure reductions that could be achieved, including exposures potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations, and the environment
- Implementation issues relating to these final rules
- Whether to consider additional or alternative measures or approaches
In particular, the EPA is seeking comments on newly raised issues in relation to the compliance date for the prohibitions on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in articles, and PIP (3:1)-containing articles as it could impact articles used in a variety of electronics, from cell phones, to robotics used in to manufacture of semiconductors, to equipment used to move COVID-19 vaccines and keep them at the appropriate temperature. To ensure that there is no interruption in the supply chain of these articles while the agency continues to gather information required to best inform subsequent regulatory efforts and allow the issuance of a final action to extend the March 8, 2021, compliance date as necessary, the EPA has published a temporary 180-day ‘No Action Assurance’ for exercising its enforcement discretions on these prohibitions.
Comments on the latest EPA proposed rule will be accepted until May 17, 2021.
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