EPA rules to limit new uses of potentially harmful chemicals
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed this week that companies be required to report all new uses, including in domestic or imported products, of five groups of potentially harmful chemicals: polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), benzidine dyes, a short chain chlorinated paraffin, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and phthalate di-n-pentyl phthalate (DnPP).
These chemicals are used in a range of consumer products and industrial applications, including paints, printing inks, pigments and dyes in textiles, flame retardants in flexible foams and plasticizers.
The proposed regulatory actions are known as significant new use rules (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The proposed rules would require that anyone who intends to manufacture, import or process any of the chemicals for an activity that is designated as a significant new use to submit a notification to EPA at least 90 days before beginning the activity.
“Although a number of these chemicals are no longer manufactured or used in the U.S. they can still be imported in consumer goods or for use in products. Today’s proposed actions will ensure that EPA has an opportunity to review new uses of the chemicals, whether they are domestically produced or imported, and if warranted, take action to prohibit or limit the activity before human health or environmental effects can occur,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “These actions also signal EPA’s ongoing commitment to the American people that the agency is taking significant steps to make sure that the chemicals manufactured and used in this country are safe.”