TSCA, as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA)
, requires EPA to evaluate the risks of chemicals on the TSCA inventory.
The law also directs EPA to take expedited action to address the risks of some specific substances that had been identified in a previous TSCA Work Plan. These include persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals that EPA believes pose a high or moderate risk to human health of the environment.
EPA recently completed risk evaluations and established new regulatory management programs for five PBT chemical substances. For many of these chemicals, EPA will prohibit all
manufacture, import, processing, and distribution in commerce.
All five Final Rules take effect on February 5, 2021.
The five PBT chemicals for which EPA issued new rules are:
- Pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP)
- Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD)
- Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE)
- Phenol, Isopropylated Phosphate 3:1 (PIP 3:1)
- 2, 4, 6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2, 4, 6-TTBP)
The five new rulemakings illustrate EPA’s broad authority under TSCA to restrict how chemicals are made and used in order to protect human health and the environment. Read on for details about new restrictions EPA has put in place for these chemicals.
Do you know your facility's responsibilities for chemical management, notification, and reporting under TSCA? The TSCA Regulations Online Course covers what you need to know to make informed decisions about compliance.
EPA will prohibit all
manufacture, import, processing, and distribution in commerce of PCTP and PCTP containing products or articles for any use, unless PCTP concentrations are at or below 1% by weight.
Pentachlorothiophenol or PCTP (CASRN 133-49-3) is used in rubber manufacturing, including as an ingredient in the rubber core of golf balls.
PCTP Final Rule. 1/6/21.
This Final Rule:
- Prohibits the distribution in commerce of 2,4,6-TTBP and products containing 2,4,6-TTBP at concentrations above 0.3 percent in any container with a volume less than 35 gallons for any use.
- Prohibits the processing and distribution in commerce of 2,4,6-TTBP and products containing 2,4,6-TTBP in concentrations above 0.3 percent by weight for use as an oil lubricant or additive, regardless of container size.
2,4,6-TTBP is used as an intermediate/reactant in chemical processing, to treat fuel in refineries and fuel facilities, in motor vehicle and machinery maintenance and repair, and as a liquid lubricant and grease additive.
2,4,6-TTBP Final Rule, 1/6/21
Phenol, isopropylated Phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1))
This Final Rule:
- Prohibits processing and distribution in commerce of PIP (3:1) and products that contain it, with specific exclusions.
- Prohibits the release of PIP 3:1 to water during manufacturing, processing, or distribution
- Requires commercial users to follow existing regulations and best practices to release to the water during use.
The rule also includes notification and recordkeeping requirements for persons who manufacture the chemical, process it, or distribute it in commerce.
PIP (3:1) (CASRN 68937-41-7) is a versatile chemical. It can be used as a plasticizer, a flame retardant, or an anti-wear additive or an anti-compressibility additive. It is used for various purposes in hydraulic fluids, lubricants, industrial coatings, adhesives, sealants, and plastic articles.
PIP (3:1) Final Rule, 1/6/21
Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DecaBDE)
The Final Rule for decaBDE prohibits all
manufacture, import, processing, and distribution in commerce of decaBDE and products or articles containing decaBDE, with some exclusions.
DecaBDE is a flame retardant. It is used in plastic enclosures for TVs, computers, audio and video equipment, textiles, upholstered articles, wires and cables, and more.
A handful of states already ban decaBDE, including Washington, Maine, Oregon, Vermont, and Maryland. The largest commercial producers and suppliers of decaBDE reached an agreement with EPA
in 2009 to phase out use of the chemical by the end of 2013.
DecaBDE Final Rule, 1/6/21
This Final Rule prohibits all
manufacture, import, processing, and distribution in commerce of HCBD and HCBD containing products or articles.
EPA notes that the production of chlorinated solvents produces HCBD as a byproduct, and that a “very limited subset of that byproduct” will be distributed in commerce for burning as waste fuel.
A halogenated aliphatic hydrocarbon, HCBD is produced as a byproduct during the manufacture of other chemicals, including some for which EPA recently completed risk evaluations—PCE
, and Carbon Tetrachloride
HCBD Final Rule, 1/6/21.
Note: Don’t confuse HCBD with hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). HBCD is used as a flame retardant in building materials, recycled plastics, and car parts and was among the first ten chemicals to undergo TSCA risk evaluation. A Final Risk Evaluation for HBCD was released in September 2020.
Ongoing TSCA Chemical Risk Evaluations
Under LCSA, EPA is required to evaluate the risks of the more than 40,000 active chemicals
on the TSCA inventory. When EPA’s risk evaluations determine that unreasonable risk to the environment, workers, or the public, EPA must address these risks with new regulations.
EPA has now completed ten chemical risk evaluations, many of which uncovered unreasonable risks that EPA must address with regulations within two years. Chemicals for which EPA has completed risk evaluations so far include methylene chloride, NMP, TCE, PCE, chrysolite asbestos, and 1-bromopropane.
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