TSCA Rules for MCL Enforced By DOJ

Posted on 10/14/2023 by Nick Waldron

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the complaint against an e-commerce platform for allegedly playing a part in the sale of “hundreds of thousands of products” in violation of several environmental acts.

The Agencies (DOJ and EPA) aim to prevent the platform from violating these laws in the future, seeking civil penalties and a ruling that the platform violated the Methylene Chloride Rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in addition to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and the Clean Air Act (CAA).

Regulating Methylene Chloride Under TSCA

The complaint alleges that the platform has distributed over 5,600 items in violation of TSCA’s Methylene Chloride Rule which prohibits retailers, including e-commerce, from distributing products containing methylene chloride for paint and coating removal.

The rule also prohibits the manufacturing, importing, and processing of methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal.

Methylene chloride will soon enough be regulated even more stringently. Back in May, EPA proposed the following restrictions for the chemical:

  • Prohibit manufacture, processing, and distribution for consumer use,
  • Prohibit most industrial and commercial uses,
  • Require new worker protections and exposure monitoring, and
  • Add recordkeeping and notification requirements for several conditions of use.

This proposed rule provides “certain time-limited exemptions from requirements for uses of methylene chloride that would otherwise significantly disrupt national security and critical infrastructure.

The rule’s public comment period closed on July 3, 2023.

Get updates on all new TSCA Sec. 6 chemical management rules.

Additional Allegations

The complaint alleges that the platform has unlawfully distributed or sold at least 23,000 unregistered, misbranded, and restricted use pesticides in violation of FIFRA, including sales in direct violation of a stop sale order. Examples include a banned high toxicity insecticide, restricted use pesticides, and products fraudulently claiming to protect consumers against specific viruses.

DOJ & EPA also allege that the platform sold, offered for sale, or caused the sale of more than 343,000 aftermarket “defeat devices” that are banned by CAA.

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