Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that five chemicals will be subject to expedited action under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which overhauls the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The affected chemicals and their uses, as described by EPA, are:
- Decabromodiphenyl ethers (DecaBDE), used as a flame retardant in textiles, plastics and polyurethane foam;
- Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), used in the manufacture of rubber compounds and lubricants and as a solvent;
- Pentachlorothio-phenol (PCTP), used as an agent to make rubber more pliable in industrial uses;
- Tris (4-isopropylphenyl) phosphate, used as a flame retardant in consumer products and other industrial uses; and
- 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl)phenol, used as a fuel, oil, gasoline or lubricant additive.
Last month, we wrote that as required by the Lautenberg Act, EPA would fast-track the regulation of certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals unless manufacturers nominated them for risk evaluation by September 19. Two of the seven PBT chemicals, which are used in fragrance mixtures, Ethanone, 1-(1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8-octahydro-2,3,5,5-tetramethyl-2-naphthalenyl) and Ethanone, 1-(1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8-octahydro-2,3,8,8-tetramethyl-2-naphthalenyl), were nominated for risk assessment.
Under the Lautenberg Act, EPA must skip conducting risk assessments for these five chemicals and take expedited action to reduce exposure to the extent practicable. The agency will first determine “where these chemicals are used and how people are exposed to them” before proposing limitations on use. According to agency guidance, EPA may restrict the chemicals in one or more of the following ways:
- Prohibit or otherwise restrict manufacturing, processing, or distribution in commerce.
- Prohibit or otherwise restrict manufacturing, processing, or distribution in commerce for particular uses or for uses in excess of a specified concentration.
- Require minimum warning labels and instructions.
- Require record keeping or testing.
- Prohibit or regulate any manner or method of commercial use or disposal.
- Direct manufacturers and processors to notify distributors and the public and replace or repurchase chemicals substances or mixtures.
EPA must propose expedited actions for these chemicals by June 22, 2019, and final rules must be issued within the following 18 months.