Industry opposes proposed rule on nonylphenols and nonylphenol ethoxylates.

Companies and trade groups representing industries ranging from automakers to cleaning products have pushed back against an EPA proposal that would restrict certain chemicals widely used in industrial applications and consumer products such as detergents, cosmetics, paints, and sealants. As Bloomberg BNA reports, industry commenters argue that their ongoing uses of the chemicals preclude EPA from issuing the proposed rule. The commenters also criticize EPA’s nomenclature convention, which they contend is not generally used or understood, as well as EPA’s reliance on Chemical Data Reporting Rule (CDR) results as a basis for the rulemaking.

In late September, we wrote that EPA released its proposed Significant New Use Rule (SNUR), under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), for nonylphenols (NPs) and nonyphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). EPA later extended the comments period for the proposed rule by 45 days, to January 15, 2015.

The proposed SNUR identifies by CAS number 13 “linear NPs and NPEs” for which any use is a significant new use, as well as two branched NPs, for which any use besides “as an intermediate or use as an epoxy cure catalyst” is a significant new use. However, commenters argue that “the global industry practice is to use CAS names” without distinguishing between “branched” or “linear” forms. The American Chemistry Council contends that EPA has not provided sufficient explanation and guidance on its “poorly-understood” naming convention regarding whether an alkyl chain is linear or branched.

Many commenters were highly critical of EPA’s method of evaluating whether the CAS numbers listed in the proposed SNUR were in commerce, stating that many were identified in ongoing uses and included in a variety of public databases. Various commenters also criticized EPA for using the proposed SNUR as a method of collecting use information.

Other comments reported specific ongoing uses of certain chemical substances by Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) Number.

The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board also weighed in to request that EPA not exempt articles from this SNUR, particularly toilet paper, which “has the potential to be a major source of pollution for aquatic resources receiving treated or untreated wastewater discharges.”