EPA Releases Proposed Rule to Regulate Toxic Chemicals Under Toxic Substances Control Act

Published On: November 29, 2023By Categories: Newsline

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a proposed rule on November 20 to further protect people from exposure, including through groundwater, to two chemicals that are toxic, remain in the environment for long periods of time, and accumulate in the body.

Both decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) and phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals that were subject to risk management rules under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The EPA’s proposed rule would impose workplace safety protections and restrict water releases.

In June 2020, NGWA was joined by eight other water associations in a letter to the EPA encouraging the agency to take a “holistic approach” and “proactively utilize TSCA, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and other existing authorities to protect drinking water supplies.” This further TSCA rule revision is a further step on that path.

For decaBDE, this new proposed rule would require that workers use personal protective equipment (PPE) for some activities involving decaBDE not subject to the 2021 prohibitions, and prohibit releases to water during manufacturing, processing, and distribution in commerce of decaBDE and decaBDE-containing products. It also requires entities intending to export decaBDE-containing wire and cable for nuclear power generation facilities to notify the EPA.

For PIP (3:1), the EPA proposes to further extend the compliance dates for some articles used in manufacturing equipment and the semiconductor industry.

The EPA has also proposed phasing out some uses of PIP (3:1) that were excluded from the prohibitions in the 2021 rule. For example, some uses of PIP (3:1) in lubricants and greases that were excluded from the prohibitions in the previous rule would be subject to a five-year phaseout under this proposed rule. The EPA is also proposing to exclude the processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in wire harnessing and electric circuit boards from prohibition.

Both decaBDE and PIP (3:1) have endpoints that include landfills that must have the required design that includes leachate collection, groundwater monitoring, and corrective action. Click here to read the EPA’s proposed rule.

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