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EPA Issues Ban on Chemical Widely Used in Manufacturing

On Jan. 6, 2021, the EPA issued five rules pursuant to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TCSA) banning the use of certain chemicals determined to build up in the environment over time and therefore pose potential risks for exposed populations.
by Patrick McGibbon
Apr 26, 2021

On Jan. 6, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued five rules pursuant to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TCSA) banning the use of certain chemicals determined to build up in the environment over time and therefore pose potential risks for exposed populations. One of the chemicals, Phenol, isopropylated, phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)), is a substance found in a broad array of components that are used in electronics; robotics and manufacturing equipment; gaskets, clamps, tubes, harnesses, cables, and casings; and in many other applications for flame retardant purposes. 

Due to the short compliance window and because PIP (3:1) is not regulated elsewhere in the world, even identifying its potential presence in supply chains is a significant challenge. AMT is advising our members to take immediate action to:

  • Please read and understand the published rules and restrictions, and research their applicability to any relevant processes or products.

  • Engaging with your supply chain will help identify parts or materials that may contain listed substances. This knowledge is the first step to assessing risks, considering alternatives, and making decisions.

  • Document your due diligence, data-gathering, and decision-making process to demonstrate your company's commitment to compliance efforts. 

On March 8, 2021, the EPA announced a 60-day public comment period to collect additional input from affected parties. At the same time, the EPA issued a temporary 180-day "No Action Assurance," indicating that the agency will exercise its enforcement discretion regarding the prohibitions on the processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in articles and the articles to which PIP (3:1) has been added. After which, the ban is scheduled to go into effect. 

The EPA is encouraging businesses to provide comments on the final rule, including whether there are further exposure reductions that could be achieved, including exposure reductions for potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations and the environment; implementation issues associated with these final rules; and whether to consider additional or alternative measures or approaches. In particular, the EPA is seeking comment on specifics of recently raised issues regarding the compliance date for the prohibition on the processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in articles and PIP (3:1)-containing articles. 

The notice describing the public comment period and the No Action Assurance regarding PIP (3:1) may be found here

As described in the notice, in order for the EPA to amend the existing deadline, the Agency needs additional information regarding the impact of the deadline. Comments may be submitted at docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0202 at the Regulations.gov website until May 17, 2021. 

Please note that the No Action Assurance applies only to the March 8, 2021 compliance date for the prohibitions on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in articles and the articles to which PIP (3:1) has been added. The No Action Assurance does not apply to other requirements in the regulation on PIP (3:1) or to any other rulemakings related to the other four substances.

AMT continues to work with other trade associations and business organizations whose members are impacted by this ban and will provide updates to requirements or timelines. Currently, our focus is on acceptable allowances for legacy equipment and parts and on extending the compliance timeline past September. Please contact me or Amber Thomas at athomas@AMTonline.org for additional information.  

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Author
Patrick McGibbon
Chief Knowledge Officer
Patrick McGibbon was promoted to Chief Knowledge Officer for AMT in early 2019. As CKO, Pat is the association’s chief economist, ombudsman, and a mem ...
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