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USA: EPA Bans Five PBT Chemicals

JANUARY 2021 - ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS, HARDLINES, SOFTLINES, TOYS AND CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final rules1 under Section 6(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for five Persistent, Bio-accumulative and Toxic (PBT) chemicals. It is to reduce the risk of exposure to humans and the environment. This rule will be effective from 5 February 2021. 

The final rules limit or prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and/or distribution in commerce for the following chemicals:

  • decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE) (CAS No. 1163–19–5)
  • phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) (CAS No. 68937–41–7)
  • 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2,4,6-TTBP) (CAS No. 732-26-3)
  • hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) (CAS No.87–68–3)
  • pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP) (CAS No.133-49-3)

Moreover, manufacturers, processors and distributors of the above chemicals or articles containing such chemicals must maintain ordinary business records related to compliance with the prohibitions, restrictions after 8 March 2021. These records should be maintained for three years from the date that the record is generated. The brief summary2 of the restriction of these chemicals can be found in the below tables. 

This TSCA Section 6(h) requires EPA to take regulatory actions to address the risk from certain PBT chemicals. EPA identified five PBT chemicals in 2016 and issued proposed rules in 2019. EPA is also working on other chemicals3 to reduce or eliminate unreasonable risks. 

Table A. Brief summary of DecaBDE requirement

Parameter Details
Scope
Prohibition Date of application
Manufacturing and processing of decaBDE or decaBDE-containing products or articles After 8 March 2021
Distribution in commerce of decaBDE or decaBDE-containing products or articles After 6 January 2022
Note: Certain products (e.g. curtains, aerospace vehicles, vehicles, plastic shipping pallets, etc.) have different effective dates.
Uses Used as a flame retardant in high impact polystyrene-based products, rubber and plastic e.g. electrical and electronic equipment, textiles and upholstered articles, wire and cables for communication, aerospace and automotive vehicles, including replacement parts for aircraft and cars.
Limit Not used

Table B. Brief summary of PIP (3:1) requirement

Parameter Details
Scope
Prohibition Date of application
Processing and distributing in commerce of PIP (3:1), including in PIP(3:1) - containing products or articles After 8 March 2021
Note: Certain products (e.g. adhesives, sealants, photo printing articles) have different effective dates)
Uses Used as a plasticizer, a flame retardant, an anti-wear additive, or an anti-compressibility additive in hydraulic fluid, lubricating oils, lubricants and greases, various industrial coatings, adhesives, sealants, and plastic articles.
Limit Not used

Table C.  Brief summary of 2,4,6-TTBP requirement

Parameter Details
Scope
Prohibition Date of application
Distribution in commerce of 2,4,6-TTBP and products containing 2,4,6-TTBP After 6 January 2026
Uses Used as an intermediate/reactant in processing and is incorporated into formulations destined for fuel and fuel-related additives. It can be used as a fuel additive or fuel injector cleaner by consumers and small commercial operations (e.g. automotive repair shops, marinas).
Limit ≤ 0.3% by weight in any container with a volume of less than 35 gallons

Table D. Brief summary of HCBD requirement 

Parameter Details
Scope
Prohibition Date of application
Manufacturing, processing and distribution in commerce of HCBD and HCBD-containing products or articles After 8 March 2021
Uses As a halogenated aliphatic hydrocarbon that is produced as a by-product during the manufacture of chlorinated hydrocarbons.
Limit Not used

Table E. Brief summary of PCTP requirement

Parameter Details
Scope
Prohibition Date of application
Manufacturing and processing of PCTP or PCTP-containing products or articles After 8 March 2021
Distribution in commerce of PCTP or PCTP-containing products or articles After 6 January 2022
Uses Used to make rubber more pliable in industrial uses but no consumer uses.
Limit ≤ 1% by weight

Remarks:

  • Articles mean manufactured items with specific sharp and function in general;
  • Products refer to the chemical substances, mixture containing the chemical substance, or any object that contains the chemical substance or mixture containing the chemical substance that is not an article.

 

[1]  Federal Register of 6 January 2021

[2]  Uses and Risk Management for Five PBT Chemicals under TSCA section 6(h)

[3]  Risk Management for Existing Chemicals under TSCA

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