EPA Proposes Regulation of Designated PBT Chemical Substances


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On June 21, 2019 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a pre-publication copy of a proposed rule under section 6(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) covering five chemical substances designated as persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT).  The substances are:

(*) Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE)

(*)Phenol, isopropylated, phosphate (3:1) or PIP (3:1)

(*) 2,4,6-tri-tert-butylphenol (2,4,6-TTBP)

(*) Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD); and

(*) Pentachlorobenzenethiol (PCTP).

Projected to be final by December 2020 (and take effect 60 days post-finalization) the rule would ban the manufacture, import, processing and distribution in U.S. commerce for many uses of four of the substances and would not regulate the fifth substance. EPA will seek public comment on the proposal for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

Section 6(h) mandates that EPA take expedited action on substances for which the Agency has a reasonable basis to conclude are toxic, and that with respect to persistence and bioaccumulation, score high for one and either high or moderate for the other (pursuant to EPA’s 2012 TSCA “Work Plan”), and for which exposure is likely under the conditions of use.  The statute dictates that EPA reduce exposures to these substances to the “extent practicable,” a phrase being broadly defined in this context. 

A substance-by-substance summary follows.

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