The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its intention to begin a new rulemaking process, with the goal of proposing new rules for five persistent, bioaccumulate, and toxic (PBT) chemicals that are currently subject to final risk management rules under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

 EPA is taking action to extend the compliance dates for the prohibitions on processing and distribution and the associated recordkeeping requirement of one of these PBT chemicals, phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1))

PBT Chemicals: New Regulations  

* TSCA mandates the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to act quickly on specific PBT compounds in order to limit exposure and safeguard human health and the environment. Final risk management regulations prohibiting the use of five PBT compounds were issued by the previous Administration in January 2021 and entered into effect in February 2021, in accordance with that requirement

* In the spring of 2023, the EPA plans to publish a proposal for a new separate regulation on all five PBT compounds. With the exception of PIP(3:1) , which is explained below, the present provisions of the January 2021 risk management regulations remain in force while EPA works on this new regulatory endeavor.

Extension of the PIP (3:1) Compliance Date  

* To alleviate the problems inadvertently generated by the initial relevant compliance dates in the January 2021 final rule, EPA is extending some PIP (3:1) compliance deadlines to March 8, 2022. This is to ensure that supply chains for important consumer and commercial items are not interrupted. The EPA will also release a notice of proposed regulation soon, which, if finalized, will stretch the compliance deadlines even further

* Stakeholders informed EPA that the prohibition on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) could impact articles used in a wide variety of goods and noted that the complexity of international supply chains makes locating the presence of, and finding alternatives to, PIP (3:1) in components challenging

* To keep supply chains running smoothly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final rule extending the stated compliance deadlines for PIP (3:1) items until March 8, 2022. EPA will soon release a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking public comment on extending the compliance date for PIP (3:1) articles to correspond with specific comments received and the anticipated timeframe for the forthcoming rulemaking on PBT compounds previously indicated

* EPA intends to re-evaluate the current rules for PIP (3:1) and the other PBTs as part of the separate rulemaking on all five PBT chemicals scheduled for 2023, as well as provide a description of the specific types of information the Agency will require to support any additional extensions to the compliance dates

* Industry commenters will be expected to provide documentation of the specific uses of PIP (3:1) in articles throughout their supply chains, documentation of concrete steps taken to identify, test, and qualify substitutes for those uses, documentation of specific certifications that would need to be updated, and an estimate of the time required. EPA is unlikely to extend the compliance dates again without more detailed information from suppliers

* Articles containing PIP (3:1) that are covered by the short-term compliance date extension include cellular phones, laptop computers, and other electronic gadgets. They also contain items that might be utilised in industrial and commercial equipment in a variety of industries, such as transportation, life sciences, and semiconductor manufacturing, as well as consumer and commercial goods

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