On January 6, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published new regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 6(h) to restrict the import and use of five persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals.
These chemicals include:
- PIP (3:1) (phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1), CAS 68937-41-7).
- DecaBDE (decabromodiphenyl ether, CAS 1163-19-5)
- 2,4,6 TTBP (2,4,6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol, CAS 732-26-3)
- HCBD (hexachlorobutadiene, CAS 87-68-3)
- PCTP (pentachlorothiophenol, CAS 133-49-3)
Here, the challenge is the extremely ambitious timeframe for affected companies set by the agency for implementation to review supply chains, inform customers of the presence of the restricted substances, and find alternatives to their use, among other things. For example, the new restrictions on manufacturers for PIP (3:1), HCBD and PCTP were originally scheduled to take effect as early as March 6, 2021. Due to numerous complaints from business owners, EPA granted a temporary 180-day "No Action Assurance" on March 8, 2021, suspending enforcement related to the ban on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) in articles until September 4, 2021. Nevertheless, the information requirements (downstream notification) on PIP (3:1) contained in articles remain in place as planned. Also, some of the other newly included substances have different deadlines, thresholds and exemptions. These nuances underscore the complexity that companies must grapple with to maintain compliance with TSCA requirements.
Additionally, the substances in question are so far only sporadically restricted in a few countries, e.g. (except DecaBDE) not part of RoHS/REACH/California Prop65, so there is usually no information on these substances in the material data available in companies so far.
Of the five substances listed, PIP (3:1) should have the greatest impact in many industries. For example, this phosphate flame retardant has replaced older, restricted brominated flame retardants and is often a required additive in thermoplastics and resins used to meet electrical safety and flammability standards. It is also commonly found in rubberized materials (e.g., gaskets) used in hydraulic and fuel applications.
There are few exceptions to the new TSCA requirements. In principle, companies that manufacture or distribute within the U.S. automatically fall within the scope. However, non-U.S. companies that supply U.S. companies have certainly noticed an increase in customer requests for data related to the new substance restrictions under TSCA.
If you have not already done so, you should immediately start gathering information within your own supply chain. Our experts will be happy to provide you with advice and support – just get in touch.