Federal agencies Chemical Manufacturing

EPA requests comment on PBT chemicals


Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency, in response to recent Executive Orders and directives from the Biden administration, is seeking public comment on final rules for five persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals issued Jan. 6 under requirements of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.

According to a notice published in the March 16 Federal Register, EPA will review the rules, which went into effect in February, to determine “whether they are consistent with the administration policy to limit exposure to dangerous chemicals” as well as “whether and how these rules should be revised.”

The chemicals are:

  • Decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) – a flame retardant used in textiles, plastics and polyurethane foam
  • Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) – used in the manufacturing of rubber compounds and lubricants, and as a solvent
  • Pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP) – an agent used to make industrial rubber more pliable
  • Tris (4-isopropylphenyl) phosphate – used as a flame retardant in consumer products and other industrial uses
  • 2,4,6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol – a fuel, oil, gasoline or lubricant additive

PBT chemicals can linger in the environment for extended periods of time while accumulating in the tissues of exposed organisms.

EPA requests input on:

  • Whether the rules sufficiently reduce exposure to these chemicals, including exposures to potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations and the environment.
  • Newly raised compliance issues associated with the final rule on phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)), including the compliance dates for certain regulated articles.
  • Whether to consider additional or alternative measures or approaches.

“These rules are intended to provide critical health protections for Americans, including children, workers, other potentially at-risk groups and the environment,” Michal Freedhoff, acting assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a press release. “Reexamining these rules under the Biden-Harris administration and making any necessary changes to them will ensure we’re delivering on the promise to protect human health and the environment by reducing exposure to toxic chemicals.”

The deadline to comment is May 17.

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