Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a Washington, D.C. law firm providing chemical and chemical product stakeholders unparalleled experience, judgment, and excellence in matters relating to TSCA, and other global chemical management programs.

By Lynn L. Bergeson
 
On June 10, 2021, the Retail Industry Leaders Association’s (RILA) Retail Compliance Center (RCC) and Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), presented “TSCA - It Is Not What You May Think.” While the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has long been regarded as a law applying to chemical producers, reforms made in 2016 have drawn many retailers, product manufacturers, and other “article” manufacturers into TSCA’s reach. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than a recent final rule under Section 6(h) limiting or prohibiting the manufacture (including import), processing, and/or distribution in commerce of five persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals, including phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)). This complimentary webinar, intended for large and small retailers, product stewards, and professionals throughout the product supply chain, covered:

  • What TSCA is and why it matters to retailers;
  • What retailers need to know about their products;
  • What the PIP (3:1) case study signals about the potential reach of TSCA; and
  • What steps to take to prepare for new regulations.

A full recording of this webinar is available now, along with slides and detailed responses to the Q&A portion of the event.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
As reported in our January 6, 2021, blog item, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued final rules under Section 6(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for five persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals, including phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) (86 Fed. Reg. 894). The final rules limit or prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and/or distribution in commerce of the five PBTs, with certain exceptions. In accordance with Biden-Harris Administration Executive Orders and directives, as well as “[‌n]ewly-raised compliance issues” associated with the PIP (3:1) rule, EPA announced on March 8, 2021, that it would ask for additional public comment. EPA also issued a temporary 180-day “No Action Assurance” (NAA) indicating that the Agency will exercise its enforcement discretion regarding the prohibitions on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in articles, and the articles to which PIP (3:1) has been added.
 
Under the final rule, each person who manufactures PIP (3:1) for any use after March 8, 2021, must, prior to or concurrent with the shipment, notify persons to whom PIP (3:1) is shipped, in writing, of the prohibitions on processing, distribution, and releases to water. 40 C.F.R. § 751.407(e)(1). Each person who processes or distributes in commerce PIP (3:1) or PIP (3:1)-containing products for any use after July 6, 2021, must, prior to or concurrent with the shipment, notify persons to whom PIP (3:1) is shipped, in writing, of the prohibitions on processing, distribution, and releases to water. 40 C.F.R. § 751.407(e)(2). The final rule clarifies that the downstream notification requirement applies only to those scenarios where a product has an accompanying safety data sheet (SDS). EPA also included an alternative method of compliance for downstream notification. If a manufacturer, processor, or distributor chooses, they may include specified text on their label, instead of on their SDS.
 
EPA’s NAA applies only to the prohibitions on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in articles, and the articles to which PIP (3:1) has been added. It does not apply to the downstream notification requirements or to the downstream notification requirements for manufacturers that began March 9, 2021. Processors and distributors should review the regulations now to ensure that they are prepared to begin providing downstream notifications on July 7, 2021. Information regarding Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s TSCA services is available on our website.


 

By Christopher R. Blunck, Carla N. Hutton, and Lynn L. Bergeson
 
On June 11, 2021, the Office and Management and Budget released its “Spring 2021 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions” (Regulatory Agenda). It includes an entry for an interim final rule planned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entitled “Regulation of Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic Chemicals Under TSCA Section 6(h); Reconsideration and Extension of Certain Compliance Dates.” This action, planned for publication in September 2021, would be in follow-up to EPA’s March 16, 2021, proposed rule that sought additional public comment on final rules published on January 6, 2021, covering five persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals, i.e., decabromodiphenyl ether; 2,4,6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol; hexachlorobutadiene, pentachlorothiophenol; and phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)).
 
In the March 16, 2021, proposed rule, EPA stated that it sought additional public comment in “accordance with the January 21, 2021, Executive Order entitled “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis” and other Biden-Harris Administration Executive orders and other direction.” EPA stated also in the proposed rule that it is “aware of and plans to consider revisions in response to implementation issues that have been raised by a range of stakeholders” and that “[‌i]n particular, EPA is seeking comment on newly-raised issues associated with the March 8, 2021, compliance date in the PIP (3:1) rule for certain regulated articles.”
 
Concurrent with EPA’s announcement on March 8, 2021, of the March 16, 2021, proposed rule that opened the PBT rules for comment, EPA issued a temporary 180-day “No Action Assurance” (NAA) indicating that EPA would exercise its enforcement discretion regarding the prohibitions on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in articles, and the articles to which PIP (3:1) has been added. EPA stated that it “is taking this [NAA] action to ensure that the supply chain of these important articles is not interrupted while EPA continues to collect the information needed to best inform subsequent regulatory efforts and allow for the issuance of a final agency action to extend the March 8, 2021, compliance date as necessary.” EPA stated that the NAA “is to remain in effect until either (1) 11:59 PM ET, September 4, 2021, or (2) the effective date of a final action addressing the compliance date for the prohibition on processing and distributing in commerce of PIP (3:1); including in PIP (3:1)-containing articles, whichever occurs earlier.”
 
The Regulatory Agenda entry for the interim final rule states that EPA intends to address compliance date issues in the action, and that if it “determines to further amend the recent final [PBT] rules, EPA will address those amendments in one or more future Regulatory Agenda entries.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on March 8, 2021, that “in accordance with Biden-Harris Administration executive orders and directives,” it is asking for additional public input on five final rules for persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals issued on January 6, 2021, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  EPA states that as a first step in its efforts to review these rules immediately, EPA is opening a 60-day comment period for the public to provide new 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; and
  • Whether to consider additional or alternative measures or approaches.

EPA states that it will use the feedback received during the comment period to determine the best path forward, which could include amending the final rules to include additional or alternative exposure reduction measures or extending compliance dates for certain regulated products and articles.  Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will accept public comments for 60 days.
 
Stakeholders recently informed EPA that the prohibition on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) could impact articles used in a wide variety of electronics, from cell phones, to robotics used to manufacture semiconductors, to equipment used to move COVID-19 vaccines and keep them at the appropriate temperature.  EPA states that stakeholders “note that the complexity of international supply chains makes locating the presence of, and finding alternatives to, PIP (3:1) in components challenging.”  According to EPA, stakeholders assert that an extension to the compliance deadline is necessary to avoid significant disruption to the supply chain for a wide variety of articles.  EPA states that it was not its intent during the development of the final rule to have such a broad disruptive impact.  Thus, EPA “is also announcing its expectation that this specific issue will be addressed as part of the broader re-examination of these rules.”  EPA “intends to extend compliance dates as necessary for the prohibitions on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in some articles, and some of the articles to which PIP (3:1) has been added.”
 
EPA states that for these same reasons, it is issuing a temporary 180-day “No Action Assurance” indicating that the agency will exercise its enforcement discretion regarding the prohibitions on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in articles, and the articles to which PIP (3:1) has been added.  EPA “is taking this action to ensure that the supply chain of these important articles is not interrupted while EPA continues to collect the information needed to best inform subsequent regulatory efforts and allow for the issuance of a final agency action to extend the March 8, 2021, compliance date as necessary.”