The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued proposed significant new use rules (SNURs) for 17 chemicals, some of which are used to manufacture such products as electronics, batteries, rubber, plastics, inks, and lubricants. Noting that many of the chemicals may pose risks to human health or the environment, EPA’s plan would impose recordkeeping requirements and require a 90-day notification by those who intend to manufacture, import or process any of the chemicals for a designated significant new use so that the agency can evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, prohibit or limit the use. EPA requests comments by January 27, 2012.
The SNURs stipulate that manufacturers or users of these chemicals that do not comply with protective measures outlined in consent orders or premanufacture notices would be considered a new use requiring EPA notification. The proposed rule includes 15 substances already determined to present an unreasonable risk of injury to human health or the environment if manufacture, import, processing, distribution in commerce, use, and disposal are uncontrolled. They are subject to “risk-based” consent orders under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
More than a dozen of the 17 chemicals involve nanoscale components; they include “nanotubes” or “fullerene” in their chemical names. EPA’s plan identifies toxicity concerns for each chemical or group of chemicals, specific worker-protection equipment or other protections, and recommended health and safety tests. See Federal Register, December 28, 2011; BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter, December 30, 2011.