On Tuesday July 11, 2011, EPA announced a proposed Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) under section 5(a)(2) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 14 chemicals classified as glymes. The proposed SNUR requires entities that intend to manufacture, import, or process these chemicals for “a significant new use”—as defined the proposed rule—to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. Upon receiving such notification, EPA will evaluate the potential risks of the new use, and can, if necessary, limit or prohibit the use.

This SNUR was spurred by Risk Based Prioritization (RBP) documents on monoglyme and diglyme, which raised concern about reproductive and/or developmental toxicity. The SNUR is an effort to evaluate and protect consumers from possible adverse health impacts from monoglyme, diglyme and ethylglyme. Monoglyme is used primarily as an industrial solvent, a process aid, and a component of lithium batteries and industrial coatings. Diglyme is used as a reaction solvent, in applications in the coating industry, and in photolithography for semiconductor chip manufacturing. It is also used in sealants, adhesives, automotive care products, paints, and coatings. Therefore, the proposed SNUR could have significant implications for companies involved with paints and coatings, household batteries, printing ink, sealants, adhesives, and motor vehicles.

Not only are a broad array of industries covered under the proposed SNUR, the scope of covered activities is extensive. Of the 14 glymes covered, 12 currently have industrial or consumer uses. Although some existing uses are excluded, generally the manufacture, import, or processing of these 12 glymes for “any use in a consumer product” constitutes a significant new use, requiring notice to EPA. For the two remaining glymes, “any use” is a significant new use.

For additional information on the proposed SNUR, see

http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/glymes.html. EPA is currently seeking comments, which may be submitted through September 9, 2011.