As a follow-up to the September 2021 announcement on the path forward for five rules restricting the use of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals, EPA is proposing to further extend the compliance dates related to articles containing phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) to ensure supply chains for key consumer and commercial goods are not disrupted.
Despite EPA's extensive outreach conducted during development of the PBT rules, most stakeholders contacting EPA after the rule was finalized did not comment on the proposal or otherwise engage with the agency on the PIP (3:1) rulemaking, and do not appear to have previously surveyed their supply chains to determine if PIP (3:1) was being used. As a result, EPA did not have a full understanding of the impact of the prohibition prior to issuing the January 2021 final rules.
On September 17, EPA provided a short-term extension of certain compliance dates for PIP (3:1) to March 8, 2022, to address the hardships inadvertently created by the original applicable compliance dates in the January 2021 final rule. Today's proposed rule seeks to further extend the compliance date applicable to the processing and distribution in commerce of certain PIP (3:1)-containing articles, and the PIP (3:1) used to make those articles until October 31, 2024, along with the associated recordkeeping requirements for manufacturers, processors, and distributors of PIP (3:1)-containing articles.
Today's proposed rule also provides a description of the specific kinds of information the agency will require to support any additional extensions to the compliance dates. EPA will expect industry commenters to provide documentation of the following: specific uses of PIP (3:1) in articles throughout their supply chains, concrete steps taken to identify, test, and qualify substitutes for those uses; and specific certifications that would require updating. For each of these uses, EPA expects commenters to provide an estimate of the time that would be required to remove the substance. EPA also expects commenters to document their specific needs for replacement parts, including the documented service life of the equipment and the identification of any applicable regulatory requirements for the assurance of replacement parts. Without this more specific information, EPA will be unlikely to extend the compliance dates again.
The articles covered by today's proposed rule include a wide range of key consumer and commercial goods such as cellular telephones, laptop computers, and other electronic and electrical devices and industrial and commercial equipment used in various sectors including transportation, construction, agriculture, forestry, mining, life sciences, and semiconductor production.
As indicated in the agency's September 2021 announcement, EPA intends to issue a proposal for a new separate rulemaking on all five PBT chemicals in the spring of 2023. EPA is considering revising all five of the final rules to further reduce exposures, promote environmental justice, and better protect human health and the environment.
EPA will be accepting public comments in docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0598 on www.regulations.gov for 60 days from publication of the proposed rule to extend further the compliance dates for certain articles containing PIP (3:1).