EPA Amends Polymer Exemption Rule – Perfluorochemicals Targeted
Related Topics: Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) US Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA is amending the polymer exemption rule, which provides an exemption from the premanufacture notification (PMN) requirements of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), to exclude from eligibility polymers containing as an integral part of their composition, except as impurities, certain perfluoroalkyl moieties consisting of a CF3- or longer chain length. This exclusion includes polymers that contain any one or more of the following: Perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFAS), perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFAC), fluorotelomers, or perfluoroalkyl moieties that are covalently bound to either a carbon or sulfur atom where the carbon or sulfur atom is an integral part of the polymer molecule (affected polymers).
In general, any person who intends to manufacture (which is defined by TSCA to include import into the customs territory of the United States) any of these polymers not already on the TSCA Inventory (Inventory) must complete the TSCA PMN review process prior to commencing the manufacture or import of such polymers. Alternatively, manufacturers or importers may submit a request for a different exemption, such as the Low Volume Exemption (LVE) or Low Release and Exposure Exemption (LoREX), for affected polymers that they reasonably believe may qualify for such exemptions. Those persons who are currently manufacturing or importing affected polymers, or who have previously manufactured or imported them but are not doing so now, in full compliance with the 1995 polymer exemption rule, may continue manufacturing or importing them until January 27, 2012. After that date, manufacture of these polymers will no longer be authorized under the polymer exemption rule, and continued manufacture or import must be authorized under a different TSCA section 5(h)(4) exemption or under a different TSCA section 5 authority, such as TSCA section 5(a)(1) or section 5(e). This change was made since EPA has determined that it can no longer conclude that these polymers "will not present an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment" under the terms of the polymer exemption rule, which is the determination necessary to support an exemption under TSCA section 5(h)(4).
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