All Published Articles
Between the late 1990s and early 2000s, the EPA identified potential issues presented by PFOS, a perfluorinated acid. Data showed PFOS to be present in low levels in humans and wildlife worldwide, and that PFOS appeared to be highly persistent. At the time, PFOS was used in industrial and consumer applications, including soil and stain repellant sprays, fire-fighting foams and semiconductor manufacture. Between 2000 and 2002, 3M Company, the principal domestic manufacturer of PFOS, voluntarily phased the chemical out of production. Working with industry, the EPA followed this action with a series of SNURs that were effectively intended to limit uses for which alternatives were not available. Several years later, similar concerns were raised with regard to PFOA, other LCPFACs, and other chemicals known as fluorinated telomers that potentially could degrade to PFOA in the environment. The EPA worked with the manufacturers and users of these chemicals to understand the risks and encourage development of alternatives. These efforts yielded the 2010/2015 PFOA Stewardship Program through which industry made and delivered on a series of commitments that, over time, made the current proposed SNUR possible.
On February 2, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated through a direct final rule significant new use rules (SNURs) for 27 chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMNs). The substances include polymer of terephthalic acid and ethyl benzene with multi-walled carbon nanotube (generic) (PMN Number P-13-573), which is subject to a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 5(e) consent order.
On January 28, 2015, Environment Canada announced that, with Health Canada, it has initiated a review of significant new activity (SNAc) orders and notices currently in place under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). See http://www.chemicalsubstanceschimiques.gc.ca/plan/approach-approche/snac-nac/index-eng.php#a2 According to Environment Canada, since publication of the first SNAc in 2001, policies and practices have evolved, particularly with respect to the nature and scope of SNAcs, as well as the wording used to identify "significant new activities."
The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on December 17, 2014, that the Federal Council decided to continue the action plan for synthetic nanomaterials until 2019. See http://www.bag.admin.ch/nanotechnologie/12167/?lang=en The objectives of the action plan include:
- Development of regulatory framework conditions for the responsible handling of synthetic nanomaterials;
- Creation of scientific and methodical conditions aimed at identifying and preventing potential harmful effects of synthetic nanomaterials on health and the environment;
- Promotion of the public dialogue about opportunities and risks of nanotechnology; and
- Better utilization of existing tools for the development and rollout of sustainable nanotechnology applications.
On December 29, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule signaling renewed interest in asserting Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) jurisdiction over finished goods. The final rule adds nine benzidine-based chemical substances to the existing significant new use rule (SNUR) on these substances, and, with respect to both the newly added and previously-listed substances, makes inapplicable the exemption relating to persons that import or process the substances as part of an article.
Canada announced on January 9, 2015, that the New Substances Program has published six new risk assessment summaries for chemicals and polymers, including a summary for multi-wall carbon nanotubes. See http://www.ec.gc.ca/subsnouvelles-newsubs/default.asp?lang=En&n=4BCC7425-1 Environment Canada and Health Canada conduct risk assessments on new substances. These assessments include consideration of information on physical and chemical properties, hazards, uses, and exposure to determine whether a substance is or may become harmful to human health or environment as set out in Section 64 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), and, if harm is suspected, to introduce any appropriate or required control measures.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released on June 25, 2014, and on August 28, 2014, final risk assessments for targeted uses of four Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan chemicals. The June Assessment consists of certain uses of trichloroethylene (TCE), and the assessments released in August are for uses of methylene chloride or dichloromethane (DCM), antimony trioxide (ATO), and 1,3,4,6,7,8-hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta-[γ]-2-benzopyran (HHCB). The much anticipated release of these assessments marks a real milestone for the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), and the EPA is to be commended for its significant efforts in completing these assessments relatively quickly.