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September 24, 2020

EPA Publishes Final SNUR for Carbon Nanotubes (Generic) (PMN P-15-54)

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On September 17, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published final significant new use rules (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN) and are subject to Orders issued by EPA pursuant to TSCA.  85 Fed. Reg. 57968.  The SNURs require persons who intend to manufacture (defined by statute to include import) or process any of these chemical substances for an activity that is proposed as a significant new use to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity.  The final SNURs include one for carbon nanotubes (generic) (PMN P-15-54).  The SNUR requirements do not apply to quantities of the PMN substance that have been embedded or incorporated into a polymer matrix that itself has been reacted (cured) or embedded in a permanent solid polymer form that is not intended to undergo further processing, except mechanical processing.  The significant new uses are:

  • Workplace protection. Requirements as specified in Section 721.63(a)(1), (2)(i) and (ii), and (3) through (6), and (c).  When determining which persons are reasonably likely to be exposed as required for Section 721.63(a)(1) and (4), engineering control measures (g., enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation) or administrative control measures (e.g., workplace policies and procedures) shall be considered and implemented to prevent exposure, where feasible.  For purposes of Section 721.63(a)(5), respirators must provide a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) assigned protection factor (APF) of at least 50.  For purposes of Section 721.63(a)(6), particulate (including solids or liquid droplets).
  • Industrial, commercial, and consumer activities. Requirements as specified in Section 721.80(k) (chemical intermediate to manufacture functionalized carbon nanotubes by oxidation with nitric acid; additive in rubber polymers to improve mechanical/physical/chemical/electrical properties; additive in resin polymers to improve mechanical/physical/chemical/electrical properties; additive in metals to improve electrical/thermal properties; additive in ceramics to improve mechanical/electrical/thermal properties; semi-conductor, conductive, or resistive element in electronic circuitry and devices; electric collector element or electrode in energy devices; photoelectric or thermoelectric conversion elements in energy devices; catalyst support element or catalytic electrode for use in energy devices; additive for transparency and conductivity in electronic devices; and electro-mechanical element in actuator, sensor, or switching devices).
  • Disposal. Requirements as specified in Section 721.85(a)(1) and (2), (b)(1) and (2), and (c)(1) and (2).
  • Release to water. Requirements as specified in Section 721.90(a)(1), (b)(1), and (c)(1).