The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an announcement on Sept. 3, 2021, extending the compliance date for its regulation on Phenol, Isopropylated, Phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) to Mar. 8, 2022, along with an initiative to re-open rulemaking activity for the five original persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals. This news precedes the end of EPA’s No Action Assurance letter, which was scheduled to conclude the next day.

On Jan. 6, 2021, EPA published its final rulemakings regarding five PBT substances. The most impactful of these, Phenol, Isopropylated Phosphate (3:1) (PIP 3:1); Regulation of Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic Chemicals Under TSCA Section 6(h)

  • Prohibited all manufacturing, processing, and distribution of PIP (3:1) in commerce
  • Required manufacturers, processors, and distributors of PIP (3:1), or articles containing PIP (3:1), to maintain business records related to the Rule’s restrictions, communicate these requirements to downstream customers, and ensure the substance is not released to any bodies of water

“AEM responded to the PIP (3:1) rule by engaging EPA on behalf of the association’s members and the equipment manufacturing industry, by raising concerns about the Final Rule’s requirements,” said AEM Senior Vice President of Ag Services Curt Blades. “Widespread adoption of PIP (3:1) throughout industry necessitated a strong response to both the restrictions and the implementation timeline.”

PIP (3:1) is a plasticizer, flame retardant, and anti-wear additive, widely integrated for use in electronics, safety systems, and hydraulic fluids for its capacity to prevent the breakdown of parts and components under extreme conditions. The functionality of this material provides several crucial characteristics needed to ensure compliance with current safety, emissions, and fire prevention regulations.

Following considerable outreach from various industry stakeholders, EPA issued a No-Action Assurance (NAA) letter on March 8, 2021, suspending all enforcement activity related to their PBT Final Rules until Sept. 4, 2021. Concurrently, EPA issued a Request for Comment on the Final Rule, seeking industry feedback regarding the regulation’s requirements and implementation timeline. Then, last week Friday, Sept. 4, EPA issued an announcement along with a pre-published copy of the Interim Final Rule.

In doing so, EPA:

  • Extended the compliance date for the processing and distribution in commerce of PIP (3:1) for use in articles, along with the associated recordkeeping requirements, to Mar. 8, 2022
  • Announced plans for an imminent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), requesting further comment on compliance date extensions for articles containing PIP (3:1)
  • Signaled their intention to re-open the five Jan. PBT rulemakings to review the existing industry exemptions

“This impending NPRM is particularly notable in that it seeks additional information to help EPA determine the length of time different industry sectors will need to fully comply with the requirements found in the original Final Rule,” said AEM Director of Global Compliance Jason Malcore. “We encourage our members to take advantage of this additional and important opportunity to voice their concerns regarding EPA’s actions and share their insights into expected impacts on supply chains and business operations.”

Those who want to learn more about EPA’s recently announced compliance date extensions and future rulemaking activity related to PIP (3:1) are encouraged to reach out to AEM’s Regulatory Compliance Steering Committee or contact AEM’s Jason Malcore at jmalcore@aem.org.

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