EPA Extends Comment Deadline for TSCA Methylene Chloride and NMP Proposal
April 24, 2017 •
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended its comment deadline for stakeholders to submit comments on its proposed rule for methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) under the amended Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA delayed the comment deadline from April 19, 2017, to May 19, 2017.
Last month, ACA submitted several sets of comments to EPA addressing the agency’s proposed rules under the recently amended TSCA.
The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, signed into law on June 22, 2016, mandates the agency to restrict chemicals already in commerce that pose unreasonable risks to public health and the environment. Since January, EPA has released multiple proposed regulations that will impact how EPA evaluates chemicals used in the coatings industry. ACA has been actively developing coatings industry positions and comments on these important rulemakings. As these rules are finalized, ACA will provide compliance materials for the industry.
EPA’s Jan. 19 proposed rule aims, among other restrictions, to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride for consumer and most types of commercial paint and coating removal. EPA also proposed similar restrictions for NMP, along with alternative proposals. Under the first approach proposed for NMP, EPA proposed to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of NMP for all consumer and commercial paint and coating removal, with exemptions for certain coating removal uses that EPA proposes are critical to national security. EPA is also proposing to prohibit the commercial use of NMP for paint and coating removal, with exemptions for certain coating removal uses that EPA proposes are critical to national security. These exemptions include the condition that any exempt paint and coating removal products containing NMP be packaged in containers with a volume no less than five gallons.
Unlike the option proposed for methylene chloride, these exemptions do not include the use of NMP in furniture refinishing. EPA is also proposing to require manufacturers (including importers), processors, and distributors, except for retailers, of NMP for any use to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain, and to require limited recordkeeping. Under the second approach proposed for NMP, EPA is proposing a reformulation, personal protective equipment (PPE), and labeling approach. This would require the following:
- product reformulation to limit the concentration of NMP in paint and coating removal products;
- testing of product formulations to identify specialized gloves that provide protection;
- relabeling of products to provide additional information to consumers; and
- an occupational dermal and respiratory protection program for commercial use of NMP in paint and coating removal, downstream notification when distributing NMP for other uses, and limited recordkeeping.
Under this approach, no exemption is proposed for coating removal identified as critical for national security because paint and coating removal products containing NMP would continue to be available for these national security uses under this option, even without establishing a national security exemption.
ACA will remain engaged in the development and implementation of regulations under the amended TSCA, working on behalf of its members.