by John J. Kowalski, CHMM
On June 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) proposed a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) for Asbestos under Section 5 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The proposed SNUR applies to the asbestiform varieties of chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. The proposed significant new use is manufacturing (including importing) or processing for any of the following uses:
- Arc chutes;
- Beater-add gaskets;
- Extruded sealant tape and other tape;
- Filler for acetylene cylinders;
- High grade electrical paper;
- Missile liner;
- Adhesives, sealants, roof and non-roof coatings;
- Pipeline wrap;
- Reinforced plastics;
- Roofing felt;
- Separators in fuel cells and batteries;
- Vinyl-asbestos floor tile; or
- Other building products (other than cement products).
The proposed SNUR would require persons that intend to manufacture, import or process asbestos (including as part of an article) for a significant new use to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing such manufacturing, importing, or processing. It would also preclude the commencement of such manufacturing, importing, or processing until the Agency “has conducted a review of the notice, made an appropriate determination on the notice, and taken such actions as are required in association with that determination.” Comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before August 10, 2018.
The proposed SNUR should not to be confused with an existing rule that was promulgated under TSCA Section 6. The existing rule, which is codified at 40 CFR Part 763, prohibits the manufacture, importation, processing, and distribution in commerce of certain asbestos-containing products, as well as any new uses of asbestos initiated for the first time after August 25, 1989. The proposed SNUR addresses multiple uses that were initiated prior to August 25, 1989 that EPA believes are no longer ongoing in the United States.
Recommended Action Items
- Review the proposed SNUR;
- Consider submitting comments; and
- Continue to watch this space for additional articles regarding new developments under the TSCA.
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Environmental Protection Agency. “Asbestos; Significant New Use Rule.” Federal Register 83 (11 June 2018): 26922-26933. [PDF]