In January 2021, EPA published the final rules for five Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) chemicals. The public comment period for these rules is open until May 17, 2021. The five PBT chemicals are:
- Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE)
- Phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1))
- 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2,4,6-TTBP)
- Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD)
- Pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP)
DecaBDE is used as an additive flame retardant in plastic enclosures for TVs, computers, and other household appliances. It is toxic to aquatic animals and terrestrial invertebrates, causing developmental, neurological, and immunological issues. It also harms the liver and is a carcinogen. EPA’s published rule for decaBDE prohibits the manufacture, important, process and distribution of decaBDE products with a few exceptions, such as wire and cable for the two-year period until the prohibition goes into effect.
PIP (3:1) is used as a plasticizer, flame retardant, anti-wear additive, and anti-compressibility additive. It is toxic to aquatic plants and animals, potentially causing reproductive and developmental effects on the animals’ organs. EPA’s published rule for PIP (3:1) prohibits processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) and products containing it with some exceptions, such as various automotive and aviation products. EPA issued a temporary 180-day “No Action Assurance” on the prohibitions for processing and distributing PIP (3:1) articles, which gives EPA enforcement discretion to ensure important articles are no interrupted in the supply chain.
2,4,6-TTBP is used as a reactant in processing and is used in fuel, fuel-related additives, oils, and lubricants. It is toxic to aquatic plants and animals, causing developmental issues and harm to the liver. EPA’s published rule is to effectively prevent the use of 2,4,6-TTBP as a fuel injector cleaner and fuel additive for small commercial operations by prohibiting distributions of the chemical in concentrations above 0.3% in any container with less than 35 gallons. Additionally, EPA prohibits its use as an oil and lubricant additive in concentrations of 0.3% regardless of the container size.
HCBD is burned as waste fuel after being created as a byproduct in the manufacturing of chlorinated hydrocarbons, particularly perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, and carbon tetrachloride. It is toxic to aquatic animals, birds, causing renal, reproductive, and developmental effects. It is also potentially a human carcinogen. EPA’s published rule prohibits manufacturing, processing, and distributing HCBD is all products except those that unintentionally create it as a byproduct in the production of chlorinated solvents.
PCTP is used to make rubber more pliable. It is toxic to fish, plants, and birds, causing liver and reproductive effects. EPA’s published rule prohibits the manufacturing, processing, and distribution of all PCTP products above 1% concentration by weight of the chemical.