US EPA Amends SNURs for LCPFAC and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate Chemicals

 The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published final significant new use rules (SNURs) relating to long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate (LCPFAC) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonate chemicals. It also makes inapplicable the exemption for persons who import a subset of LCPFAC chemicals as part of a surface coating on articles.

The Final Rule contains a number of important changes relating to 40 CFR Part 721 ‘Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances’. These include:

• Amendment to §721.9582 ‘Certain perfluoroalkyl sulfonates’ – requires imported carpets containing the listed perfluoroalkyl sulfonates to submit a significant new use notice (SNUN)
• Completely new requirements for SNUs under §721.10536 ‘Long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate chemical substances’ – these SNUs relate to:
– Manufacture/import or processing of LCPFAC chemicals in §721.10536(b)(1) for use as part of carpets or to treat carpets (e.g. for use in the carpet aftercare market)
– Manufacture/import or processing of (20) LCPFAC chemicals in Table 1 to §721.10536(b)(2) for any use after December 31, 2015
– Manufacture/import or processing of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and its salts, including those in Table 2 to §721.10536(b)(3), for any use
– Manufacture/import or processing of LCPFAC chemicals, except for the (20) LCPFAC chemicals in Table 1 to §721.10536(b)(2), for any use other than the use already described in sub-bullet point 1 above
• Allowing LCPFAC chemicals, including the (20) LCPFAC chemicals in Table 1 of §721.10536(b)(2) as well as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and its salts, including those in Table 2 of §721.10536(b)(3), to be used in antireflective coatings, photoresists, or surfactants in photo microlithography and semiconductors or similar components of electronic or other miniaturized devices, without reporting as these are not considered as SNUs
• Providing a list of specific LCPFAC chemicals as well as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and its salts with defined uses that are not considered as SNUs and will not be subject to reporting
• Revokes SNUN exemptions for a person who imports the following:
– Carpets containing an LCPFAC chemical listed in §721.10536(b)(1)
– Articles with a surface coating containing an LCPFAC chemical in Table 1 to §721.10536(b)(2) or PFOA and its salts, including those in Table 2 to §721.10536(b)(3)

‘Article’ is defined in 40 CFR 704.3 as a manufactured item which:
1. Is formed to a specific shape or design during manufacture
2. Has end use function(s) dependent in whole or in part upon its shape or design during end use
3. Has either no change of chemical composition during its end use or only those changes of composition which have no commercial purpose separate from that of the article, and that result from a chemical reaction that occurs upon end use of other chemical substances, mixtures, or articles; except that fluids and particles are not considered articles regardless of shape or design

Examples of articles with a surface coating may include:
• Apparel
• Automotive components
• Carpets
• Electronic components
• Furniture
• Outdoor equipment

The Final Rule was published in July 2020. It requires persons to notify the EPA at least 90-days before commencing the manufacture, import, or processing of LCPFAC and perfluoroalkyl sulfonate chemicals for SNUs – December 24, 2020.

Notification will initiate an EPA evaluation of the conditions of use in relation to the SNU. Manufacturing, importing, or processing cannot commence until the outcome of the review and the completion of any required actions.

Stakeholders should be aware this Final Rule excludes ongoing use as these are not the subject to the SNUR.

It came into effect on September 25, 2020.

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