April 4, 2012

EPA Using Existing Regulatory Authorities to Implement Chemical "Action Plans"

Arnold & Porter Advisory

Despite critiques that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lacks sufficient authority to regulate chemicals already on the market, EPA has recently acted to implement restrictions on several existing chemicals, which may result in consequences as significant as the withdrawal of certain chemical substances from the domestic market. EPA is proposing a series of “significant new use rules” (SNURs) under Section 5(a)(2) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that implement chemical “actions plans” for various existing chemical substances, as well as a Section 4 Test Rule for one group of chemicals. The potentially affected chemicals are polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), benzidine-dyes, a short-chain chlorinated paraffin (SCCP), and di-n-pentyl phthalate (DnPP). This advisory summarizes how these actions, particularly those with respect to PBDEs, demonstrate that EPA is able to use its existing authority to play a strong role in regulating chemicals of concern.

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