On July 8, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency published new Significant New Use Rules pursuant to its direct final rules procedures under the Toxic Substances Control Act (79 Fed. Reg. 38464). The SNURs identify “significant new uses” of thirteen substances and require persons who intend to manufacture, import or process them for such significant new uses to submit Significant New Use Notices to EPA at least 90 days before commencing such activities.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were the subject of two of the SNURs. Although the precise chemical identities of the CNTs remain confidential, one CNT is described as a single-walled CNT used as a component for a conductive coating used in the dispersion of ink and as an additive in resins/thermoplastics/elastomers for mechanical reinforcement. The other is described as a multi-walled CNT intended for several uses, including in coatings in metallic foils for battery applications.
EPA’s inclusion of CNTs follows a number of other CNT SNURs published over the last few years and reflects the agency’s continued scrutiny of this category of chemicals. Citing concerns about effects both on human health and the environment, in these SNURs EPA describes specific personal protective equipment workers must use, identifies permitted uses, restricts releases to water, and imposes recordkeeping and other requirements.
The effective date of the SNURs is September 8, 2014 and comments on the SNURs must be submitted prior to August 7, 2014.