EPA Proposes to Amend PBT Rules for decaBDE and PIP (3:1)

By: Joe Corbisiero on December 1st, 2023

On November 24th, 2023, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule regarding amending the regulations for decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) and phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)), two of the five persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals addressed in final rules issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in January 2021.

The revision proposes workplace safety measures and water release restrictions. It also addresses broader implementation issues affecting the supply chains of various industry sectors, including the nuclear energy sector, transportation, construction, agriculture, forestry, mining, life sciences, and semiconductor production.

What is decaBDE and PIP (3:1)?

DecaBDE is a flame retardant mainly used in the electronics industry as polymers/resins for wire insulation and plastic electronics housing. DecaBDE CAS number is 1163-19-5.

PIP (3:1) is used as a plasticizer, a flame retardant, an anti-wear additive, or an anti-compressibility additive in hydraulic fluid, lubricating oils, lubricants and greases, various industrial coatings, adhesives, sealants, and plastic articles. It can be seen in the electronics industry in wire covers, cables, and casings, like power cords and USB cables. PIP (3:1) CAS number is 68937-41-7

EPA Rule Changes that Impact the Semiconductor Industry

The following are the revisions that may impact the Semiconductor industry. The full list of changes can be found on the EPA website.

For decaBDE, the revisions to the 2021 PBT final rule propose to:

  • Require a label on existing plastic shipping pallets that are known to contain decaBDE;
  • Prohibit releases to water during the manufacturing, processing, and distribution in commerce of decaBDE, decaBDE-containing products, and require all persons to follow any applicable regulations and best management practices for preventing the release of decaBDE;
  • Extend the compliance date for processing and distribution in commerce of decaBDE-containing wire and cable insulation for use in nuclear power generation facilities;
  • Require export notification for decaBDE-containing wire and cable for use in nuclear power generation facilities.

For PIP (3:1), the revisions to the 2021 PBT final rule propose to:

  • Narrow the scope of the exclusion for lubricants and greases to aviation and turbine uses, with a 5-year phased-in prohibition for all other uses;
  • Add new exclusions for use in wire harnesses and electric circuit boards;
  • Replace the exclusion for new and replacement parts for motor vehicles with a 15-year phased-in prohibition for new parts and an additional 15 years for replacement parts;
  • Replace the exclusion for new and replacement parts for aerospace vehicles with a 30-year phased-in prohibition for new parts and until the end of the service life of the vehicle for replacement parts;
  • Extend the compliance timeframe for an additional 10 years for use in manufacturing equipment and in the semiconductor industry;
  • Add a new 5-year compliance timeframe deadline for processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use as an inert ingredient in a Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act-approved antifouling paint coating for U.S. Navy applications.

EPA notes that it is not proposing to revise the existing regulations for the other three PBT chemicals (2,4,6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2,4,6-TTBP), hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), and pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP)) at this time.

The EPA is allowing comments on the proposed changes until January 8, 2024

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