Regulatory News: 2021 Quarter 4

US EPA Updates TSCA Inventory

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of the latest Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory. The agency states that the biannual update to the public TSCA Inventory is part of its regular posting of nonconfidential TSCA Inventory data. EPA plans the next regular update for winter 2022. The inventory contains 86,607 chemicals, of which 41,953 are active in US commerce. Other updates to the TSCA Inventory include new chemical substance additions, commercial activity data and regulatory flags such as polymer exemptions, TSCA Section 4 test orders and TSCA Section 5 Significant New Use Rules (SNURs).

US EPA Issues Final SNUR for Certain Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes

US EPA issued several SNURs under TSCA for chemical substances that were the subject of pre-manufacture notices (PMNs), including the chemical substance identified generically as multiwalled carbon nanotubes (PMN P-18-182). 86 Fed. Reg. 46133. The SNUR requires persons who intend to manufacture (defined by statute to include import) or process multiwalled carbon nanotubes (PMN P-18-182) for an activity that is designated as a significant new use to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. The requirements of the SNUR do not apply to quantities of the substance that have been:

  • embedded or incorporated into a polymer matrix that itself has been reacted (cured);
  • embedded in a permanent solid/polymer form that is not intended to undergo further processing, except mechanical processing; or
  • incorporated into an article as defined at 40 C.F.R. Section 720.3(c).

Hazardous Waste Generator Regulations Compendium

The Hazardous Waste Generator Regulations Compendium serves as a user-friendly reference to assist EPA and state staff, industrial facilities generating and managing solid and hazardous wastes, and the public in locating resources addressing specific regulatory issues within the federal hazardous waste generator program. The compendium is available at https://www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/hazardous-waste-generator-regulations-compendium and is divided into volumes by topic. The six current volumes of information include 1) satellite accumulation areas, 2) generator EPA identification numbers, 3) cogeneration issues, 4) household hazardous waste, 5) personnel training at small and large quantity generators, and 6) generator treatment in tanks and containers.

New Energy Star Standards

The new Energy Star standards are expanding to include electric-vehicle chargers in commercial settings and a cold-climate designation for heat pumps, which are used to heat or cool homes and buildings. When Energy Star guidelines are adjusted, “manufacturers tend to respond with products that meet those standards.” Electric heat pumps are the key central technology for decarbonizing buildings. Learn more at https://www.energystar.gov.

Sustainability Seen as Strategic Growth Opportunity for Industrial Manufacturers

Sustainability quickly is becoming an important consideration for B2B and B2C customers alike – whether they are shopping for a new car or industrial equipment. They want to be associated with businesses that not only claim to have sustainable and ethical practices but also provide visible evidence of those efforts. For medium-size manufacturers, such sustainability initiatives are much more than meeting growing customer demand for transparency around sustainability efforts. It’s also strengthening their position to seize new opportunities and pursue growth when the economy stabilizes. Oxford Economics research data revealed that more than half of leaders from midsize companies view sustainable practices as critical for providing the high-quality experiences their customers demand. 

Doreen Monteleone
Doreen M. Monteleone, Ph.D.
Director of Sustainability & EHS Initiatives
RadTech International North America
[email protected]

 


News From the West Coast

Is UV/EB/LED Worthy of EPA Award?

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting nominations for its Green Chemistry Challenge awards though December 10, 2021. The annual awards recognize chemical technologies that incorporate green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture and use, as well as green chemical technologies that address climate change. Green chemistry is the “design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances.” The concept applies across the lifecycle of a chemical product, including its design, manufacture, use and ultimate disposal. Green chemistry reduces pollution at its source by minimizing or eliminating the hazards of chemical feedstocks, reagents, solvents and products. UV/EB/LED products may meet the EPA’s definition of “Green Chemistry” and be eligible for award consideration. Additional details can be found at https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2021-08/2022_nomination_package.pdf.

‘Decarbonization’ Concept

In the past, environmental groups in California advocated for conversion to natural gas. Now a new concept of “decarbonization” is being considered because processes using natural gas are no longer seen as environmentally friendly. The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, (AB 32) calls for CARB to convene an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee to advise the agency in developing a “Scoping Plan,” and any other pertinent matter in implementing AB 32. It requires that the committee be composed of representatives from communities with the most significant exposure to air pollution, including communities with minority or low-income populations. The committee includes environmental advocacy groups and labor union representatives. There are no members from the business community.

Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a directive to CARB to evaluate a phase-out of petroleum fuel extraction by 2045 and contemplates converting all refineries in the state to produce renewable fuels from waste biomass. The governor also issued an order requiring complete vehicle fleet electrification for light duty vehicles (Zero Emission Vehicle) by 2035. CARB is considering a proposal for all drayage trucks and off-road vehicles to be zero emission by 2035 and all heavy/medium duty vehicles to be zero emission by 2045. Discussions about Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), for which car owners are charged a tax for every mile traveled, also are on the table. State law (SB 375) requires development of local Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS), which outline how regions will reduce per capita VMT. The state estimates a 15% reduction in per capita VMT in 2045.

Regarding the manufacturing/construction/agriculture sectors, CARB staff is questioning what to do about industries that can’t electrify due to technology availability (cement, glass, steel and others). What would be their energy source: Renewable natural gas? Renewable hydrogen? Natural gas? Some combination? UV/EB/LED technology could play a role as a solution to some of the issues being considered. CARB plans to complete the Scoping Plan sometime in 2022. 

Aerosol Coatings Regulations

The EPA accepted comments through November 16, 2021, on a proposal to amend the National Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emission Standards for Aerosol Coatings. These are reactivity-based emission standards for the aerosol coatings category (aerosol spray paints) under the Clean Air Act (CAA). EPA intends to update coating category product-weighted reactivity limits for aerosol coatings categories; add new compounds and reactivity factors (RFs); update existing reactivity values; revise the default RF; amend the thresholds for regulated compounds; and add electronic reporting provisions. According to the EPA notice, entities potentially affected by this proposed action include (but are not limited to) those listed in the North American Industry Classification System codes 32551 and 325998.

California promulgated a regulation for VOC emissions from aerosol coatings based on a relative reactivity approach. The EPA promulgated a national rule based upon the relative reactivity approach after concluding that the approach could achieve more reduction in ozone formation than may be achieved by a mass-based approach for this source category. The reactivity-based approach requires the EPA to revise the regulatory definition of VOC to include compounds that would otherwise be exempt to account for all reactive compounds in aerosol coatings that contribute to ozone formation. The agency is proposing these changes, in part, to respond to petitions from the American Coatings Association (ACA) requesting revisions to the standards that promote consistency between California Air Resources Board (CARB) and national aerosol coatings regulations.  

Rita LoofRita Loof
Director of Regional Environmental Affairs
RadTech International North America
[email protected]