EPA Extends Deadline to Comply with TSCA Chemical Ban

Smith Gambrell Russell

Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

The EPA has extended the compliance date for industries that produce, distribute or import computers, appliances, and many other commercial products containing phenol, isopropylated phosphate (PIP) – a plastic softener and flame-retardant chemical until March 8, 2022.  When used in electronic equipment, PIP softens the plastic surrounding wires which prevent fire-causing short circuits.  Pursuant to the 2016 TSCA Amendments, the EPA has been reviewing the hazards presented by a number of toxic chemicals widely used in commercial products, and in January 2021, issued a final Order banning the manufacture, distribution, or importation of products containing PIP.  The EPA’s ban on the previously unrestricted plastic softener caught many industries by surprise, which has prompted the need for extensions to the compliance deadline so that companies manufacturing, distributing, and importing “articles” such as applies and electronics could find alternative products.  Additional time was also needed to sort through supply chains to identify the original companies that mix the plastic used for the wires and cables and to work with them to find safe substitutes.  It is unlikely that the current, six-month extension will be enough time for importers and manufacturers of products containing PIP to find safe substitutes, especially when there is little or no incentive for foreign companies supplying such plastics to provide ingredient lists to the U.S. importers.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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