The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a direct final rule that will create Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) for 53 chemical substances; two of the substances’ names include the term ‘carbon nanotube’. These SNURs will require ‘[…] persons who intend to manufacture or process [… these] chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity […]’. The rule is effective from 7 October 2013, though comments will be received until 6 September 2013.
As with the final rulings issued by the EPA at the end of June 2013, these SNURs are for multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs); this time, however, it is for different types of MWCNT. The EPA only distinguishes CNTs by the names of their pre-manufacture notifications (PMNs), as ‘[…] a lack of established nomenclature’ and confidential business information (CBI) claims means that only generic names and PMN identifiers can be given. As such the EPA advises users who have reason to believe they may be affected by the SNUR to contact them and confirm whether this is the case or not.
It should be noted that the EPA issued both of these materials with consent orders under 5(e) of the TSCA (US Toxic Substances Control Act). This order requires the use of protective equipment when there is the potential for dermal or inhalation exposure during manufacturing or processing; it also states there must be ‘no domestic manufacture’ and ‘no use of the substances resulting in surface water releases during processing and use’. The EPA issued this order as it believes ‘these substances may present an unreasonable risk of injury to human health’. The SNUR it has applied to the substances ‘[...] designates as a significant new use the absence of the protective measures required’ by this consent order.