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The Environmental Protection Agency Aug. 22 announced a proposed settlement of a Toxic Substances Control Act case that would eliminate all major sources of U.S. production or importation of short-chain chlorinated paraffins, chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to aquatic life (United States v. INEOS Chlor Americas Inc., D. Del., No. 1:12-cv-01058, proposed consent decree filed 8/21/12).
The agreement with INEOS Chlor Americas Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, addresses the company's alleged importation of short-chained chlorinated paraffins into the United States.
The chemicals INEOS imported were not on the TSCA inventory, and INEOS had not submitted a premanufacture notice (PMN) for them, the proposed settlement said.
Short-chain chlorinated paraffins are used as lubricants and coolants for metal working and as plasticizers and flame retardants in plastics, according to EPA.
According to Section 3 and Section 5 of TSCA, any chemical not included on the TSCA inventory of compounds that are or have been on the U.S. market is considered a new chemical. New chemicals may not be made in or imported into the United States until a PMN has been submitted to EPA and the agency has not objected to its production or importation.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, INEOS would pay $175,000 as a civil penalty and cease manufacture or distribution of short-chain chlorinated paraffins unless EPA allowed them to go into production.
“With this settlement we have removed all known major sources of this chemical from the marketplace,” Cynthia Giles, EPA's assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance, said in an announcement of the settlement.
A previous proposed settlement EPA reached with Dover Chemical Corp. ended U.S. manufacture of the chemicals, although the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio has yet to approve the settlement (36 CRR 246, 2/27/12).
EPA's announcement said it had removed all “major sources” of short-chain chlorinated paraffins as defined by reporting requirements. Companies are required to report their chemical production and importation to EPA if they make or import 25,000 pounds or more.
The agency is concerned about the chemicals because they are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to aquatic life. “Even relatively small releases of these chemicals from individual manufacturing, processing, or waste management facilities have the potential to accumulate over time to higher levels and have been detected in wildlife and humans,” EPA said on a website it maintains about the chemicals.
Short-chain chlorinated paraffins are being reviewed by countries to determine whether they should be added to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which seeks to eliminate or restrict persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals (33 CRR 1031, 10/19/09).
In March, EPA proposed a significant new use rule to control new uses of a short-chain chlorinated paraffin (36 CRR 359, 3/26/12).
In recent months, EPA has been proposing significant new use rules to restrict the new manufacture, importation, or use of the chemicals as they are being eliminated from the U.S. market.
By Pat Rizzuto
The proposed consent decree in United States v. INEOS Chlor Americas Inc. is available at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/decrees/civil/tsca/ineos-cd.pdf.
EPA information on the proposed settlement with INEOS is available at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/tsca/ineoschlor.html.
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