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April 5, 2017

Volume 17 Issue 52

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EPA Expected to Switch Course on CPs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will reconsider its use of Toxic Substances Control Act Section 5 to review medium- and long-chain chlorinated paraffins as “new chemicals” and instead expects to review them as “existing chemicals” under TSCA Section 6, the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association said in an update to its members Monday.

Chlorinated paraffins are chlorinated alkanes that have carbon chain lengths ranging from 10 to 38, with varying degrees of chlorination. Those with lengths from C14 to C17 are classed as medium chain; from C18 to C20 as long chain. CPs are used in metalworking fluids as extreme-pressure agents, especially for difficult drawing, forming and removal operations.

ILMA has been actively involved in a coalition of trade associations that have an interest in the continued availability of CPs. The coalition includes the American Chemistry Council, National Association of Manufacturers and the Vinyl Institute, as well as niche organizations such as the Chlorinated Paraffins Industry Association, the Adhesives and Sealants Council, the Aerospace Industries Association, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers.

EPA will meet with the companies that submitted the pre-manufacture notifications under TSCA Section 5 to discuss and negotiate the details of the change, ILMA Executive Director Holly Alfano stated in the association’s April 3 letter to members. “All information should be considered subject to change until final agreements are reached between the agency and the MCCP and LCCP suppliers,” Alfano said. The companies that submitted notifications included Dover, Ohio-based Dover Chemical Corp., Inovyn (a Brussels-based joint venture between Ineos and Solvay), and Qualice (a subsidiary of Hamlet, N.C.-based Trinity Manufacturing).

“We are looking forward to the meeting [with EPA], and we’re glad that the matter is moving forward to remove the uncertainties,” James MacNeil, product manager for Qualice LLC, said in a phone interview.

Alfano noted that ILMA consistently told the EPA that its use of TSCA Section 5 was not appropriate procedurally, and that a ban on the manufacturer of MCCPs and LCCPs would cause significant economic disruption to its members and their customers. “As ILMA and the coalition argued, the TSCA Section 6 risk evaluation process is open and transparent, and if unreasonable risks are identified and scientifically justified, EPA then can take appropriate risk management measures to address those unreasonable risks,” she stated in the letter.

“We had already heard news was getting out – it’s hard to contain this kind of information,” Alfano said in an interview. “We thought it would be a good idea if we let people know what was going on, let them know that we were watching it closely and that we would be back in touch with them with further information.”

The meeting with EPA is expected to take place later in April, she said. “Our members worked really hard on this issue,” she said. “A lot have gone to Capitol Hill and have visited EPA. We want them to know this is still in the process. It does look like for the first time that things are moving in the right direction.”

In early 2015, the U.S. EPA stated it could eliminate mid- and long-chain chlorinated paraffins in U.S. commerce as early as May 2016 using its authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act, alarming CP manufacturers who said elimination would hit them and their customers hard across many applications.

In September 2015, EPA announced a postponement of about a year to the beginning of the ban on production and import of mid- and long-chain chlorinated paraffins. That decision delayed the ban until mid-2017.

March 23 of 2016 marked the deadline for stakeholders to submit comments about environmental risks and critical applications associated with medium- and long-chain chlorinated paraffins to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Seventeen associations and companies submitted more than two dozen letters, technical reports and environmental studies to EPA’s docket in the Federal Register.

In ILMA’s March 2016 letter submitted to the EPA, the association had called upon EPA to evaluate MCCPs and LCCPs as existing substances under Section 6 instead of new substances under Section 5 of the TSCA. Alfano wrote, “ILMA consistently has raised its concerns with EPA’s treatment of MCCPs and LCCPs as new chemical substances, given the historic and on-going use of the chemicals for decades and the agency’s efforts to regulate these materials over the same time.”