The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a proposal that requires companies to report new uses of chemicals known as 'glymes,' which are used in paints and coatings, printing ink, adhesives, household batteries and motor vehicle brake systems.
EPA’s proposed action is based in part on concerns that additional uses of these 14 chemicals in consumer products could lead to harmful reproductive and developmental health effects.
Included in the list of chemicals is monoglyme, a solvent the EPA says is used to treat aluminum surfaces in the etching of printed circuit boards.The EPA says it is concerned about the reproductive and developmental toxicity of three glymes: monoglyme, diglyme, and ethylglyme, and believes that individuals could suffer adverse effects from their use.
Of the 14 glymes, they say 12 have industrial or consumer uses of some kind and two have no current uses. The EPA has preliminarily determined that the manufacture, import, or processing of 12 of the glymes for “any use in a consumer product” is a significant new use, although some ongoing uses are excluded from the SNUR. In addition, EPA has primarily determined that the manufacture, import, or processing of the remaining two glymes for “any use” is a significant new use.
“This proposed rule would enable EPA to evaluate the use of these chemicals before Americans are subject to additional exposure to them in numerous consumer products” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We need to take a closer look at the potential health effects that additional exposure to these chemicals could have.”
The proposed regulatory procedure is known as a significant new use rule (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The SNUR would ensure that, prior to the manufacture, import, or processing of these chemicals for a significant new use, EPA will have 90 days to evaluate potential risks, and prohibit or limit the activity if warranted.