EPA has proposed a significant new use rule (SNUR) for 14 solvents known as "glymes" or glycol diethers. Glymes are used in a variety of applications, including industrial paints and coatings, adhesives, batteries, and motor vehicle brake systems.
According to the American Coatings Association (ACA), the SNUR would require anyone who plans to manufacture, import or process these chemicals for an activity that is designated as a “significant new use” by the proposed rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before beginning that activity. This would enable EPA to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit that activity before it occurs.
EPA is concerned about the reproductive and/or developmental toxicity of three glymes: monoglyme, diglyme and ethylglyme, and believes individuals could suffer adverse effects from their use, the ACA says.
Monoglyme is used primarily as an industrial solvent, process aid and component of industrial coatings and lithium batteries. A 2008 EPA Risk Prioritization evaluation found that it posed a “high concern for potential risk to workers.” Diglyme is used primarily as a specialty solvent in a variety of applications, including as a reaction solvent and in applications in the coating industry. It is used in sealants and adhesives, automotive care products, and paints and coatings. Ethylglyme currently has no consumer uses but has been found in water sources, and EPA says its production level appears to be increasing. The agency has said it would be concerned if the chemical became prevalent in consumer products, the ACA says.
EPA also has concerns about the remaining 11 glymes due to exposure and toxicity information. These include polyglyme and tetraglyme, both used in paint removers.
The ACA is preparing comments on this EPA proposal for the September 9 comment deadline.