May 13, 2015

American Coatings Association Submits Comments to EPA in Response to Proposed Significant New Use Rule for Consumer Uses of TDIs

On April 30, ACA submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the agency’s proposed significant new use rule (SNUR) for 2,4-toluene diisocyanate, 2,6-toluene diisocyanate, toluene diisocyanate unspecified isomers (TDI), and related compounds. The proposed SNUR applies to any use in a consumer product, with a proposed exception for use of certain chemical substances in coatings, elastomers, adhesives, binders, and sealants that results in less than or equal to 0.1 percent by weight of TDI in a consumer product. EPA states this proposed SNUR would apply to the uses it has identified as not ongoing at the time of this proposed rule. To the extent that additional ongoing uses are found in the course of rulemaking (i.e., in the public comments), EPA would exclude those specific chemical substances for those specific uses from the final SNUR. EPA is also proposing to exclude from application the general SNUR article exemption for persons who import or process these chemical substances as part of an article.

According to EPA, diisocyanates are well known dermal and inhalation sensitizers in the workplace and have been documented to cause asthma, lung damage, and in severe cases, death. Worker exposures are already subject to protective controls in occupational settings, but EPA is concerned about potential health effects that may result from exposures to the consumer or self-employed worker while using products containing uncured TDI, such as spray-applied sealants and coatings.
ACA expressed concern that EPA based its perception of the usage of TDI on the agency’s most recent Chemical Data Reporting Rule (CDR) results. ACA underscored that chemical manufacturers, importers, and formulators are not required to report usage of chemicals below 25,000 pounds; as such, EPA’s data on usage of TDI is not complete because there are products on the market that contain very low concentrations of the listed TDI chemicals, or the substance qualifies for the polymer exemption and therefore does not trigger CDR reporting. ACA encouraged the agency to carefully review the data gathered during the comment period to ensure that it is not limiting current usage of the listed TDI and related compounds.

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