The US EPA has published a guidance document on reporting new uses for Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate Substances (PFAS) in Imported Articles with Surface Coatings. The requirement to report comes from a SNUR (significant new use rule) addressing Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate (LCPFAC) and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate Substances (PFAS). The guidance document is available on the EPA website.
The statements in this document are intended solely as guidance to aid in complying with the EPA regulation “Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate Chemical Substances Significant New Use Rule” and the implementing regulations in 40 CFR part 721.
SNURS under U.S. TSCA have typically only applied to substances and mixtures; however, the EPA appears to now be using SNURs to also control substances in articles. SNURs are a mechanism employed by the EPA that requires manufacturers and importers to notify the EPA of certain substances that are used for a purpose that has not been previously recorded. Organizations must report the use to EPA at least 90 days before manufacturing or importing occurs.
The Part III Guidance for Articles Subject to the SNUR states that electronic components, light bulbs, and solar panels are examples of articles that are subject to the SNUR.
The full text of the implementing regulation can be found at 40 CFR Part 721 and also in the Federal Register (85 FR 45109, July 27, 2020) and in the rulemaking docket, identified under EPA docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OPPT-2013-0225 and available online at https://www.regulations.gov.
The document provides a list of business types that may be covered by the guide. The list includes manufacturers of computer and other electronic products, appliances, and components (NAICS codes 324 and 335) as well as manufacturers of surgical and medical instruments (NAICS 339112).
Impact on EEE Manufacturers
To know whether the SNUR imposes a notification requirement (or not), manufacturers and importers need to know exactly which LCPFAC and PFAS substances are used in components and then need to check whether the application of those substances in their components are already registered.
A list of typical EEE applications vs. substances that require notification has not been compiled, making this SNUR a significant challenge for finished product manufacturers and especially SMEs.