Numerous industry groups and manufacturers and have taken issue with a proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the use of 15 chemicals.
The groups argued those chemicals have been used by manufacturers for decades and remain in production currently, and therefore cannot be subject to a new EPA significant new use rule, or SNUR.
“EPA has no authority to issue SNURs for uses which are ongoing,” the American Chemistry Council argued in comments on the proposed rule, which were due earlier this month.
The chemicals in question are nonylphenols, which are used in treating other chemicals; and nonylphenol ethoxylates, which can be used to harden epoxies and are found in consumer products including home care, personal hygiene and automotive products.
The EPA proposal would require federal oversight for any use of 13 of the chemicals, with oversight for the other two chemicals required except in certain cases, including their use as an intermediate or in curing epoxies.
The agency said the chemicals can accumulate in surface water and sediment following industrial and wastewater discharges, and can have toxic effects on aquatic life.
A group of water treatment officials backed the change, as did environmental groups. The Environmental Defense Fund said the EPA should include an evaluation of the chemicals' impacts on human health in its final rule.
The American Chemistry Council and other groups, meanwhile, also took issue with how the EPA would define those chemicals, arguing that determination should be made in consultation with the industry.