Phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) or “PIP (3:1)” is used as a plasticizer, flame retardant, anti-wear additive, or an anti-compressibility additive in hydraulic fluid, lubricating oils, lubricants and greases, various industrial coatings, adhesives, sealants, and plastic articles. As required under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the EPA issued five final rules on January 6, 2021 to reduce exposures to certain chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT). These chemicals build up in the environment over time and can therefore have potential risks for exposed populations, including the general population, consumers, and commercial users. Your business may be affected by this action if you manufacture (including import), process, distribute in commerce, or use phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) or products containing PIP (3:1), especially flame retardants in plastics used in consumer electronics. Learn more about PIP (3:1)
The EPA Announces Final Rule for Eliminating PIP (3:1) from Supply Chain
In a March 8, 2021, final rule published in the Federal Register, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reconfirmed that manufacturers and other industry stakeholders will have until October 31, 2024, to comply with a prohibition on the processing and distribution of articles – an EPA term for components, parts and finished products – containing the plasticizer and flame retardant chemical, phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)). The EPA, however, deferred a final decision on whether the deadline would be based on a product’s “manufactured by” date or if extra time would be granted for PIP (3:1)-containing articles and products already in the channels of commerce.
The EPA also extended the recordkeeping compliance date for PIP (3:1)-containing articles until October 31, 2024, to provide manufacturers, processors and distributors additional time to collect information about the presence of PIP (3:1) in their supply chains. The chemical PIP (3:1) may be present in certain music industry manufacturing products, such as components and accessories of consumer technology and related electrical items.
NAMM was among 38 associations and related industry stakeholders submitting comments to the EPA on this most recent compliance date extension proposal. In its submission, NAMM recommended that the compliance date be determined by a “manufactured by” date, rather than a prohibition of products already in distribution. NAMM noted that it would be more feasible to identify, avoid the use of, and find alternatives for, PIP-containing components at the point of manufacture. In addition, this approach would permit the “sell-through” of products already in the supply chain or on retail shelves. NAMM’s “manufactured by” position was shared by several other organizations, including the Consumer Technology Association which includes an array consumer technology and electronics companies.
While the EPA did not incorporate this request in the rule, the agency stated that it would consider the utility and drawbacks of a “manufactured by” date, the time needed for products to clear the channels of trade, and additional issues, in the context of a broader future rulemaking on PIP (3:1) and other Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) chemicals regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). It is anticipated that this rulemaking will commence in 2023.
Although the full details regarding the compliance requirements won’t be set until the 2023 rulemaking is done, manufacturers, distributors and retailers of music products should begin taking steps to comply with the regulation. These include: (1) knowing if PIP (3:1) is in your products, including components, parts and finished products, so that alternatives can be identified for any item containing PIP (3:1); and (2) reviewing the EPA’s recordkeeping requirements so that systems are in place to ensure compliance. This rulemaking also underscores the importance of engagement in the regulatory process. In early 2021, NAMM and several industry associations petitioned the EPA to reconsider and extend the initial and impracticable deadline set for March 2021. In response to these concerns, the EPA reopened the rulemaking and extended the compliance deadline to October 31, 2024.
Does This Apply to My Company?
Your company may be affected by this action if you manufacture (including import), process, distribute in commerce, or use phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)), or PIP (3:1)-containing articles, especially plastic articles that are components of electronics or electrical articles.
- Read the EPA’s Final Rule in the Federal Register
- Assess product supply chain for use of PIP (3:1)
- Make a plan for replacing PIP (3:1) in your supply chain
- Keep detailed records of your investigation into usage of PIP (3:1) in your supply chain