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Imports of Seven Ethylene Glycol Ethers to Require Advance Notice

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final rule that, effective Feb. 17, 2015, will impose import restrictions on seven ethylene glycol ethers (also known as glymes) that can cause health effects such as birth defects and blood toxicity. Glymes are a category of chemicals used as industrial solvents and processing aids, and some are also used in consumer products, including as a component of inks, paint, coatings, adhesives, graffiti removers and soldering compounds.

Under this rule persons must notify the EPA at least 90 days before commencing the import, manufacture or processing of:

- monoethylene glycol dimethyl ether (monoglyme) for any use in a consumer product;

- diethylene glycol dimethyl ether (diglyme) for any use in a consumer product;

- ethylene glycol diethyl ether (ethylglyme) for any use in a consumer product;

- diethylene glycol diethyl ether (ethyldiglyme) for any use in a consumer product, except as a component of inks, coatings and adhesives and as a component of paint/graffiti removers;

- triethylene glycol dimethyl ether (triglyme) for any use in a consumer product, except as a solvent in consumer adhesives, in brake fluid, as a component of consumer paint/graffiti removers, and in consumer paints;

- diethylene glycol dibutyl ether (butyldiglyme) for any use in a consumer product, except as a component of inks, coatings and adhesives and as a component in soldering compounds; or

- triethylene glycol dibutyl ether (butyltriglyme) for any use.

The EPA has also added monoglyme to its Work Plan for Chemical Assessments and will conduct a risk assessment to determine if further risk reduction actions on this chemical should be taken.

The EPA believes that new uses of these seven glymes should not be allowed without an opportunity to review and, if necessary, place restrictions on them, as warranted. However, seven glymes that had been included in the proposed rule have been omitted from the final rule because the EPA does not believe they are sufficiently similar to those listed above and thus do not raise the same potential exposure concerns.

Importers of the glymes subject to this rule must certify their compliance with the rule’s requirements. Any persons who export or intend to export a chemical subject to this rule are subject to the export notification provisions of 15 USC 2611(b) and must comply with the export notification requirements in 40 CFR part 707, subpart D.

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