Amendments to Significant New Use Rule Regulations Finalized by EPA

Finalized amendments were recently issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for regulations covering Significant New Use Rules (SNURs). Here we present a brief overview of SNURs and look at several of the most significant updates associated with the amendments.

Significant New Use Rules

SNURs are used to require notice to the EPA before chemicals (substances or mixtures) can be used in new ways that might yield concerns. If the EPA concludes that a chemical's use constitutes a “significant new use”, relevant parties must then give at least 90 days’ notice (significant new use notice) to the Agency before manufacturing, importing, or processing of the chemical substance takes place for any activity related to that use. The EPA is required to assess associated risks, make a decision on the notice, and take appropriate actions (e.g., mitigating possible risks that may be detected in the process).

Several Key Changes

In its development and finalization of the amendments, the EPA aims to protect worker health and ensure access in the workplace to consistent hazardous chemical information. The amendments propose several key changes, including the following:

  • To align more closely with the regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) relative to worker safety, update general SNUR regulations.
  • To facilitate a reduction in occupational exposure, implement a Hierarchy of Controls-based approach.
  • To align more closely with OSHA’s HazCom requirements, update the rules of the EPA’s Hazard Communication Program for Safety Data Sheets (SDS), the labeling of hazardous substances, and more.
  • To facilitate compliance assessment with SNUR water release requirements, modify calculation requirements for chemical discharge to surface water.

More detailed information and a more comprehensive list of changes associated with the recent finalized amendments may be found by reviewing Federal Register citation 87 FR 39756.

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