The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing a rule that will restrict imports of potentially harmful perfluorinated chemicals that could be used in carpets.
The regulation will require companies to report to EPA all new uses, including in domestic and imported products, of these chemicals once used for soil and stain resistance in carpets. These chemicals have been shown to persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in humans and animals; “they represent a potential threat to American’s health,” EPA said.
This action also follows the U.S. chemical industry’s voluntary phase-out of these chemicals and a range of actions by EPA to address concerns with these chemicals.
“While this category of chemicals has largely been voluntarily phased out by the U.S. chemical industry and not in use in this country, they could still be imported in carpets,” warned Jim Jones, EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, in a statement.
“This action will also provide a level playing field for those companies who stepped up to cease the use of these chemicals in this country, while at the same time protecting the American public from exposure to these chemicals in imported carpet products,” he said.
The final rule
, known as a Significant New Use Rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act, requires that anyone who intends to manufacture (including import) or process any long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic (LCPFAC) chemicals for use in carpets or carpet products submit a notification to EPA at least 90 days before beginning the activity, providing the agency with an opportunity to review and, if necessary, place limits on manufacturers or processors who intend to reintroduce or import products with these chemicals.