Two new rules recently adopted by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (“Maine DEP” or “the Department”) added formaldehyde and phthalates to the State’s list of Priority Chemicals. As of July 26, 2015, the Department now has the legal authority to regulate formaldehyde and four phthalates when they are intentionally added to “Children’s Products.” (Intentionally added chemicals trigger reporting requirements when they can be reliably measured (defined as “Practical Quantification Limit”); chemicals naturally occurring in products must be reported if they exceed 100 parts per million.) The new rules impose reporting requirements (and a one-time reporting fee) on manufacturers and distributors that must be submitted to the Department by December 18, 2015. The Department has been given the authority to bring enforcement actions against those failing to provide the required information on a timely basis.
Here’s a post for all you Environmental, Health, and Safety professionals following this blog.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration or Agency) has changed its reporting requirements for certain types of businesses with relatively low rates of occupational illness or injury. The list is based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) which replaces the old Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. Although the change reduces the number of businesses subject to routine recordkeeping, it expands the list of “severe work-related injuries” reportable by all employers.
Phthalates as Priority Chemicals – July 9, 2014
Yesterday, Maine DEP announced that it will consider listing four phthalates (pronounced THAY-lates) as “priority chemicals” under 38 M.R.S.A. § 1694. The phthalates, (di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), and diethyl phthalate (DEP)), are currently designated as “chemicals of high concern” and would be shifted to “priority chemicals” under the draft rule. Maine currently has five chemicals designated as priority status: BPA, NP/NPE, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury.
Phthalates are used as plastic softeners, fragrances, and cosmetic lubricants in items such as personal accessories, footwear, building products, furniture, cleaning products, interior furnishings, and office/school supplies. Maine’s draft rule targets the intentional use of phthalates. (Errant quantities of phthalates are commonly found in items such as food and water.) When quantities exceed de minimis limits, manufacturers (and distributors) must report their presence to the Department. They must also indicate how many units have been sold within the State, explain the chemical’s function within the product, and justify its use if it is included in a child’s product. A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for July 29 at 1:00 p.m. in Augusta. The comment period will close on September 29.