EPA Issues Significant New Use Rule for Brominated Flame Retardant HBCD

Published September 30, 2015

EPA has issued a new final rule that designates the use of hexabromocyclododecane or 1,2,5,6,9,10-hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in consumer textiles as a “significant new use.” HBCD is a category of brominated flame retardants.

The rule will require those intending to manufacture or process HBCD as part of consumer textiles to notify EPA at least 90 days prior to starting new uses of these chemicals in products. The agency would then evaluate the intended use of the chemical and could take action to prevent any potential “unreasonable risks” to human health and the environment from exposure to HBCD. The significant new use rule (SNUR), which was issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 23.

The use of HBCD in motor vehicles and other current uses of HBCD are not covered by the rule because they are not considered new uses.

According to EPA, animal studies indicate potential human health effects of HBCD, including effects on the thyroid and potential reproductive toxicity. The agency also notes that “laboratory studies have shown that HBCD is capable of producing adverse effects in a variety of organisms, including algae, fish, invertebrates, and soil-dwelling organisms at environmentally relevant concentrations.”

For more information about this SNUR, see the Federal Register notice.