WASHINGTON – On Oct. 26, the Environmental Protection Agency published a proposed rule requiring manufacturers and importers of mercury and mercury-added products or any other person who intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process to provide the EPA with both quantitative and qualitative information about the elemental mercury and mercury compounds involved in their activities.
The EPA is proposing an initial reporting deadline of July 1, 2019, with subsequent reports due every three years thereafter. Each report would cover only the preceding calendar year.
As part of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the EPA must publish an inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade in the US in 2017 and every year thereafter. The reporting rule requires covered persons to provide the EPA with information the agency needs to prepare that inventory.
The list of potentially affected industries includes printed circuit board and semiconductor, coating and adhesive manufacturing, among others.
Reporting requirements focus on those who first manufacture mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process. The proposed rule would not apply to persons generating, handling or managing mercury-containing waste, unless that person manufactures or recovers mercury and uses it or stores it for use. Nor would it apply to those merely engaged in the trade of mercury, those importing mercury-added products for personal use and not for commercial purposes, those manufacturing mercury incidentally (such as by burning coal) or those importing a product that contains mercury solely as a component in a mercury-added product (such as a toy with a mercury-added battery). It would, however, apply to mercury or mercury-containing by-products manufactured for commercial purposes and to the storage of mercury and mercury-added products after manufacture.
The EPA is accepting comments on the proposed rule until Dec. 26.