By Lorrie Ritter, Regulatory Compliance Specialist
You might remember the old household thermometer breaking and those fascinating mercury beads rolling around the floor or counter. Back then, we did not grab the full HAZMAT suit or call an emergency call center for assistance, but we were truly ignorant of the potential dangers to heavy metal exposure to human health and the environment. You will struggle to find an old mercury thermometer now and we should all consider the current electronic thermometers as noteworthy progress. Can you imagine needing to use and oral thermometer during these past few pandemic years?
Mercury has traditionally been used in other consumer products such as:
- Some batteries
- Fluorescent light bulbs, including compact fluorescents (CFLs)
- Many types of thermometers
- Amalgam in dental fillings
- Thimerosal in vaccines
- Automotive switches
EPA’s 2018 rule “Reporting Requirements for TSCA Mercury Inventory: Mercury”
On November 8, 2021, a revision to this rule was published to the Federal Register.
The original 2018 rule requires reporting from persons who manufacture (including import) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process. This rule was challenged in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in July 2018, and the court issued its decision on June 5, 2020, invalidating an exemption for companies that import pre-assembled products containing a mercury-added component. In its decision, the court found that the exemption for importers of products containing mercury-added components was an unlawful interpretation of TSCA because it lacked a reasoned explanation.
This change went into effect on December 8, 2021. EPA estimates the new reporting requirement—including time spent learning the new rule, determining applicability, etc.—will result in a burden of 72,600 hours and $5.8 million in the first year or reporting.
Not every facility that has mercury on site will be required to report. The following groups are not covered by the new mercury reporting requirement:
- Persons who only generate, handle, or manage mercury-containing wastes
- Persons who only manufacture mercury as an impurity
- Persons engaged in activities involving mercury not with the purpose of obtaining an immediate or eventual commercial advantage
EPA is also working on exemptions for facilities that already report for mercury and mercury-containing products under TSCA Section 8(a) Chemical Data Reporting, or CDR, and the IMERC Mercury-added Products Database.
Your Regulatory Responsibility
As always, the responsibility of Product Safety and Regulatory Compliance is “cradle to grave.” At TotalSDS, we work diligently to analyze and properly classify all raw materials and final product compositions to safely and capture the hazards in our SDSs to produce, package and transport chemicals and chemical containing products including those containing heavy metals such as mercury. In addition, our work is critical for safe disposal of chemicals and chemical containing products. CDR reporting to the EPA is the tracking of chemicals from the raw material stage to disposal.
Our team at TotalSDS will be consistently monitoring updates from TSCA and all other regulatory agencies. Our goal is to ensure compliant SDS can be delivered using our TotalSDS Authoring software and to simplify your regulatory compliance. Request a demo today