EPA Rule Eliminates Exemptions for Importers of Mercury-Containing Products
On November 2, 2021, the U.S. EPA announced revisions to its mercury inventory reporting rule under TSCA. The revisions eliminate an exemption for companies that import pre-assembled products containing a mercury-added component. The will result in companies that import certain batteries, switches, pumps, thermostats, fluorescent lights, and other industrial equipment to file reports under TSCA if parts within such products contain mercury.
The EPA’s mercury reporting rule took effect in 2018 and is intended to collect information from a wide range of industries that make or import mercury, add it to products, or intentionally use it in manufacturing. The intent is to use this information in the preparation of a national mercury inventory and serve as the basis for future regulations and other actions aimed at reducing mercury exposure.
The EPA’s revisions to the mercury reporting rule were made necessary as a result of a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in June 2020 ruling vacating the exemption for entities importing pre-assembled products with mercury-added components. Twelve states and the Natural Resources Defense Council challenged the exemption arguing it failed to protect public health because it excluded too many entities from the reporting obligation without a reasonable basis.
Companies that will now be subject to the mercury reporting rule as a result of this revision have until July 1, 2022, to report 2021 data to the EPA. However, compiling, verifying, and reporting such information can often be a significant undertaking, especially for a company that previously had not otherwise tracked and reported such data. Now that the EPA has announced these revisions, it is a good time for companies begin the process.