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U.S. EPA Small Business Process for New Rulemaking on a Flame Retardant Found in Insulation Board

May 6, 2021

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working on a new rule related to hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), a flame retardant chemical that was used from the 1980s until 2017 as an additive to polystyrene to make insulation boards for construction.  An EPA risk assessment showed that there is a potential for worker exposure to HBCD particles.  EPA has asked AGC to identify small business construction representatives who can advise a panel of government lawmakers on their respective technical and financial abilities to meet clean-up or handling requirements that may be put in place regarding HBCD insulation board.  If you are a small business that uses/encounters polystyrene insulation boards in roofing, building envelopes or foundations during construction, renovation or demolition, then AGC is interested in hearing from you. AGC small-business contractors are needed to ensure the Agency takes a fair and balanced approach.

BACKGROUND

In accordance with the federal Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), EPA is convening a small business review panel.  The purpose of this panel is to solicit the advice and recommendations of representatives of small construction firms that may be affected by the forthcoming HBCD rule.  This panel will require a commitment of approximately five (5) hours over the next couple of months.  The SBREFA process specific to the HBCD rule is explained here.  Even though the deadline to participate has passed, there is still an opportunity to contribute.  Please let AGC know as soon as possible if you are interested in talking with AGC staff or representatives from the regulatory agencies about potential impacts to your operations.

Some of the questions the small business panel will be exploring are below.  These questions also provide AGC and its members with insight into the information that U.S. EPA is looking at in relation to this rulemaking. 

  • How is HBCD-containing dust generated? What types of controls are in place (perhaps to control other types of dust)?
  • Are new polystyrene boards containing HBCD are available for installation (from surplus supplies or reclaimers as they are no longer manufactured)?
  • What quantity of recycled or reclaimed HBCD boards are used?
  • What types of standing buildings have HBCD-containing insulation boards, e.g. what sizes and whether they are primarily residential, commercial, or industrial?
  • How do companies distinguish which insulation boards are made of polystyrene vs. other material, and which polystyrene insulation boards were manufactured using HBCD?
  • What would be the cost of compliance with specific regulatory options (EPA to provide examples)?

For more information, please contact Melinda Tomaino at melinda.tomaino@agc.org.

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