Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
EPA is publishing this rule without a prior proposed rule because we view this as a non-controversial action and anticipate no adverse comment. However, in the “Proposed Rules” section of today's
The regulations implementing the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program are codified at 40 CFR part 82, subpart G. The appendices to subpart G list substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) for specific end uses as unacceptable or acceptable with certain restrictions imposed on their use. In addition, a list of acceptable substitutes without restrictions is available at
This direct final rule regulates the use of Powdered Aerosol F (KSA®) and Powdered Aerosol G (Dry Sprinkler Powdered Aerosol (DSPA) Fixed Generators) by finding them acceptable subject to use conditions as substitutes for halon 1301 for use in total flooding fire suppression systems in normally unoccupied spaces. This action also finds C7 Fluoroketone acceptable subject to narrowed use limits as a substitute for halon 1211 for use as a streaming agent in portable fire extinguishers in nonresidential applications. Halons are chemicals that were once widely used in the fire protection sector but have been banned from production in the U.S. since 1994 because their emissions into the atmosphere are highly destructive to the stratospheric ozone layer. This action will provide users that need specialized fire protection applications with more alternatives to the use of halons. Businesses that may be regulated, either through manufacturing, distribution, installation and servicing, or use of the fire suppression equipment containing the substitutes are listed in the table below:
Section 612 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) requires EPA to develop a program for evaluating alternatives to ozone-depleting substances. EPA refers to this program as the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. The major provisions of Section 612 are:
On March 18, 1994, EPA published the original rulemaking (59 FR 13044) which established the process for administering the SNAP program and issued EPA's first lists identifying acceptable and unacceptable substitutes in the major industrial use sectors (subpart G of 40 CFR part 82). These sectors include: refrigeration and air-conditioning; foam blowing; solvents cleaning; fire suppression and explosion protection; sterilants; aerosols; adhesives, coatings and inks; and tobacco expansion. These sectors comprise the principal industrial sectors that historically consumed the largest volumes of ODS.
Section 612 of the CAA requires EPA to list as acceptable those substitutes that do not present a significantly greater risk to human health and the environment as compared with other substitutes that are currently or potentially available.
Under the SNAP regulations, anyone who plans to market or produce a substitute to replace a class I substance or class II substance in one of the eight major industrial use sectors must provide notice to the Agency, including health and safety information on the substitute at least 90 days before introducing it into interstate commerce for significant new use as an alternative. 40 CFR 82.176(a). This requirement applies to the persons planning to introduce the substitute into interstate commerce,
The Agency has identified four possible decision categories for substitutes that are submitted for evaluation: acceptable; acceptable subject to use conditions; acceptable subject to narrowed use limits; and unacceptable
After reviewing a substitute, the Agency may determine that a substitute is acceptable only if certain conditions in the way that the substitute is used are met to minimize risks to human health and the environment. EPA describes such substitutes as “acceptable subject to use conditions.” Entities that use these substitutes without meeting the associated use conditions are in violation of EPA's SNAP regulations. 40 CFR 82.174(c).
For some substitutes, the Agency may permit a narrow range of use within an end-use or sector. For example, the Agency may limit the use of a substitute to certain end-uses or specific applications within an industry sector. EPA describes these substitutes as “acceptable subject to narrowed use limits.” A person using a substitute that is acceptable subject to narrowed use limits in applications and end-uses that are not consistent with the narrowed use limit is using the substitute in an unacceptable manner and is in violation of section 612 of the CAA and EPA's SNAP regulations. 40 CFR 82.174(c).
The Agency publishes its SNAP program decisions in the
In contrast, EPA publishes decisions concerning substitutes that are deemed acceptable with no restrictions in “notices of acceptability,” rather than as proposed and final rules. As described in the preamble to the rule initially implementing the SNAP program (59 FR 13044; March 18, 1994), EPA does not believe that rulemaking procedures are necessary to list alternatives that are acceptable without restrictions because such listings neither impose any sanction nor prevent anyone from using a substitute.
Many SNAP listings include “Comments” or “Further Information” to provide additional information on substitutes. Since this additional information is not part of the regulatory decision, these statements are not binding for use of the substitute under the SNAP program. However, regulatory requirements so listed are binding under other regulatory programs (e.g., worker protection regulations promulgated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)). The “Further Information” classification does not necessarily include all other legal obligations pertaining to the use of the substitute. While the items listed are not legally binding under the SNAP program, EPA encourages users of substitutes to apply all statements in the “Further Information” column in their use of the substitute. In many instances, the information simply refers to sound operating practices that have already been identified in existing industry and/or building codes and standards. Thus, many of the comments, if adopted, would not require the affected user to make significant changes in existing operating practices.
For copies of the comprehensive SNAP lists of substitutes or additional information on SNAP, refer to EPA's Ozone Layer Protection Web site at
Powdered Aerosol F is acceptable, subject to use conditions, as a halon 1301 substitute for total flooding uses. As requested by the submitter, the use condition requires that Powdered Aerosol F be used only in areas that are not normally occupied. Powdered Aerosol F is used as a fire suppression agent in an aerosol fire-extinguishing system. It may be marketed under the name KSA®.
The submitter has claimed the composition of Powdered Aerosol F as confidential business information (CBI). You may find the submission under docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0111 at
All manufacturing occurs in a facility with strict controls on all raw materials and processes, so minimal release to the ambient air is expected during the manufacturing process. Because installation and servicing occur at very large sites, releases in such locations are expected to be well below the acceptable exposure limits. In the event of a fire, Powdered Aerosol F is dispersed as fine solid particulates, reacting to the heat to suppress the fire. The constituents of Powdered Aerosol F are not volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If all spilled and settled material in the manufacturing facility and all on-site (installation, servicing, and system discharge) releases are cleaned up and disposed of according to federal, state, and local requirements, consistent with the material safety data sheet (MSDS), no release to the environment is expected.
The post activation product of Powdered Aerosol F is entirely particulates, and as indicated by the submitter, of a fine size which makes it highly respirable. A constituent of Powdered Aerosol F, despite having low toxicity, can pose a human health risk because it can raise blood pH level if inhaled in sufficient quantities. The potential to increase blood pH is not considered a significant adverse health effect because the body can restore the pH to normal range. Using information provided by the submitter, we modeled a reasonable worst-case accidental release (without a fire), exposing maintenance personnel to the maximum design concentration provided by the submitter. Blood pH modeling indicates that Powdered Aerosol F is not expected to pose a significant health risk. This calculation and the assumptions for respirable amounts and releases of Powdered Aerosol F are included in the risk screen conducted for this substitute and are available in the docket for this rule. While the levels of soluble particles of Powdered Aerosol F are not expected to pose a significant health risk, EPA recommends the following:
Use of Powdered Aerosol F should conform to relevant Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, including 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart L, Sections 1910.160 and 1910.162. Per OSHA requirements, protective gear (self-contained breathing apparatus) should be available in the event that personnel re-enter the area after Powdered Aerosol F has been discharged.
Powdered Aerosol G is acceptable, subject to use conditions, as a halon 1301 substitute for total flooding uses. As requested by the submitter, the use condition requires that Powdered Aerosol G be used only in areas that are normally unoccupied. Powdered Aerosol G is a solid material in pellet form, which aerosolizes upon activation, and housed in various-sized generator units. Depending on the fire suppression requirement, a single generator or several generators may be used in the protected space. When electrically or thermally activated, Powdered Aerosol G produces combustion by-products (micron-sized particles and a gaseous mixture of primarily nitrogen (N
Of the organic constituents of Powdered Aerosol G, only hydrogen cyanide (a post-activation product) has not been exempted as a VOC as defined under CAA regulations (40 CFR 51.100(s)); however, it constitutes approximately 5x10
Exposure to the DSPA generator upon activation may result in irritation if inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or eye contact occurs. Exposure to an aerosol suppression agent may cause temporary, mild irritation of mucous membranes if inhaled and may cause slight irritation of the skin. In the event of an accidental discharge, the room should be immediately evacuated and the instructions listed in the MSDS for Powdered Aerosol G should be followed. Workers should not enter the space following discharge until all particles have settled and/or been ventilated and the gases released by the system have dissipated.
EPA finds that the use of the exposure controls discussed in the following sections and adherence with the appropriate occupational safety guidelines and requirements in the manufacturer's MSDS are sufficient to ensure that the manufacture, installation, maintenance, and cleanup of Powdered Aerosol G do not pose a risk to human health. Likewise, no consumer exposure is expected because Powdered Aerosol G systems are designed for use in commercial and industrial applications only in normally unoccupied spaces.
Powdered Aerosol G is not expected to pose a risk to workers during manufacture due to an automated production process. The only place where workers may be exposed to the constituents is during the loading of the processing vessel/mixer, which accounts for less than 10 minutes of the production time. According to the submitter, these workers wear PPE including protective suits, safety glasses, and respirators. The entire manufacturing space is ventilated with a local exhaust system to reduce airborne exposure of the Powdered Aerosol G constituents. The submitter reported to EPA that manufacture of Powdered Aerosol G pellets and generators does not take place in the United States. Only the final product, the Powdered Aerosol G generator unit, consisting of the rigid steel case containing solid blocks of the Powdered Aerosol G extinguishing compound is sold in the United States. In the “Further Information” columns of the tables summarizing today's listing decisions, EPA recommends the following for establishments filling, installing, or servicing generator units or systems to be used in total flooding applications:
Powdered Aerosol G generators are not expected to pose a risk to workers during installation, maintenance, and cleanup. In accordance with Department of Health and Human Services regulations (42 CFR part 84), safety glasses and a NIOSH/CDC-approved N99 respirator are required for individuals installing Powdered Aerosol G fixed systems. In the event of an accidental discharge, the manufacturer's MSDS should be followed, including the use of a NIOSH N99 respirator and goggles. For cleanup operations, workers should not enter the space after discharge until all particles have settled and/or been ventilated and the gases released by the system have dissipated. Workers entering the space before it has been ventilated should wear protective clothing, goggles, and a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). In accordance with the MSDS, EPA recommends the following:
Use of Powdered Aerosol G generators should conform to relevant OSHA requirements, including 29 CFR part 1910, subpart L, sections 1910.160 and 1910.162. Per OSHA requirements, protective gear (self-contained breathing apparatus) should be available in the event that personnel re-enter the area before the particles have settled (approximately 30-40 minutes after discharge) or before the space has been ventilated.
C7 Fluoroketone is also known as C7 FK or FK-6-1-14. This substitute is a blend of two isomers, 3-pentanone,1,1,1,2,4,5,5,5-octafluoro-2,4-bis(trifluoromethyl) (Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number [CAS Reg. No.] 813-44-5) and 3-hexanone,1,1,1,2,4,4,5,5,6,6,6-undecafluoro-2-(trifluoromethyl) (CAS Reg. No. 813-45-6). You may find the submission under docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0111 at
The physicochemical properties of the majority of halon substitutes make it unlikely that the substitutes would be released to surface water as a result of use. In the case of C7 Fluoroketone, the proposed substitute is insoluble in water and readily volatilizes. Thus, EPA expects that all of the constituents would rapidly vaporize during expulsion from the container, would not be likely to settle, and therefore would be unlikely to lead to surface water contamination or generation of solid waste.
C7 Fluoroketone has not been exempted as a VOC under the CAA (40 CFR 51.100(s)). VOC emissions from the production of portable extinguishers charged with C7 Fluoroketone are controlled through standard industry practices, and as such, emissions from manufacture of units are likely to be minimal. An assessment was performed to compare the annual VOC emissions from use of C7 Fluoroketone in portable extinguishers in one year to other anthropogenic sources of VOC emissions. This assessment is available in docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0111 under the name, “Risk Screen on Substitute for Halon 1211 as a Streaming Agent in Portable Fire Extinguishers Substitute: C7 Fluoroketone.” This assessment finds that even if the entire portion for streaming agent applications of the allowable quantity of C7 FK produced by the submitter in one year was all released to the atmosphere (extremely unlikely), the resulting VOC emissions would be approximately equal to 3.0 × 10
EPA evaluated occupational and general population exposure at manufacture and at end use to ensure that the use of C7 Fluoroketone will not pose unacceptable risks to workers or the general public. This risk screen is available in docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0111 under the name, “Risk Screen on Substitute for Halon 1211 as a Streaming Agent in Portable Fire Extinguishers Substitute: C7 Fluoroketone.”
EPA is providing the following additional information regarding use of C7 Fluoroketone as a streaming agent in nonresidential applications. Appropriate protective measures should be taken and proper training administered for the manufacture, clean-up and disposal of this product. For this new chemical, the manufacturer developed an acceptable exposure limit (AEL) for the workplace set at a level believed to protect from chronic adverse health effects those workers who are regularly exposed, such as in the manufacturing or filling processes. EPA reviewed the submitter's supporting data and accepts the manufacturer's AEL for C7 Fluoroketone of 225 ppm over an 8-hour time-weighted average.
EPA recommends use of C7 Fluoroketone as a streaming agent in accordance with the latest edition of NFPA Standard 10 for Portable Fire Extinguishers. We expect that users will be able to meet the recommended workplace exposure limit and address potential health risks by following the above recommendations, using the substitute in accordance with the manufacturer's MSDS, and following other safety precautions common to the fire protection industry.
OMB notified EPA on May 5, 2011, that it considers this action not a “significant regulatory action” under the terms of Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and it is therefore not subject to review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011).
This action does not impose any new information collection burden. This final rule is an Agency determination. It contains no new requirements for reporting. However, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has previously approved the information collection requirements contained in the existing regulations in subpart G of 40 CFR part 82 under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. and has assigned OMB control numbers 2060-0226 (EPA ICR No. 1596.08). The OMB control numbers for EPA's regulations are listed in 40 CFR part 9.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any other statutes unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Small entities include small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions.
For purposes of assessing the impact of today's rule on small entities, small entities are defined as (1) a small business that produces or uses fire suppressants as total flooding and/or streaming agents with 500 or fewer employees or total annual receipts of $5 million or less; (2) a small governmental jurisdiction that is a government of a city, county, town, school district or special district with a population of less than 50,000; and (3) a small organization that is any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.
After considering the economic impacts of today's final rule on small entities, I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This final rule will not impose any requirements on small entities beyond current industry practices. Today's action effectively supports the introduction of three new alternatives to the market for fire protection extinguishing systems, thus providing additional options for users making the transition away from ozone-depleting halons.
Use of halon 1301 total flooding systems and halon 1211 streaming agents have historically been in specialty fire protection applications including essential electronics, civil aviation, military mobile weapon systems, oil and gas and other process industries, and merchant shipping with smaller segments of use including libraries, museums, and laboratories. The majority of halon system and equipment owners continue to maintain and refurbish existing systems since halon supplies continue to be available in the U.S. Owners of new facilities make up the market for the new alternative agent systems and may also consider employing other available fire protection options including new, improved technology for early warning and smoke detection. Thus, EPA is providing more options to any entity, including small entities, by finding substitutes acceptable for use. The use restrictions imposed on the substitutes in today's rule are consistent with the applications suggested by the submitters and with current industry practices. Therefore, we conclude that the rule does not impose any new cost on businesses.
Although this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, EPA nonetheless has tried to reduce the impact of this rule on small entities. By introducing three new substitutes, today's rule gives additional flexibility to small entities that are concerned with fire suppression. EPA also has worked closely together with the NFPA, which conducts regular outreach with small entities and involves small state, local, and tribal governments in developing and implementing relevant fire protection standards and codes.
This action contains no Federal mandates under the provisions of Title II of the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538 for State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. This action imposes no enforceable duty on any State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. Therefore, this action is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 or 205 of the UMRA.
This action is also not subject to the requirements of section 203 of UMRA because it contains no regulatory requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small governments. This direct final rule will provide additional options for fire protection subject to safety guidelines in industry standards. These standards are typically already required by state or local fire codes, so this action will not affect small governments.
This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132. This regulation applies directly to facilities that use these substances and not to governmental entities. Thus, Executive Order 13132 does not apply to this action.
This action does not have tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 13175. It will not have substantial direct effects on tribal governments, on the relationship between the Federal government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal government and Indian tribes, as specified in Executive Order 13175. It does not significantly or uniquely affect the communities of Indian tribal governments, because this regulation applies directly to facilities that use these substances and not to governmental entities. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.
This action is not subject to E.O. 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997) because it is not economically significant as defined in E.O. 12866, and because the Agency does not believe the environmental health or safety risks addressed by this action present a disproportionate risk to children. This action's health and risk assessments are discussed in section II.
This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355 (May 22, 2001)), because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.
Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (“NTTAA”), Public Law 104-113, 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory activities unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. NTTAA directs EPA to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations when the Agency decides not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards.
This rulemaking does not involve setting technical standards. EPA defers to existing NFPA voluntary consensus standards and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations that relate to the safe use of halon substitutes reviewed under SNAP. EPA refers users to the latest edition of NFPA 2010 Standard on Aerosol Extinguishing Systems which provides for safe use of aerosol extinguishing agents and technologies and NFPA 10 Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers. Copies of these standards may be obtained by calling the NFPA's telephone number for ordering publications at 1-800-344-3555. The NFPA 2010 standards meet the objectives of the rule by setting scientifically-based guidelines for safe exposure to halocarbon and inert gas agents and aerosol extinguishing agents, respectively. In addition, EPA has worked in consultation with OSHA to encourage development of technical standards to be adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies.
Executive Order (EO) 12898 (59 FR 7629 (Feb. 16, 1994)) establishes federal executive policy on environmental justice. Its main provision directs federal agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, to make environmental justice part of their mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States.
EPA has determined that this final rule will not have disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority or low-income populations because it increases the level of environmental protection for all affected populations without having any disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on any population, including any minority or low-income population. This direct final rule would provide fire suppression substitutes that have no ODP and low or no GWP. The avoided ODS and GWP emissions would assist in restoring the stratospheric ozone layer, avoiding adverse climate impacts, and result in human health and environmental benefits.
The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the
Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Stratospheric ozone layer.
For the reasons set out in the preamble, 40 CFR part 82 is amended as follows:
42 U.S.C. 7414, 7601, 7671-7671q.