EPA Proposes Phase-out for PIP (3:1)


EPA Proposes Phase-out for PIP (3:1)
A close up of a steel hydraulic arm. Applications for phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) include hydraulic fluids, along with other lubricants and greases. © Istvan / stock.adobe.com

The ability to use phenol, isopropylated phosphate as an ingredient in lubricants would end in five years under rule amendments proposed Monday by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The chemical, also referred to as PIP (3:1), came under the agency’s scrutiny several years ago as one of several chemicals classified as persisting in the environment and being bioaccumulative and toxic. In 2021 the agency adopted schedules to ban or phase out the use of some of the chemicals.

For PIP (3:1) the agency adopted a schedule to generally phase out use by October 2024, but it included exclusions for applications including aviation hydraulic fluids and some other lubricants and greases. The exclusions were included in response to objections raised businesses that said a ban would cause hardships because the chemical could not be replaced.

PIP (3:1) is a flame retardant and anti-wear additive.

Among other things, Monday’s proposal would phase out the exclusion for lubricant applications five years after adoption.

The agency said it wants to schedule the phase out of the chemical now because it “is toxic to aquatic plants, aquatic invertebrates, sediment invertebrates, and fish. EPA has identified adverse human health effects associated with exposure to PIP (3:1), including reproductive problems, neurological effects and damage to the liver, ovaries, heart and lungs.”

In coming weeks, the agency will host a webinar to explain the rules changes proposed for PIP (3:1) and other persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemical. It will also publish the proposals in the Federal Register, triggering a 45-day period for public comment.