In the Federal Register for Friday 09/17/2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), acting under the authority granted to it under section 5(a)(2) of the TSCA, issued as a final rule Significant New Use Rules (SNURS) affecting two chemical substances identified as generic multi-walled and single-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs and SWCNTs respectively). These SNURs are applicable to manufacturers, importers, and processors, who will be required to notify EPA at least 90 days in advance if they intend to use these substances "for a use that is designated as a significant new use by this final rule. . . . EPA believes that this action is necessary because these chemical substances may be hazardous to human health and the environment".

This final rule is the culmination of a process that has taken over a year. EPA had issued a direct final rule in the Federal Register issue of 06/24/2009. This direct final rule affected several chemical substances, including the MWCNTs and the SWCNTs, that had been the subject of various consent decrees issued by EPA. The language of the final rule affecting the MWCNTs read as follows:

Sec.  721.10155  Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (generic).

    (a) Chemical substance and significant new uses subject to reporting. (1) The chemical substance identified generically as multi- walled carbon nanotubes (PMN P-08-177) is subject to reporting under this section for the significant new uses described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.     (2) The significant new uses are:     (i) Protection in the workplace. Requirements as specified in Sec.  …