PIP (3:1)

Phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) or “PIP (3:1)” is used as a plasticizer,  flame retardant,  anti-wear additive, or an anti-compressibility additive in hydraulic fluid, lubricating oils, lubricants and greases, various industrial coatings, adhesives, sealants, and plastic articles. As required under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the EPA issued five final rules on January 6, 2021 to reduce exposures to certain chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT). These chemicals build up in the environment over time and can therefore have potential risks for exposed populations, including the general population, consumers, and commercial users. Your business may be affected by this action if you manufacture (including import), process, distribute in commerce, or use phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) or products containing PIP (3:1), especially flame retardants in plastics used in consumer electronics. Learn more about PIP (3:1)


Latest Update

The EPA Announces Final Rule for Eliminating PIP (3:1) from Supply Chain

In a March 8, 2021, final rule published in the Federal Register, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reconfirmed that manufacturers and other industry stakeholders will have until October 31, 2024, to comply with a prohibition on the processing and distribution of articles – an EPA term for components, parts and finished products – containing the plasticizer and flame retardant chemical, phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)). The EPA, however, deferred a final decision on whether the deadline would be based on a product’s “manufactured by” date or if extra time would be granted for PIP (3:1)-containing articles and products already in the channels of commerce.

The EPA also extended the recordkeeping compliance date for PIP (3:1)-containing articles until October 31, 2024, to provide manufacturers, processors and distributors additional time to collect information about the presence of PIP (3:1) in their supply chains. The chemical PIP (3:1) may be present in certain music industry manufacturing products, such as components and accessories of consumer technology and related electrical items.

NAMM was among 38 associations and related industry stakeholders submitting comments to the EPA on this most recent compliance date extension proposal. In its submission, NAMM recommended that the compliance date be determined by a “manufactured by” date, rather than a prohibition of products already in distribution. NAMM noted that it would be more feasible to identify, avoid the use of, and find alternatives for, PIP-containing components at the point of manufacture. In addition, this approach would permit the “sell-through” of products already in the supply chain or on retail shelves. NAMM’s “manufactured by” position was shared by several other organizations, including the Consumer Technology Association which includes an array consumer technology and electronics companies.

While the EPA did not incorporate this request in the rule, the agency stated that it would consider the utility and drawbacks of a “manufactured by” date, the time needed for products to clear the channels of trade, and additional issues, in the context of a broader future rulemaking on PIP (3:1) and other Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) chemicals regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). It is anticipated that this rulemaking will commence in 2023.

Although the full details regarding the compliance requirements won’t be set until the 2023 rulemaking is done, manufacturers, distributors and retailers of music products should begin taking steps to comply with the regulation. These include: (1) knowing if PIP (3:1) is in your products, including components, parts and finished products, so that alternatives can be identified for any item containing PIP (3:1); and (2) reviewing the EPA’s recordkeeping requirements so that systems are in place to ensure compliance. This rulemaking also underscores the importance of engagement in the regulatory process. In early 2021, NAMM and several industry associations petitioned the EPA to reconsider and extend the initial and impracticable deadline set for March 2021. In response to these concerns, the EPA reopened the rulemaking and extended the compliance deadline to October 31, 2024.

Does This Apply to My Company?

Your company may be affected by this action if you manufacture (including import), process, distribute in commerce, or use phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)), or PIP (3:1)-containing articles, especially plastic articles that are components of electronics or electrical articles.

Take Action


More Updates

  • 9/17/21: PIP (3:1) EPA Compliance Rule Extended to March, 8, 2022

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule on September 17, 2021 which includes another postponement - until March 8, 2022 - of a prior final rule to ban processing and distribution in commerce of certain uses of phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (better known as PIP (3:1)). The September 17 Federal Register final rule announcement also states that EPA will issue a separate and new notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the “near future” to provide industry stakeholders and other members of the public another opportunity to request, and document the need for, a further compliance extension.    

    The March 8, 2022, compliance extension applies to the processing and distribution of certain articles containing PIP (3:1) and other forms of PIP (3:1) to be used in such articles. PIP (3:1) may be found in articles such as electronics and musical instrument manufacturing is listed among “potentially affected entities.” There are a few narrow exemptions for products and industries but, in general, all other distribution and uses of PIP (3:1) have been banned since February 2021. 

    This extension is the second one. The first, contained in EPA’s No Action Assurance (NAA) notice provided an emergency extension of the original March 8, 2021, compliance date. That extension was for six months and slated to expire on September 5, 2021.

    In conjunction with the March 2021 NAA notice, the EPA also issued a request for more public comments on the PIP (3:1) compliance process. In response to this request, NAMM – working in collaboration with aligned industry partners – submitted written recommendations to EPA. Among other items, NAMM strongly recommended that EPA extend the compliance deadline to provide companies in the music industry with sufficient time to identify and replace article components containing PIP (3:1), address related complex supply chain issues, and sell-through existing stock. 

    EPA took these and similar industry comments under consideration in its recent announcement, which provides for the following:

    An extension of the compliance deadlines to March 8, 2022, for prohibitions on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) and associated recordkeeping requirements. The six-month extension is intended to give companies additional time to comply and to allow the sell through of existing stocks of articles that contain PIP (3:1).

    EPA will initiate a new proposed rulemaking on a further extension of the compliance dates for PIP (3:1) in articles. Such extensions will be considered if supported by data and specific information. There will an opportunity to submit documentation and related comments once the NPRM is issued.

    NAMM will continue to closely monitor EPA activities and keep NAMM members apprised of developments on this ongoing regulatory matter.   

  • 4/9/21: URGENT Request for Information for Formal Response to EPA Concerning Product Element PIP (3:1)

    4/9/21: URGENT Request for Information for Formal Response to EPA Concerning Product Element PIP (3:1)

    NAMM requests member participation in a survey that will assist in the preparation of a formal appeal to the US EPA concerning the timeline for implementation of PIP (3:1) product content compliance. Please submit and complete the survey by April 23, 2021 that summarizes company products that contain PIP (3:1), alternatives and efforts to remove or replace PIP (3:1) supply chains. This document outlines EPA’s requirement to eliminate the use of PIP (3:1), the delay on compliance issued by the EPA on March 8 and survey items; the survey can be completed online. Note that survey is confidential; information from the survey will be shared with the EPA by NAMM on behalf of its members.

    NAMM member companies can also submit comments directly to the EPA no later than May 17, 2021. The Federal Register notice contains important and detailed information on how to submit comments directly.

    Deadline: April 23, 2021

    Complete the Survey

  • 3/17/21: EPA Reopens PIP (3:1) Rulemaking for Additional Public Input with Comments Due May 17

    On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to request additional public comments on five final rules recently promulgated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  This notice opens a 60-day comment period for phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1), or (PIP 3:1), and four other chemicals that EPA designated as persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT).   

    This post focuses only on the PIP (3:1) Rule because of the short compliance timeline included in the Final Rule and its potential to have an adverse impact on a variety of music and related products.  As reported earlier, NAMM and other stakeholders directly contacted EPA officials to raise concerns about the feasibility of the Rule’s 60-day compliance deadline that was slated to take effect on March 8, 2021. 

    In response to concerns raised by NAMM as well as others, the EPA announced on March 8 that it was suspending the compliance provisions of concern. EPA has now reopened the rulemaking for more public input.      

    According to the EPA, PIP (3:1) is used as a plasticizer, a flame retardant, an anti-wear additive, on industrial coatings, adhesives, sealants and plastic articles.  Without EPA’s action to solicit additional input, all manufacturing and distribution of articles containing PIP (3:1) would have been banned as of March 9.  

    Persons or Businesses that May be Affected   

    Those that may be affected include persons or businesses that currently or may manufacture, process, distribute, use and/or dispose of products using PIP (3:1).  PIP (3:1) *may be found in:  

    • cords 
    • acoustic pianos 
    • guitar amplifiers 
    • consumer audio (i.e., consumer electronics) 
    • electronic keyboards, synthesizers and portable keyboards 
    • speakers and mixers (commercial and professional audio)  
    • digital recording interfaces  

    *Please note that this list includes possible products impacted; it is not exhaustive. 

    EPA No Action Assurance Letter 

    Earlier, EPA also issued a No Action Assurance letter and a request from the EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for that letter. These documents are all available on EPA’s website. In the letter, EPA noted that it would be exercising enforcement discretion not to enforce, in certain instances, the PIP (3:1) Rule’s compliance deadline for up to 180 days (around September 4, 2021).     

    The “No Action Assurance” specifically applies to violations of the prohibitions on the processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in articles, or articles containing PIP (3:1). This delay is intended to provide enough lead time for the submission of comments, EPA’s review of these comments, and possible revisions to the rule’s compliance deadlines.  

    It should be noted, however, that some requirements of the PIP (3:1) Rule remain enforceable. These include, but are not limited to, recordkeeping and a prohibition on release of PIP (3:1) into water during manufacture, processing and distribution. The recordkeeping requirements went into effect March 8, 2021 and do apply to manufacturers, processors and distributors.    

    Call to Action 

    EPA invites public comment and comments must be submitted to the EPA within 60 days from the Federal Register notice – so on or before May 17, 2021. 

    In particular, the EPA is seeking comments on issues associated with the March 8, 2021 compliance date in the PIP (3:1) Rule for certain regulated articles. To amend this deadline, EPA needs additional information about its impact as well as a workable alternative timeframe. But EPA cautions that, under the TSCA statute, rules must be in place “as soon as practicable” and allow for a reasonable transition period. 

    NAMM will be submitting a comment letter to the EPA that will largely focus on the need for a longer transition period and a reasonable extension of the compliance deadline. We strongly encourage affected NAMM members to do the same.   

    For example, you may wish to provide the nature of your business and describe the types of products affected by the rule. It would be particularly helpful to also include details on how long it will take to:   

    1. Identify the specific products with PIP (3:1).
    2. Ensure that PIP (3:1) is no longer in the products – which may entail finding or manufacturing alternative replacement components.

    Next Steps  

    • Identify products with PIP (3:1) and identify alternatives – with the aim of removing or replacing items with PIP (3:1). Such items could be in your supply chain.  
    • Comply with the Rule’s recordkeeping requirements – which remain in effect.     
    • Submit comments to EPA by no later than May 17, 2021. The Federal Register notice contains important and detailed information on how to submit your comments.     

    NAMM will be seeking additional input from its members concerning current use and planned phase out of PIP (3:1) in the coming weeks. Please contact Claire Kreger-Boaz if you have questions. 

    Important Link

    Federal Register notice on the proposed rulemaking and submission of public comments that includes procedures on how to submit comments that may include confidential business information (CBI).

  • 3/9/21: EPA Delays, Reopens Rule for Additional Public Input; NAMM Urged New Review Due to Short Compliance Timeline

    On the evening of March 8, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is delaying a Rule on the chemical Phenol, Isopropylated Phosphate (3:1) (PIP 3:1), pending further public comment and Agency review, including a re-examination of the compliance dates for certain products and articles. PIP (3:1) is considered a persistent, bioaccumlative and toxic (PBT) chemical under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and therefore subject to regulation or prohibition.

    The now-delayed Rule was issued on January 6, 2021 and included a problematic compliance date of March 8, 2021. If allowed to stand, this meant that in just 60 days, manufacturers and retailers of music products such as electronics containing PIP (3:1) would no longer be permitted to make, import, or sell these products.

    NAMM, as a member of a coalition with other interested stakeholders, urgently and directly communicated concerns about this unreasonable compliance timeframe to the EPA. NAMM informed agency officials, in conference calls and in writing, that the new prohibitions could impact articles used in a wide variety of music products, especially electronics, and that the supply chain would be significantly disrupted. We requested that a more reasonable compliance time be established to take into account products already in commerce as well as to allow sufficient lead time for manufacturers to identify and secure alternate components. NAMM’s concerns are outlined in a letter submitted to EPA officials in February. Members of our coalition further noted an array of additional products that would be adversely affected including cell phones, semiconductors, medical devices, and even equipment needed to store and move COVID-19 vaccines.

    In the announcement, the Agency said it will be taking the following steps:

    • Opening a new 60-day comment period for the public; and
    • Issuing a temporary 180-day “No Action Assurance” – which operates, essentially, as an enforcement delay.

    EPA will review the public comments, which could lead to changes to the Rule. EPA noted that the “specific issue” of extension of the compliance deadline will be addressed as part of the PIP (3:1) Rule’s re-examination. Read the EPA announcement. It also addresses rules for four other PBT chemicals, but the main focus is on PIP (3:1).

    The notice to officially open the 60-day public comment period will be published in the Federal Register; future posts will include a link to the notice and information on how to submit comments. NAMM will provide an update on the comment period timeline and once available, urges members to offer comments relative to the timeline and requirements to adjust product production supply chain and the elimination of PIP (3:1).

  • EPA Seeks Industry Comments on PIP (3:1) Rulemaking

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a proposal to further extend the deadline for compliance with certain prohibitions imposed on the use of the chemical phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1), known as PIP (3:1) to 2024. PIP (3:1) is one of several persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals EPA has addressed under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

    In September 2021, the EPA already gave manufacturers a temporary reprieve after stakeholders, including NAMM, raised concerns about the truncated compliance deadline and the disruptions it would cause to supply chains for electronic products and other critical consumer goods. The newly released proposal would extend the compliance date until October 31, 2024, and is intended to give companies time to find alternative solutions. The EPA is seeking industry comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking, Reg. 2070-AK95, with comments due by December 27, 2021.

    The proposed extension would apply to a wide range of articles containing PIP (3:1), including personal and industrial electronic and electronic devices, as well as articles used in plastics material and resin manufacturing. The proposed rule also provides a description of the specific kinds of information the agency requires to support further extensions of the compliance date. The agency indicated that it expects industry commentators to provide, among other things, specific uses of PIP (3:1) in their supply chains and concrete steps taken to identify, test and find substitutes for these uses, and the need for replacement parts. The EPA noted that without this specific information the agency will be unlikely to extend the compliance date again.

    The EPA proposal would also extend the compliance date for the recordkeeping requirements for manufacturers, processors, and distributors of articles with PIP (3:1) to October 31, 2024. The EPA will also broadly reconsider all five PBT rules issued in the final days of the Trump administration, including the PIP (3:1) rule. This review is expected to culminate in another proposal in 2023 and may include revisions to further reduce exposure to PBTs.

    Does This Apply to My Company?

    Your company may be affected by this action if you manufacture (including import), process, distribute in commerce, or use phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)), or PIP (3:1)-containing articles, especially plastic articles that are components of electronics or electrical articles.

    Take Action

    • Read the EPA proposed rulemaking summary.
    • Assess product supply chain for use of PIP (3:1).
    • Submit your comments by docket ID number EPA-HQ-2021-0598 by December 27, 2021.
    • Take the NAMM PIP (3:1) survey.