• Leadership Update

EPA to Issue Conditional Exemption for Recalled Takata and Other Defective Airbag Units

Last week, U.S. EPA released a pre-publication version of an interim final rule related to the recall of defective Takata airbag units.

This interim final rule is intended to ease the regulatory burden for entities (e.g., auto service centers mainly and auto recycling yards) that remove defective Takata or other defective airbag units under a recall.

When removing such defective units from vehicles, these entities would generally be generators of hazardous waste airbag units. This interim final rule provides regulatory relief for these entities by conditionally exempting them from being hazardous waste generators. The conditional exemption includes limitations on accumulation quantities (up to 250 units within time limit) and time (up to 180 days within quantity limit), appropriate packaging and labeling of units for shipment, a prohibition against unit reuse, shipping units to only permitted or authorized facilities, and tracking and recordkeeping requirements to ensure proper shipping and delivery of units.

EPA notes that the interim final rule, because it eases requirements, takes effect immediately only in states where EPA has authority over hazardous waste. States authorized by EPA to implement and enforce hazardous waste regulations may adopt the interim final rule, but are not required to do so. EPA is issuing this conditional exemption as an interim final rule to allow the rule to take effect immediately while EPA also takes comment on the rule. EPA is also seeking comment on whether the conditional exemption should “include other similar propellant-actuated devices and their components.” This interim final rule does not take effect until it is published in the Federal Register. The comment deadline will be 60 days after that. If you have questions or comments on the interim final rule, please contact Chief Scientist/Director of Environmental Management David Wagger at (202) 662-8533.

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