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Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Inhance Technologies

Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Inhance Technologies

A federal appeals court has sided with Inhance Technologies, allowing it to continue production of the small, plastic lubricant containers many ILMA members rely on. 

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated orders issued by the EPA to Inhance in December 2023, which effectively would have shuttered Inhance’s operations across the U.S.

In its decision, the court adopted a narrow reading of the EPA’s authority under TSCA Section 5 to craft “significant new use rules” (SNURs). A three-judge panel unanimously held that the EPA’s recent discovery of PFAS contamination from Inhance’s decades-old fluorination process for plastic bottles is not “new” under the law and cannot be limited by a recent SNUR issued for certain long-chain PFAS.

The Inhance case has been closely followed because TSCA Section 5 applies to new chemical substances and significant new uses, while TSCA Section 6 applies to all chemical substances. The appeals court found that EPA was attempting to shoehorn Inhance into Section 5’s “new” scheme in order to avoid Section 6’s requirement that the agency conduct a cost-benefit analysis before prohibiting or limiting a chemical substance.

“ILMA is relieved that members’ supply chains for fluorinated plastic bottles will not be disrupted,” said ILMA CEO Holly Alfano. “We agree with the appeals court that Congress intended for the EPA to consider more carefully the effects of its TSCA regulations on manufacturing.”