Combustible dust and Hazardous Chemical Reporting

Adam Webb

The message below was emailed to our members in August 2015. The molder referred to in the first paragraph has now been fined. We’re sharing the information again as a reminder for those who are not currently completing the EPCRA reporting. For more on the dangers of comubstible dust, take a look at this frequently-shared video.

ARM has received information from a U.S. rotomolder that was visited by the EPA and received notice of a possible fine. The reason given was that they had onsite more than 10,000 lbs of polyethylene which is considered (as of June 1, 2015). a hazardous chemical because it contains combustible dust.

“Hazardous chemical” is defined broadly (the EPA told us there is no list) and is different from Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS). The definition of a hazardous chemical includes (but is not limited to) materials with combustible dust. (See additional information below.)


  • All of our U.S. members should review their state’s EPCRA Tier II reporting requirements. Links to each state are available here:
  • Check your Safety Data Sheets to be sure you’re properly documenting “hazardous chemicals”.
  • Assume you will be required to report for more than 10,000 lbs of any chemical with a combustible dust hazard, such as polyethylene (see threshold link below), unless you learn that your state’s rules are different.
  • Additionally, you may be required to submit SDS to your local emergency commissions.


EPCRA Information center: 800-424-9346

EPCRA website with Tier 2 Forms and Instructions:

Links to OSHA Hazard Communication Rule [look at details in section (f)(4)]

Link to OSHA Instruction (with information on timing in section IX)

Link to OSHA’s Combustible dust poster

Federal Regulations

  • 40 CFR 370.10 states… “must comply with hazardous chemical reporting if a non-EHS chemical is present at your facility at any one time in an amount equal to or greater than the threshold level for that hazardous chemical.
  • EPCRA Definition of hazardous chemical in 40 CFR 355.61 says to Refer to 29 CFR 1910.1200 (Labor).

The relevant passage of 29 CFR 1910.1200 reads:  “Hazardous chemical means any chemical which is classified as a physical hazard or a health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, or hazard not otherwise classified.”

One response to “Combustible dust and Hazardous Chemical Reporting”

  1. This is very helpful information; thanks for posting. At Avantech, one of our values includes “we will promote a safe work environment…” In addition to complying with regulations, promoting a safe workplace ensures that our employees can enjoy long, productive careers and provide for their families. This blog post is a great reminder to continue to align these words with action.

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