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DHS Says Certain Farms’ Hydrogen Peroxide Use May Not Comply with Chemical Security Rule

January 5, 2018

An 11-year-old law intended to minimize the risk of terrorist attacks in the U.S. may require dairy farmers to adjust their use of hydrogen peroxide as a sanitizer, based on information shared recently with NMPF by the Department of Homeland Security.

In 2007, Congress required the DHS to create a Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program. The program identifies and regulates high-risk chemical facilities to ensure they have security measures in place to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack using certain chemicals. The CFATS regulation lists more than 300 chemicals of interest (COI) which, if held in specified quantities or concentrations, trigger reporting requirements to DHS. Facilities are required to report their chemical holdings within 60 days of coming into possession of a COI.

To assist agriculture, DHS granted an indefinite time extension for certain activities at agricultural facilities. The extension applies to chemicals used for soil preparation and the treatment of crops, feed, land, livestock, or other areas of an agricultural production facility (for example, ammonia used as a fertilizer falls under the extension, but propane for fuel or hydrogen peroxide for cleaning and water treatment must be reported).

In the past year, DHS has been visiting agricultural operations that may have their chemical use covered by the indefinite exemption. DHS has inspected several dairy farms where chemicals used to clean equipment and hydrogen peroxide was used to treat water – both potentially non-exempt activities. DHS subsequently contacted NMPF staff and asked for help in sharing the chemical security requirements with dairy producers.

Regarding hydrogen peroxide, the rule states that hydrogen peroxide with a 35% or higher concentration is a Chemical of Interest. If the concentration is below 35%, it is not a COI and it will not trigger reporting. NMPF urges dairy producers using hydrogen peroxide on their farms to immediately begin using a solution less than 35%, or ensure they have less than the threshold reporting quanitity of 400 pounds on site at any time. NMPF staff are also exploring whether other chemicals being used could trigger the rule. More information can be found here. Otherwise, contact Clay Detlefsen .