On June 10, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announced three actions demonstrating its commitment to help reduce the potential risks to the public from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). RELEASE
Those actions included issuing a proposed rule that is designed to gather comprehensive data on more than 1,000 PFAS manufactured in the United States, withdrawing guidance that altered EPA’s July 2020 Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) restricting certain long-chain PFAS, and publishing a final rule that officially incorporates three additional PFAS into the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Each action is summarized briefly below.
Proposed Rule to Require Reporting on PFAS Manufactured in the United States
The proposed rule would require all manufacturers (including importers) of PFAS in any year since 2011 to report information related to chemical identity, categories of use, volumes manufactured and processed, byproducts, environmental and health effects, worker exposure, and disposal.
The proposal would assist EPA to better understand the sources and quantities of PFAS manufactured in the United States and support the agency’s PFAS research, monitoring, and regulatory efforts. Once finalized, this rule would be the first targeted effort under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to collect information on the manufacture of PFAS and would provide EPA with the most comprehensive dataset of PFAS manufactured in the United States. The proposed deadline for reporting PFAS data to EPA is one year after the effective date of the final rule.
Withdrawing Compliance Guide on PFAS SNUR
Consistent with President Biden’s Executive Orders and other directives, including those on environmental justice, scientific integrity, and regulatory review, EPA withdrew compliance guidance that it believed weakened the July 2020 Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) which, among other things, prohibits companies from importing certain long-chain PFAS as part of a “surface coating” on articles without prior EPA review and approval. Articles that could contain these PFAS as part of a surface coating include, automotive parts, carpet, furniture, and electronic components.
The compliance guide was issued in January 2021 in the last days of the Trump Administration and limited what would be considered a “surface coating” subject to the SNUR. EPA removed the January 2021 compliance guide from the its website, and it is no longer in effect. No new guidance is expected to be issued.
Reporting PFAS to TRI
On June 3, 2021, the agency issued a final rule that officially incorporates requirements into the Code of Federal Regulations for TRI to include three new PFAS. The PFAS additions to TRI requirements became effective as of January 1, 2021. Reporting forms for these PFAS are due to EPA by July 1, 2022, for calendar year 2021 data. Rule.
Additional information regarding EPA’s actions on PFAS can be found at EPA PFAS.