EPA Announces Three PFAS Actions Intended to Help Collect Information on PFAS and Reduce Potential Risks to the Public

On June 10, 2021, EPA announced three actions to help reduce potential risks to the public from PFAS. 

The actions include: (1) a proposed rule requiring reporting on PFAS manufactured in the U.S.; (2) the withdrawal of a Compliance Guide on the July 2020 Significant New Use Rule (“SNUR”) for long-chain PFAS that narrowly defined “surface coating” to only include the use and reuse of a product, not its disposal; and (3) adding three PFAS to the Toxic Release Inventory. 
 
Proposed Rule to Require Reporting on PFAS Manufactured in the U.S.
The proposed rule under TSCA Section 8(a)(7) will require all manufacturers (including importers) of PFAS in any year since 2011 to report information related to the chemical identity, categories of use, volumes manufactured and processed, byproducts, environmental and health effects, worker exposure and disposal of PFAS. The proposed rule includes definitions, examples and structural diagrams to help manufacturers determine whether they have manufactured PFAS that are subject to the rule (EPA has identified at least 1,364 chemical substances and mixtures). The proposed rule does not require reporting on PFAS that are excluded from the definition of “chemical substance” in TSCA section 3(2)(B), such as pesticides, food additives and cosmetics. There is no exemption for small manufacturers or the manufacture of PFAS as a byproduct.
 
The proposed rule will require manufacturers to report information that is “known to or reasonably ascertainable by” the manufacturer, to be defined as “all information in a person’s possession or control, plus all information that a reasonable person similarly situated might be expected to possess, control or know.” The Pre-Publication Notice explains that this standard could require manufacturers to conduct an inquiry within the entire scope of their organization, as well as potentially reach out to suppliers, users or others involved in research and development, import or production, or marketing of the PFAS.
 
The proposed deadline for reporting PFAS data to EPA pursuant to this rule is one year following the effective date of the final rule. There is also a 5-year recordkeeping period for any information reported to EPA under the proposed rule.
 
Comments must be received on or before 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
 
Withdrawal of Compliance Guide on PFAS SNUR.
In line with guidance from the Biden Harris Administration, EPA withdrew a compliance guide from its website that it viewed as weakening the SNUR on importing articles such as automotive parts, carpets, furniture and electronic components with long-chain PFAS in the surface coating. The compliance guide limited what would be considered a “surface coating” subject to the SNUR to relate just to its use or reuse, and did not take into account disposal of the product. The SNUR remains in effect.
 
Implementing Requirements to Report PFAS to TRI.
The NDAA provided a framework for additional PFAS to be added to TRI on an annual basis, and automatically added three PFAS (Perfluorooctyl iodide, Potassium perfluorooctanoate, and Silver(I) perfluorooctanoate) to the list for Reporting Year 2021. Reporting forms for these PFAS are due to the EPA by July 1, 2022 for calendar year 2021 data.
 
For more information about our PFAS Counseling and Litigation practice, please contact Stephanie Gase at sgase@leaderberkon.com