January 19, 2023

Changes to EPA's Safer Chemical Ingredients List Include Removal of One PFAS

EPA has added nine chemicals to its list of safer chemical ingredients and removed one that is classified as a per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS), the agency announced via email from its Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. The PFAS designated for removal is 1-Octanesulfonic acid, 3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7,8,8,8-tridecafluoro-, commonly known as halogenated aliphatic acid. The email does not identify the nine substances that were added but notes the changes bring the number of chemicals on the list to 1,064.

The Safer Chemical Ingredients List identifies substances that the agency has determined to be safer than traditional chemical ingredients. The list is an element of EPA’s Safer Choice initiative. Products that meet Safer Choice criteria qualify to carry a special label that identifies them as Safer Choice-certified.

The EPA website explains that the criteria for inclusion on the Safer Chemical Ingredients List are intended to protect against a range of toxicological effects from ingredients including carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive or developmental toxicants; persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals; systemic or internal organ toxicants; asthmagens; sensitizers; and chemicals on authoritative lists of chemicals of concern.

The process for adding substances to the list includes a review of hazard information gathered by a third party such as the National Science Foundation or ToxServices. Removal of a substance is not immediate, and first involves the addition of a special notation signifying that the chemical may not be allowed in products that are under consideration for the Safer Choice label.

According to the PubChem database, halogenated aliphatic acid is used as a fire extinguishing agent. It was originally added to the Safer Chemical Ingredients List in 2012. Its updated entry indicates that it is not used in Safer Choice-certified products and will no longer be listed starting in January 2024. The email from EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention explains that the designation for the substance was changed based on “a growing understanding of the toxicological profiles for certain PFAS and incomplete information on the potential health and environmental effects of these substances.”

For more information about PFAS, visit the EPA website.