December 5, 2019

EPA Considers Future Rulemaking Related to PFAS

EPA will consider proposing a future rule to add certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, to its Toxics Release Inventory list of reportable chemicals. The agency opened a public comment period yesterday to inform the potential rulemaking, which is related to EPA’s PFAS Action Plan to address challenges with PFAS and in the environment. Due to concerns related to PFAS’ potential for environmental persistence and bioaccumulation, the agency is also considering whether to establish reporting thresholds for PFAS that are lower than the usual statutory thresholds. PFAS are fluorinated compounds found in a wide variety of products, including firefighting foam and stain-resistant carpets. Concerns about health effects from PFAS exposure, particularly those arising from occupational exposure among firefighters and environmental exposures to communities near military bases, have been widely covered by the news media.

EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. Information compiled in TRI comes from U.S. facilities that are required to report annually how much of each chemical covered by the TRI program is released into the environment or managed through recycling, energy recovery, and treatment.

The new advance notice of proposed rulemaking requests comments on which PFAS should be evaluated for listing in TRI, how to list them, and the appropriate reporting thresholds for PFAS. EPA also requests any additional data to inform the agency’s evaluation and determination of which PFAS may meet the listing criteria for TRI. Comments are due by Feb. 3, 2020. See the Federal Register notice for further details and instructions for submitting comments.

Related: The December 2019 installment of The Synergist’s “By the Numbers” series focuses on the problem of PFAS.