EPA Finalizes Rule to Require Reporting of PFAS Data to Better Protect Communities from Forever Chemicals
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that will provide EPA, its partners, and the public with the largest-ever dataset of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) manufactured and used in the United States. This rule builds on over two years of progress on the Biden-Harris Administration’s action plan to combat PFAS pollution, safeguarding public health and advancing environmental justice, and is a key action in EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap.
PFAS are a category of manufactured chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. PFAS have characteristics that make them useful in a variety of products, including nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, and firefighting foam, as well as in certain manufacturing processes.
The reporting rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is a statutory requirement under the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that requires all manufacturers (including importers) of PFAS and PFAS-containing articles in any year since 2011 to report information related to chemical identity, uses, volumes made and processed, byproducts, environmental and health effects, worker exposure, and disposal to EPA.
“The data we’ll receive from this rule will be a game-changer in advancing our ability to understand and effectively protect people from PFAS,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “Today we take another important step under EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap to deliver on President Biden’s clear direction to finally address this legacy pollution endangering people across America.”
In order to effectively research, monitor, and regulate PFAS, EPA is taking action to better understand who is using PFAS, how they are being used, and in what quantities. This rule will produce actionable data that can be used by EPA, as well as state, local, and Tribal governments to craft policies and laws that protect people from dangerous “forever chemicals.”
Since EPA proposed this rule in June 2021, the agency has provided multiple opportunities for public comment and stakeholder input, including a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel in April 2022 and an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis released for public comment in November 2022.
The final rule expands on the definition of PFAS in the proposed rule to include 41 additional PFAS that were identified as being of concern. EPA has determined that at least 1,462 PFAS that are known to have been made or used in the U.S. since 2011 will be subject to the final rule, better capturing the important data the agency needs to protect human health and the environment from these chemicals.
The final rule also streamlines reporting requirements and reduces the burden for those who made or used small quantities of PFAS for research and development purposes and for those who imported PFAS contained in articles into the U.S.
Data is due to EPA within 18 months of the effective date of the final rule, with an additional six months for reports from small businesses that are solely reporting data on importing PFAS contained in articles.