EPA Seeking Input on PFAS Reports, Records
On Wednesday (Feb. 2), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was inviting small businesses, governments and not-for-profit organizations to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SERs) for a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel.
The established SBAR is slated to help the agency develop a rule that would require reporting and recordkeeping for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from certain persons who have manufactured (including imported) a PFAS in any year since Jan. 1, 2011.
In June 2021, the EPA announced three actions, including issuing the proposed rule that it said is designed to gather comprehensive data on more than 1,000 PFAS manufactured in the United States, withdrawing guidance that weakened EPA’s July 2020 Significant New Use Rule restricting certain long-chain PFAS and publishing a final rule that incorporates three additional PFAS into the Toxics Release Inventory.
The proposed rule, in accordance with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) section 8(a)(7), sets out to require reporting and recordkeeping from manufacturers (including importers) of PFAS at anytime since 2011 and is a statutory requirement under the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
The proposed rule requires that those certain persons submit certain information to EPA related to chemical identity, categories of use, volumes manufactured and processed, byproducts, environmental and health effects, worker exposure and disposal.
According to the EPA, the proposed rule would help the EPA better understand the sources and quantities of PFAS manufactured in the United States and support the agency’s PFAS research, monitoring and regulatory efforts under the PFAS Strategic Roadmap. The public comment period for this proposed rule closed on Sept. 27, 2021, after being extended in August.
To assist stakeholders in determining whether or not they have a reportable chemical, the EPA will provide examples, exemption notices and structural diagrams. The proposed deadline for reporting PFAS data to EPA was one year following the effective date of the final rule.
In addition to the new reporting action, the EPA withdrew a compliance guide that it says weakened the July 2020 Significant New Use Rule—this is in accordance with the Biden-Harris administration. The SNUR prohibits companies from importing certain long-chain PFAS as part of a “surface coating” on articles without prior EPA review and approval.
A month after the comment period closed, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the creation of the Agency’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap to address contamination regarding PFAS.
The PFAS Strategic Roadmap officially sets a series of timelines for the EPA to take specific actions and set bolder policies regarding PFAS. In addition, the plan also pledges to conduct more research and testing on hundreds of other PFAS, potentially listing additional compounds as hazardous substances in the future to better safeguard public health, protect the environment and hold polluters accountable.
By 2023, the roadmap aims to set a final rule for PFOS and PFOA regulation in drinking water and will designate two compounds as hazardous substances. That same year, the Agency intends to provide updated research on the available methods for disposing of or destroying PFAS through landfills, thermal treatment and deep-well injection.
In November, the EPA asked its Science Advisory Board to review draft documents regarding health effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The request for review is a result of recent scientific data regarding the negative health effects of lower levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) than previously understood and that PFOA is likely a carcinogen.
In response to public comments and additional information received during the comment period, the EPA has now announced that it is interested in convening an SBAR Panel.
The Panel will include federal representatives from the Small Business Administration, the Office of Management and Budget and EPA. The Panel members ask a selected group of SERs to provide advice and recommendations on behalf of their company, community or organization to inform the Panel members about the potential impacts of the proposed rule on small entities.
The EPA reports that it is seeking self-nominations directly from small entities that may be subject to rule requirements. Other representatives, such as trade associations that exclusively or at least primarily represent potentially regulated small entities, can also serve as SERs.
Self-nominations may be submitted and received by Feb. 16. Those interested in nominating themselves can do so by clicking here.