EPA Finalizes PFAS Data Reporting Rule
At the end of last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule that is anticipated to create the largest-ever data set of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in the United States.
According to the agency's press release, the rule is a key action in the EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap.
“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.”
The requirement under the Toxic Substances Control Act reportedly a statutory requirement under the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), mandating that all manufacturers and importers of PFAS and PFAS-containing articles in any year since 2011 must report information related to chemical identity, uses, volumes made and processed, byproducts, environmental and health effects, worker exposure and disposal to the EPA.
The final rule reportedly expands on the PFAS definition in the proposed rule, including 41 additional PFAS that were identified as being of concern. The EPA says it 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.
First proposed in June 2021, the agency explains that it has provided opportunities for public comment and stakeholder input, as well as a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel. An Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis was also released for public comment in November last year.
According to the EPA, the final rule streamlines reporting requirements and reduces the burden for those who made or used small quantities of PFAS for research and development purposes, as well as those who imported PFAS contained in articles.
Data is due to the agency 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.
PFAS Strategic Roadmap
In October of 2021, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the creation of the Agency’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap to address contamination regarding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
The PFAS Strategic Roadmap officially set 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.
“This roadmap will not solve our PFAS challenges overnight,” wrote Regan in the roadmap document. “But it will turn the tide by harnessing the collective resources and authority across federal, Tribal, state and local governments to empower meaningful action now.”
EPA’s integrated approach to PFAS is focused on three central directives:
“We need to gain a stronger and more complete science-based understanding of the problem, so we can put in place durable solutions that keep people healthy,” Regan said.
More information about the PFAS Strategic Roadmap can be found here.
Recent PFAS Reporting Rule
In June, the EPA issued a final rule to update the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) chemical list to identify nine additional PFAS subject to reporting requirements. According to the EPA, these nine PFAS were added to the TRI list pursuant to the Fiscal Year 2020 NDAA, which provides the framework for the automatic addition of PFAS to TRI each year in response to certain EPA activities involving such PFAS.
The final rule from the EPA officially incorporates these requirements into the Code of Federal Regulations for TRI. With this latest addition, the total number of PFAS subject to TRI reporting is now 189.
The EPA previously identified four of those nine PFAS for addition to the TRI list based on the NDAA’s provision to include certain PFAS upon the NDAA’s enactment. However, due to confidential business information (CBI) claims related to their identities, these PFAS were not added to the TRI list at that time.
The identities of these PFAS were subsequently declassified in an update to the TSCA Inventory in February 2022 because at least one manufacturer did not claim them as confidential.
Pursuant to the NDAA, the four chemicals added to the TRI list are:
Pursuant to the NDAA, the following five chemicals have been added to the TRI:
The EPA says that reporting forms for these PFAS will be due to the Agency by July 1, 2024, for calendar year 2023 data.