EPA Announces Intent to Compile PFAS Manufacturing Information In Effort to Reduce Use

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its intent on Thursday to propose reporting requirements for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as part of an announcement of actions the EPA is taking to address the “forever chemicals” which have been released in the environment through various products. 

The announcement included three steps the EPA is taking to “better protect all communities from pollution, proposing a rule to require data for PFAS manufactured in the United States, withdrawing guidance which reportedly weakened restrictions on long-chain PFAS, and issuing a final rule to place three more PFAS in the Toxics Release Inventory. 

In the press release, Michal Freedhoff, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention said, “when it comes to tackling PFAS, EPA is committed to strengthening our rules, improving our data, and advancing our understanding of these complex chemicals, and then using this information to make informed decisions to protect people and the environment. … These actions will help us harness the best available science to develop policies and programs that can improve health protections for everyone, including those living in historically underserved communities.”

According to the EPA’s release, collecting PFAS data from manufacturers “is an important first step” towards understanding the risks from PFAS and reducing environmental and health risks caused by the chemicals. The proposed rule would require manufacturers of PFAS since 2011 to report what chemicals they used, volumes, byproducts, exposure, disposal, and environmental and health effects. Manufacturers would be required to report PFAS data one year from when the rule becomes final. 

If it becomes finalized, this rule would be the first regarding collecting information on PFAS manufacturing. The EPA explained that this rule would allow the EPA to compile a comprehensive data set regarding PFAS manufactured in the country. 

Earlier this month, a petition was sent by environmental and health groups asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to address the presence of PFAS in food. There have also been multiple environmental lawsuits filed against various companies alleging that they caused PFAS to enter the environment. Late last year, the EPA announced that PFAS would be considered as pollutants for pollutant discharge permits.