EPA Takes Key Step to Stop Unsafe PFAS from Reentering Commerce

January 30, 2023

Read the full article by EPA

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule that would prevent companies from starting or resuming the manufacture, processing or use of an estimated 300 per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that have not been made or used for many years without a complete EPA review and risk determination. In the past, these chemicals, known as “inactive PFAS,” may have been used in many industries in a variety of ways, including as binding agents, surfactants, in the production of sealants and gaskets, and may also have been released into the environment. Without this proposed rule, companies could resume uses of these PFAS absent notification to and review by EPA. The proposal reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to address the impacts of these forever chemicals, and is a key action in EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap.

“This proposal is part of EPA’s comprehensive strategy to stop PFAS from entering our air, land and water and harming our health and the planet,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “The rule would put needed protections in place where none currently exist to ensure that EPA can slam the door shut on all unsafe uses of these 300 PFAS.”

When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was first passed in 1976, thousands of chemicals were grandfathered in under the statute and allowed to remain in commerce without additional EPA review. Before TSCA was amended in 2016, EPA completed formal reviews on only about 20% of new chemicals and had no authority to address new chemicals about which the Agency lacked sufficient information, which is part of the reason why many chemicals, including PFAS, were allowed into commerce without a complete review."