U.S. PFAS Update: EPA Public Comment Period Open Now
In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a “Pre-publication Notice for TSCA Section 8(a)(7) Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances.”
The notice was ultimately published in the Federal Register on June 27. The EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule until September 27.
A few key points for manufacturers to understand are:
- This one-time regulation will authorize EPA to request and obtain information about products containing over 1,100 different PFAS substances imported into the country or manufactured in the USA over the past ten years
- This regulation was mandated in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. See Sec. 7351, “PFAS DATA CALL”
- The EPA has required this level of information in the past from industry, but, as far as I can tell, never from article-manufacturing industries. The key sentence resulting in the inclusion of these industries is:
… articles containing PFAS, including imported articles containing PFAS (such as articles containing PFAS as part of surface coatings), are included in the scope of reportable chemical substances.
In my opinion, the EPA significantly underestimates the number of respondents at 234 and the total estimated cost at just under $10 million per year for the entirety of the American manufacturing industry. A better understanding of the electronics industry and the supply chain would undoubtedly result in a far greater number of respondents and far higher cost estimate.
Note that small businesses are not excluded from these rules.
The EPA must publish a final rule no later than January 1, 2023. A six-month reporting period would begin six months after the effective date of the final rule. Now is the time to get your comments in!
European Union PFAS Update
On July 21, the European Chemicals Agency issued an email that said:
Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have submitted an intention to restrict the manufacture, placing on the market and use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) (EC/CAS -) on 15 July 2021. We expect to receive their restriction proposal by 15 July 2022.
The five countries have launched a survey on PFAS and their alternatives and are looking for more information for the intended restriction. The deadline for comments is 19 September 2021.
A regulatory management option analysis conclusion document (RMOA) is also available on our website.
As the amount of focus and level of interest has risen on PFAS in general over the past decade (beyond PFOA and PFOS), the likelihood of action has risen as well. Manufacturers whose products are dependent on these substances at any level would do well to assess their essentiality and alternatives as quickly and thoroughly as possible.