More PFAS Added to EPA Toxic Release Inventory

Four more per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were added to the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list on January 24, 2022, as part of the Agency’s “comprehensive Strategic Roadmap to confront the human health and environmental risks of PFAS,” according to an EPA news release.

Regulatory framework

The process for adding additional PFAS to TRI is regulated under the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“Among other provisions, section 7321(c) of the NDAA identifies certain regulatory activities that automatically add PFAS or classes of PFAS to the TRI beginning January 1 the following year, and the agency’s finalization of a toxicity value is one of the triggering actions,” states the EPA news release. “In April 2021, EPA finalized a toxicity value for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) (Chemical Abstracts Service registry number (CASRN) 375-73-5) and potassium perfluorobutane sulfonate (CASRN 29420-49-3); therefore, these substances have been added to TRI.”

PFBS-based compounds replaced PFAS after they were voluntarily phased out in 2002. PFBSs are used in consumer products such as carpeting, carpet cleaners, and floor wax and have been found in the environment in dust, surface water, wastewater, and drinking water.

“EPA previously updated the Code of Federal Regulations with PFAS that were added to the TRI on January 1, 2021, pursuant to section 7321(c) of the NDAA and their being regulated by an existing significant new use rule (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (see 40 CFR 721.10536),” the news release continues. “EPA has since determined that one additional PFAS, CASRN 65104-45-2, is designated as ‘active’ on the TSCA Inventory and is covered by the SNUR.  Therefore, this substance has also been added to the TRI pursuant to the NDAA.

“Additionally, under NDAA section 7321(e), EPA must review CBI claims before adding any PFAS to the TRI list whose identity is subject to a claim of protection from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. 552(a). EPA previously identified one PFAS, CASRN 203743-03-7, for addition to the TRI list based on the NDAA’s provision to include certain PFAS upon the NDAA’s enactment (section 7321(b)(1)); however, due to a confidential business information (CBI) claim related to its identity this PFAS was not included on the TRI list until EPA completed its review of the CBI claim. This PFAS was included in updates to the confidential status of chemicals on the TSCA Inventory published by EPA in October 2021, and thus was added to the TRI list due to the CBI declassification.”

“We will use every tool in our toolbox to protect our communities from PFAS pollution,” says Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “Requiring companies to report on how these PFAS are being managed, recycled, or released is an important part of EPA’s comprehensive plan to fill critical data gaps for these chemicals and take meaningful action to safeguard communities from PFAS.”

Reporting requirements

Facilities subject to reporting requirements for these chemicals are required to begin tracking activities as of January 1, 2022, according to the requirements of Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The reporting forms are due July 1, 2023, for the 2022 calendar year.

Upcoming actions

The EPA news release states that the Agency will “soon announce a series of PFAS test orders that will require PFAS manufacturers to provide the agency with toxicity data and information on PFAS.”