Enforcement and Inspection

EPA Continues PFAS Crackdown

On July 18, 2022, the EPA published the final rule “Implementing Statutory Addition of Certain Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Beginning with Reporting Years 2021 and 2022.” The rule adds five PFAS to the toxic chemicals list that must be reported under the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

“The Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provides the framework for the addition of PFAS to the TRI each year,” an EPA news release says. “As previously announced, for TRI Reporting Year 2022 (reporting forms due by July 1, 2023), reporting is required for four additional PFAS. [This] final rule officially incorporates these requirements into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for TRI. Additionally, this TRI update provides a conforming edit to the CFR to include a PFAS that met TRI listing requirements under the NDAA as of Reporting Year 2021.”

Addition of three PFAS with final toxicity values

The EPA finalized toxicity values for the following three chemicals in April 2021, which automatically adds them to the TRI list:

  • Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) (Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CASRN) 375-73-5)
  • Perfluorobutanesulfonate (CASRN 45187-15-3)
  • Potassium perfluorobutane sulfonate (CASRN 29420-49-3)

Reporting forms for these three PFAS will be due to the EPA by July 1, 2023, for calendar year 2022 data.

Addition of one PFAS no longer claimed as confidential business information

The NDAA requires the EPA to review confidential business information (CBI) claims before adding chemicals to TRI. The PFAS chemical CASRN 203743-03-7 was previously identified by the EPA as a chemical that was subject to addition to TRI. However, the chemical was subject to a CBI claim and was not added at that time.

“The identity of this PFAS was subsequently published in an update to the TSCA Inventory in October 2021 because at least one manufacturer did not claim it as confidential during prior reporting under the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule,” the news release continues. “Because it was no longer confidential, it was added to the TRI list.”

Reporting forms for PFAS chemical CASRN 203743-03-7 will be due to the EPA by July 1, 2023, for calendar year 2022 data.

Addition of one PFAS subject to a significant new use rule

Under the NDAA, certain regulatory activities, such as being subject to a significant new use rule (SNUR), automatically add PFAS or classes of PFAS to TRI beginning January 1 the following year. Last year, three PFAS were added to TRI on January 1, 2021, due to their addition to an existing SNUR under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The EPA has since determined that one additional PFAS, CASRN 65104-45-2, was designated as “active” on the TSCA inventory and was added to the SNUR in 2020. Because this chemical met the structural definition in the rule and was designated “active,” it triggered automatic addition to TRI under the NDAA, effective January 1, 2021.

The first reporting forms for PFAS chemical CASRN 65104-45-2, which met NDAA conditions as of January 1, 2021, were due to the EPA by July 1, 2022, for calendar year 2021 data.

Industry takeaway

The EPA has made it clear that the list of PFAS subject to reporting requirements will continue to grow. As the Agency continues to establish final toxicity values and issues new SNURs, regulated industry is advised to carefully review the TRI list each year for new PFAS additions to determine which chemicals must be reported. If the Agency continues its stated goal to crack down on PFAS, the number of reportable chemicals in this class has the potential to grow into thousands of new chemicals that must be reported each year.

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