EHS Administration, Regulatory Developments


The EPA has proposed a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) that would prevent companies from starting or resuming the manufacturing, processing, or use of an estimated 300 per- and polyfluoroalkyl 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” because they haven’t been manufactured, imported, or processed in the United States in many years, may have been used in many industries in a variety of ways, including as binding agents and surfactants and 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 the EPA.

PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they break down very slowly and can build up in people, animals, and the environment over time. Exposure at certain levels to specific PFAS can adversely impact human health and other living things.

If passed as proposed, industries subject to the SNUR would be required to notify the EPA at least 90 days before commencing any manufacture, import, or processing of the chemical substance for a significant new use. Once the EPA receives a notification, the Agency is required to review and make an affirmative determination on the notification and take any actions required by the determination before manufacturing, importing, or processing for the significant new use can begin. Such a review will assess whether the use may present unreasonable risk to health or the environment and ensure the EPA can prevent future unsafe environmental releases of the PFAS subject to this SNUR.

Impacted industry includes:

Petroleum and Coal Product ManufacturingNatural Gas Distribution
Commercial and Institutional Building ConstructionPetroleum Lubricating Oil and Grease Manufacturing
Chemical ManufacturingIndustrial Gas Manufacturing
Plastics Material and Resin ManufacturingSynthetic Rubber Manufacturing
Artificial and Synthetic Fibers and Filaments ManufacturingPesticide and Other Agricultural Chemical Manufacturing
Medicinal and Botanical ManufacturingPharmaceutical Preparation Manufacturing
Polish and Other Sanitation Good ManufacturingSurface Active Agent Manufacturing
All Other Miscellaneous Chemical Product and Preparation ManufacturingUnlaminated Plastics Film and Sheet (except Packaging) Manufacturing
Abrasive Product ManufacturingAll Other Miscellaneous General Purpose Machinery Manufacturing
Search, Detection, Navigation, Guidance, Aeronautical, and Nautical System and Instrument ManufacturingAutomobile Manufacturing
Motor Vehicle Supplies and New Parts Merchant WholesalersOffice Equipment Merchant Wholesalers
Metal Service Centers and Other Metal Merchant WholesalersRefrigeration Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
Other Miscellaneous Durable Goods Merchant WholesalersPaint, Varnish, and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
New Car DealersOther Gasoline Stations
Waste Management and Remediation Services 

The proposed SNUR is the latest EPA action in its PFAS Strategic Roadmap, reflecting the current administration’s commitment to address the impacts of these forever chemicals.

“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 in an Agency news release. “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.”

Public comments on the proposed SNUR will be accepted at until March 27, 2023, under Docket # EPA-HQ-OPPT-2022-0867.

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