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 Manufacturing||Natural Gas Distribution|
|Commercial and Institutional Building Construction||Petroleum Lubricating Oil and Grease Manufacturing|
|Chemical Manufacturing||Industrial Gas Manufacturing|
|Plastics Material and Resin Manufacturing||Synthetic Rubber Manufacturing|
|Artificial and Synthetic Fibers and Filaments Manufacturing||Pesticide and Other Agricultural Chemical Manufacturing|
|Medicinal and Botanical Manufacturing||Pharmaceutical Preparation Manufacturing|
|Polish and Other Sanitation Good Manufacturing||Surface Active Agent Manufacturing|
|All Other Miscellaneous Chemical Product and Preparation Manufacturing||Unlaminated Plastics Film and Sheet (except Packaging) Manufacturing|
|Abrasive Product Manufacturing||All Other Miscellaneous General Purpose Machinery Manufacturing|
|Search, Detection, Navigation, Guidance, Aeronautical, and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing||Automobile Manufacturing|
|Motor Vehicle Supplies and New Parts Merchant Wholesalers||Office Equipment Merchant Wholesalers|
|Metal Service Centers and Other Metal Merchant Wholesalers||Refrigeration Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers|
|Other Miscellaneous Durable Goods Merchant Wholesalers||Paint, Varnish, and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers|
|New Car Dealers||Other 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 regulations.gov until March 27, 2023, under Docket # EPA-HQ-OPPT-2022-0867.