03 December 2019

EPA Seeking Comment on Adding PFAS to Federal Toxics Release Inventory

On November 25 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted a pre-publication version of an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking public comment on the Agency’s consideration of listing certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the EPA-maintained list of toxic chemicals subject to reporting under the federal Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The TRI program was created under section 313 of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 (42 U.S.C. § 11023) and section 6607 of the federal Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 13106). When chemicals are listed on the TRI, facilities that manufacture, process or use those listed chemicals in an amount above a defined threshold must report environmental releases and other waste management quantities to EPA and to states annually. EPA is now considering listing one or more of the thousands of PFAS chemicals — an umbrella term for chemicals historically used in manufacturing and consumer goods for their nonstick and flame-retardant properties — for TRI reporting. EPA is specifically requesting comment on which, if any, PFAS currently active in U.S. commerce could meet the listing criteria specified in EPCRA (e.g., “acute human health effects,” “chronic human health effects” or “environmental effects”) and also whether reporting would occur if one or more PFAS were to be added to the TRI. EPA is also considering whether to list any PFAS as a chemical of special concern, which would entail lower reporting thresholds if listed. In addition, EPA is seeking comment on whether it should list PFAS chemicals individually or in groups as chemical categories. EPA’s consideration of listing one or more PFAS on the TRI is consistent with its February 2019 “PFAS Action Plan” and continues EPA’s recent efforts to effectuate other specific deliverables from the PFAS Action Plan. Once this ANPRM is published in the Federal Register (which is expected on Wednesday, December 4), the public will have 60 days to file comments.