A series of articles published on October 1-2, 2019 review ongoing actions in regulating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and by a task force within the U.S. state of Connecticut. Non-governmental organization CHEM Trust also published a call for urgent action on the entire family of substances.
Regulatory news provider Chemical Watch reported that the EPA has submitted a proposal for a significant new use rule (SNUR) for long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate substances as well as for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA; CAS 335-67-1). The agency has also submitted an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to receive feedback from the public regarding the planned addition of some long-chain PFAS to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) toxic chemical list. The SNUR proposal will now enter a review process among government agencies, and the ANPRM will be dependent on progress from the U.S. House and Senate’s considerations of legislation to add chemicals into the TRI. The EPA’s administrator commented that the two proposals “are intended to provide the public with more information on PFAS in the environment and to ensure that EPA receives notice of any plan to import certain persistent long-chain PFAS into the country.” However, the plan has reportedly been criticized for focusing on long-chain substances and not addressing PFAS as an entire class of chemicals.
An inter-agency task force for PFAS within the state of Connecticut announced it has published a draft PFAS Action Plan. The plan focuses on minimizing current exposure and future releases as well as on identifying and cleaning up historical releases of PFAS into the environment. This includes assessing food-related exposure pathways, which covers food service ware. Specifically, the plan would support the evaluation of “whether the State can require the disclosure of products containing PFAS in Safety Data Sheets and in product labeling, and consider establishing an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program for certain consumer products containing PFAS.” The plan is open for public comment via email until October 15, 2019.
CHEM Trust announced that it has published a briefing that “highlights the threats posed [by PFAS] to the environment and human health by [the] family of over 4,000 highly persistent chemicals.” The briefing calls for urgent action and criticizes the speed of existing review and regulation of the chemicals within the family. “If we continue to regulate them at the current rate – one PFAS every 10 years – it will take over 40,000 years to regulate all of the 4,000 PFAS.” The briefing provides an overview of the class of chemicals including exposure pathways, properties, and existing regulation.
Lisa Martine Jenkins (October 1, 2019). “US EPA submits PFAS proposals for interagency review.” Chemical Watch
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (October 1, 2019). “Connecticut Interagency PFAS Task Force Releases Draft PFAS Action Plan for Public Comment.”
Kelly Franklin (October 2, 2019). “Connecticut PFAS taskforce floats disclosure, EPR requirements.” Chemical Watch
Julie Schneider (October 2, 2019). “Urgent action needed on highly persistent PFAS chemicals.” CHEM Trust
Chemical Watch (October 15, 2019). “UK NGO urges ‘immediate’ phase out of all PFASs.”