EPA Takes Important Step to Advance PFAS Action Plan, Requests Public Input on Adding PFAS Chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory
WASHINGTON (Nov. 25, 2019) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking the public for input on potentially adding certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the list of chemicals companies are required to report to the agency as part of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). This action supports the agency's February 2019 PFAS Action Plan, which describes EPA's long- and short-term actions to address PFAS.
"EPA continues to show critical leadership on addressing PFAS as we aggressively implement our PFAS Action Plan-the most comprehensive cross-agency plan to address an emerging chemical ever taken by EPA," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "I started at the agency as a career employee in the TRI program and exploring the addition of certain PFAS chemicals to the TRI is an important step that can enhance this tool and provide important information to the public on these chemicals for the first time."
EPA's TRI is an important tool that provides the public with information about the use of certain chemicals by tracking their management and associated activities. U.S. facilities in different industry sectors must report annually how much of each chemical is released to the environment and/or managed through recycling, energy recovery, and treatment. TRI helps support informed decision-making by companies, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the public. Currently, no PFAS chemicals are included on the list of chemicals that are required to be reported to TRI.
As EPA considers whether to add these chemicals, the agency will use public comments and information received in response to today's Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for two purposes. First, the public input will help the agency determine whether data and information are available to fulfill the TRI chemical listing criteria. Second, EPA will use the input to help evaluate the extent and usefulness of the data that would be gathered under TRI.
All comments and information received in response to this ANPRM will be evaluated along with previously collected and assembled studies. If EPA decides to move forward with adding PFAS chemicals to the TRI, the agency will publish a proposed rule and seek public comment on the proposal.
To view the ANPRM, visit https://www.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/pre-publication-version-advance-notice-proposed-rulemaking. The comment period will open upon publication of the Federal Register Notice on www.regulations.gov.
For more information on PFAS, visit www.epa.gov/pfas
For more information on TRI, visit www.epa.gov/tri
PFAS are a large group of man-made chemicals used in consumer products and industrial processes. In use since the 1940s, PFAS are resistant to heat, oils, stains, grease, and water-properties which contribute to their persistence in the environment.
The agency's PFAS Action Plan is the first multi-media, multi-program, national research, management and risk communication plan to address a challenge like PFAS. The plan responds to the extensive public input the agency received during the PFAS National Leadership Summit, multiple community engagements, and through the public docket. The PFAS Action Plan outlines the tools EPA is developing to assist states, tribes, and communities in addressing PFAS.
EPA continues to make progress under its PFAS Action Plan to protect the environment and human health. To date, EPA has:
Highlighted Action: Drinking Water
- The Agency is moving forward with the drinking water standard setting process outlined in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for PFOA and PFOS.
- As a next step, EPA will propose a regulatory determination for PFOA and PFOS by the end of this year.
- The Agency is also gathering and evaluating information to determine if regulation is appropriate for other chemicals in the PFAS family.
Highlighted Action: Cleanup
Highlighted Action: Monitoring
- EPA will propose nationwide drinking water monitoring for PFAS under the next UCMR monitoring cycle.
Highlighted Action: Toxics
- EPA has issued a proposed advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that would allow the public to provide input on adding PFAS to the Toxics Release Inventory toxic chemical list.
- A supplemental proposal to ensure that certain persistent long-chain PFAS chemicals cannot be manufactured in or imported into the United States without notification and review under the TSCA is currently undergoing interagency review at the Office of Management and Budget.
Highlighted Action: Surface Water Protection
- EPA plans to develop national Clean Water Act human health and aquatic life criteria for PFAS, as data allows.
- EPA is examining available information about PFAS released into surface waters by industrial sources to determine if additional study is needed for potential regulation.
Highlighted Action: Biosolids
- EPA will be developing risk assessments for PFOA and PFOS to understand any potential health impacts.
Highlighted Action: Research
- EPA continues to compile and assess human and ecological toxicity information on PFAS to support risk management decisions.
- EPA continues to develop new analytical methods to test for additional PFAS in drinking water.
- The Agency is also validating analytical methods for surface water, ground water, wastewater, soils, sediments and biosolids; developing new methods to test for PFAS in air and emissions; and improving laboratory methods to discover unknown PFAS.
- EPA is developing exposure models to understand how PFAS moves through the environment to impact people and ecosystems.
- EPA continues to assess and review treatment methods for removing PFAS in drinking water.
- EPA is working to develop tools to assist officials with the cleanup of contaminated sites. EPA is evaluating the effectiveness technologies and evaluating data on methods for managing the end-of life disposal of PFAS-contaminated materials.
Highlighted Action: Enforcement
- EPA uses enforcement tools, when appropriate, to address PFAS exposure in the environment and assists states in enforcement activities.
Highlighted Action: Risk Communications
- EPA will work collaboratively to develop a risk communication toolbox that includes multi-media materials and messaging for federal, state, tribal, and local partners to use with the public.