Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of 5,000 synthetic chemicals that have been used in manufacturing since the 1940s and can be found in many consumer products like cookware, food packaging, and stain repellants. PFAS manufacturing and processing facilities, airports, and military installations that use firefighting foams are some of the main sources of PFAS. PFOA [1] and PFOS [2]  have been voluntarily phased out by industry but are still persistent in the environment. There are still many other PFAS chemicals including GenX [3]  chemicals and PFBS [4]  in use throughout United States. Many of these PFAS chemicals may bioaccumulate and are believed to lead to adverse health effects.

On December 4, 2019, US EPA published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) soliciting information from the public as the agency considers proposing a future rule on adding certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the list of toxic chemicals subject to reporting under section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Comments are due on February 3, 2020. Refer to 84 FR 66369 for more details.

On December 20, 2019, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA) was signed into law. Among other provisions, the FY 2020 NDAA added certain PFAS chemicals to the TRI list of reportable chemicals. Facilities should begin tracking the actual usage and releases of these chemicals during CY 2020 and will be required to report release to the environment by July 1, 2021 for the RY 2020. US EPA will be publishing a list of these TRI reportable PFAS chemicals in the near future.

A Toxic Release Inventory (EPCRA section 313) requires certain facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use listed toxic chemicals in amounts above reporting threshold levels to report their environmental releases and other waste management quantities of such chemicals annually.

EPA is considering proposing a future rule on adding certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the list of toxic chemicals subject to reporting under section 313 with a lower threshold quantity than the usual statutory thresholds (25,000 pounds for manufacturing or processing and 10,000 pounds for otherwise using listed chemicals) due to their persistent and bioaccumulation potential.

PFAS are synthetic organic compounds that do not occur naturally in the environment. The strong carbon-fluorine bonds of PFAS make them resistant to degradation and thus highly persistent in the environment. Therefore, releases of some PFAS to the environment and potential human exposure may be of concern.

According to the ANPRM, the affected facilities include almost all types of manufacturing facilities like agricultural products, textile, wood, paper, printing, petroleum, rubber, fertilizer, pharmaceutical, paints & coatings, chemicals, plastic, rubber, glass, iron & steel, aluminum, foundries, forging and stamping, metals, hardware, engines, turbines, power transmission, transportation, and paper publishers to list a few.

Facilities should begin assembling an inventory of all PFAS chemicals being processed, manufactured, or otherwise used at their facilities, especially those soon to be added to the TRI list of reportable chemicals in response to the CY 2020 NDAA law. Facilities must also evaluate where, how, and in what quantities each of these PFAS chemicals are released into the environment. It is likely a foregone conclusion, that in the coming years many more PFAS chemicals will be added to the TRI list of reportable chemicals with reporting thresholds far lower than 10,000 or 25,000 lbs.

Please contact Veena Raman at (614) 794-3570 ext. 125 or or Ron Hansen at (614) 794-3570 ext. 121 or if you have any questions or need assistance with your TRI reporting requirements.

[1] Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) also know as C8 (CAS No. 335-67-1)
[2] Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) (CAS No. 1763-23-1)
[3] GenX is a Dupont Trademark name for a chemical process and chemical. It also refers to a mixture of fluorochemicals that are found in point source pollution of GenX production facilities.
[4] Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS) (CAS No. 375-73-5)