EPA Finalizes PFAS Rule for 329 Inactive Chemicals

Jan. 9, 2024
Substances must undergo further EPA evaluation before restarting manufacturing.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Jan. 8 it has finalized a rule that prevents companies from starting or resuming the manufacture or processing of 329 per- and poly-fluoroalkyl 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,” may have been used without review in many industries, including as binding agents, surfactants, in the production of sealants and gaskets, and may also have been released into the environment.

Without this rule, companies could have resumed uses of these PFAS absent notification to and review by EPA., the EPA stated in a news release

“Under President Biden’s leadership, EPA has shut the door on the possibility of anyone restarting use of over 300 PFAS without first ensuring a robust safety review to stop uses that could be harmful to our communities and our planet,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “For far too long, communities – particularly those with environmental justice concerns – have suffered the impacts of exposure to ‘forever chemicals.’ We’re continuing to use every tool at our disposal to better protect communities across the nation from these persistent and dangerous chemicals.”

The final rule applies to all PFAS that are designated as “inactive” on the TSCA Inventory and which are not already subject to a SNUR. EPA has aligned the rule with reporting requirements for the Active-Inactive rule, which designated these “inactive” chemicals.

If a company wants to use any of these 329 chemicals, they are required to notify EPA first. The agency would then be required to conduct a robust review of health and safety information under the modernized 2016 law to determine if the new use may present unreasonable risk to human health or the environment and put any necessary restrictions in place before the use could restart. Any new uses of PFAS would be considered under EPA’s framework for evaluating new PFAS and new uses of PFAS, announced in June 2023.

Read the full EPA press release here.

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