EPA has compiled a roadmap outlining Key Actions to address the risks posed by PFAS. The roadmap identifies key actions under TSCA and other statutes including the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and Superfund.
The roadmap calls for EPA to “close the door” on abandoned PFAS; i.e., PFAS chemicals that are no longer produced. Many of these substances have no restrictions under TSCA. This leaves the door open for manufacturers to start producing the chemicals again. The roadmap intends for EPA to designate all uses of these substances that are not current uses as Significant New Uses. This will allow EPA to review and make determinations on the potential risks, and require safety measures, before allowing the manufacturing of those chemicals again. The roadmap states that EPA plans to implement this action item during the summer of 2022.
There is an ongoing goal of completing toxicity assessments for two PFAS known as GenX chemicals. EPA also has a goal to publish health advisories for GenX chemicals and PFBS in Spring 2022.
Other actions under TSCA include
- Publish national PFAS testing strategy,
- Review previous decisions on PFAS, and
- Finalize new PFAS reporting under TSCA Section 8.
Another key action in the roadmap is for EPA to categorize PFAS on the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) as “Chemicals of Special Concern” and to remove the de minimis eligibility from supplier notification requirements for all Chemicals of Special Concern. Adding PFAS to TRI has a projected completion goal of 2022.
The roadmap calls for restricting PFAS discharges from industrial sources through a multi-faceted Effluent Limitations Guidelines (ELG) program. EPA plans to undertake rulemaking to restrict PFAS discharges from organic chemicals, plastics and synthetic fibers, metal finishing, and electroplating operations. A proposed rule for plastics and synthetic fibers is expected in Summer 2023, and a rule for metal finishing and electroplating is expected in Summer 2024. Other industries EPA is considering issuing PFAS ELGs for include electrical and electronic components, textile mills, and landfills.
EPA has goal to establish a national primary drinking water regulation for PFOA and PFOS. EPA regulates drinking water for over 90 contaminants but that does not include any for PFAS. EPA expects to issue a proposed regulation in Fall 2022. The agency has a statutory deadline of March 2023 to complete this action.
EPA is developing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to designate PFOA and PFOS as CERCLA hazardous substances. This would require facilities to report on PFOA and PFOS releases that meet or exceed set reportable quantities. The proposed rulemaking will be available for public comment in Spring 2022. EPA is also asking for public comment on designating additional PFAS as hazardous substances under CERCLA.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants, which do not currently include PFAS. EPA plans to identify sources of PFAS air emissions, concentration levels, and cost-effective mitigation technologies.