As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan, the agency announced on June 22 that it is issuing a final rule giving it the authority to review an expansive list of products containing PFAS before these products could be manufactured, sold or imported in the U.S. This action, issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), means that EPA is prohibiting companies from manufacturing, processing or importing products containing certain long-chain PFAS, which persist in the environment and can cause adverse health effects, without prior EPA review and approval. As part of the agency’s review, EPA could place restrictions on these products to protect public health.
“As EPA marks the fourth anniversary of amendments to TSCA, this new rule gives the Trump administration a powerful new tool to protect public health,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says. “The regulation can stop products containing PFAS from entering or reentering the marketplace without our explicit permission. EPA is committed to aggressively addressing these chemicals of concern under the PFAS Action Plan.”
This final rule strengthens the regulation of PFAS by requiring notice and EPA review before the use of long-chain PFAS that have been phased out in the U.S. could begin again. Additionally, products containing certain long-chain PFAS as a surface coating and carpet containing perfluoroalkyl sulfonate chemical substances can no longer be imported into the U.S. without EPA review.
This action means that products like ski wax, carpet, furniture, electronics and household appliances that could contain certain PFAS chemicals cannot be manufactured, imported, produced or sold in the U.S. unless EPA reviews and approves the use or puts in place the necessary restrictions to address any unreasonable risks.
According to the EPA, this action also levels the playing field for companies that have already voluntarily phased out the use of long-chain PFAS chemicals under EPA’s PFOA Stewardship Program by preventing new uses of these phased out chemicals. Before this action, the use of these PFAS could have commenced without EPA approval.
More information on the final rule is available online.