EPA takes step towards PFAS legislation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced May 18 that it has taken the next step to implement an important per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) requirement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA added 172 PFAS to the list of chemicals required to be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and established a 100-pound reporting threshold for these substances.

“The inclusion of these 172 PFAS on the TRI list will provide EPA and the public with important information on these emerging chemicals of concern,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says.

As this action is being taken to conform the regulations to a congressional legislative mandate, this rule is effective immediately. Per the NDAA requirements, the PFAS additions became effective as of Jan. 1, 2020. Reporting forms for these PFAS will be due to EPA by July 1, 2021, for calendar year 2020 data. EPA expects to release raw data from information collected by July 31, 2021.

To provide clear information on which chemicals fall under the NDAA requirement, EPA released a list in February of 172 PFAS chemicals that are subject to TRI reporting. Facilities in TRI-covered industry sectors should track and collect data on these PFAS during 2020, EPA says. All TRI reporting requirements apply to these PFAS (e.g., supplier notification) and TRI reporting exemptions, if applicable, are available for these PFAS. TRI reporting requirements state that a facility should use readily available data collected pursuant to other provisions of law or, where such data are not readily available, reasonable estimates of the amounts involved.

EPA’s TRI is a 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.

The final rule is available online.