EPA Takes Action to Reduce the Occurrence of Perfluorinated Chemicals

EPA has proposed measures to ensure that perfluorinated chemicals that have been phased out do not re-enter the marketplace without review.  In 2006, EPA reached an agreement with companies to phase-out the chemicals by the end of 2015. Participating companies are on track to phase-out the chemicals by the end of 2015 and have successfully developed over 150 alternatives.
EPA is proposing this Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) for Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate chemicals in part in anticipation of this 2015 phase-out deadline. In 2013, EPA issued a final Significant New Use Rule for use of perfluorinated chemicals in carpets and carpet aftercare products. EPA has also issued other Significant New Use Rules on perfluorinated chemicals, including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFAS) that were voluntarily phased-out of production.
This proposal requires that anyone who intends to import these perfluorinated chemicals, including in products, or domestically produce or process these chemicals for any new use, submit a notification to EPA at least 90 days before beginning the activity. This notice will provide the agency with an opportunity to evaluate the new use and, if necessary, take action to prohibit or limit the activity.
None of the perfluorinated chemicals are currently regulated in drinking water but two of the most commonly occurring (PFOS and PFOA) are on the third Contaminant Candidate List (CCL).  Six are included in the third Unregulated Contaminant Rule (UCMR3) monitoring, underway now.  All of the compounds have been detected but in only a few samples (1% or less). However, PFOS has been detected above the reference concentration in a small number of systems which prompted action by the states and the water systems to reduce the health risk from this contaminant.
Information on this proposed rule and other actions EPA has taken on long-chain perfluorinated chemicals can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/actionplans/pfcs.html.  Information on progress on the 2010-2015 PFOA Stewardship Program can be found at: http://epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/pubs/stewardship/index.html.  Information on the detection of the chemicals in UCMR3 monitoring can be found at: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/ucmr/data.cfm#ucmr2013.