New Proposed Rule from EPA Aims to Prevent Companies from Manufacturing or Using Inactive PFAS Without EPA Review

On January 26, EPA released a proposed Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) that would prevent companies from starting or resuming the manufacture, processing, or use of “inactive” PFAS without a complete EPA review and risk determination under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). An “inactive” designation means that a chemical substance has not been manufactured (including imported) or processed in the United States since June 21, 2006. Without this proposed rule, companies could resume the use of an estimated 300 PFAS without notifying EPA.

When TSCA was first passed in 1976, these PFAS were grandfathered in under the statute and allowed to remain in commerce without additional EPA review. Under the 2016 Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, the Agency must now formally review the safety of all new chemicals before they are allowed into commerce. The proposed SNUR would apply to “inactive” PFAS which are not already subject to a SNUR. The proposal would require companies to notify EPA before they could start or resume the use of any of these PFAS, and EPA would need to conduct a review of health and safety information to determine if their use may present an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. If the Agency determines there is an unreasonable risk, EPA would put necessary restrictions in place before the use could begin.

The proposal is open for public comment until March 27.