New TSCA Rule Keeps Inactive PFAS Inactive

Posted on 1/9/2024 by Roger Marks

More than three hundred per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) not currently made or used in the US, i.e., “inactive PFAS,” may not be manufactured or processed in the future unless EPA completes a full risk review and determination first. 

Proposed in early 2023, the recently announced Final Rule to prevent these 329 so-called “forever chemicals” that are not currently in use from re-entering the marketplace and environment. 

The Final Rule covers 329 PFAS that are designated as “inactive” on the TSCA Inventory and which are not already subject to a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR).

Read EPA’s announcement about the Final Rule ( Lion News continues to track this rulemaking and will update this post when the Rule is published to the Federal Register with an effective date.

New TSCA Rule Keeps Inactive PFAS Inactive

What is a SNUR?

When a chemical substance is covered by a TSCA Significant New Use Rule (SNUR), any person who wants to produce, process, or import that chemical for a “significant new use” must notify EPA 90 days in advance. 

A SNUR typically includes details about what activities involving the chemical EPA considers significant new uses. A SNUR might stipulate, for example, that “manufacturing or importing Chemical X for use as an additive in paints or coatings.”  Anyone who wishes to manufacture/import/process/use that specific chemical for that specific use would be required to notify EPA 90 days in advance.

SNURs may also be broad in scope, like the new SNUR covering more than 300 PFAS. In this case, the “new use” is manufacturing or importing the chemical for any use. This means that anyone who wishes to manufacture/import/process one of 300+ covered inactive PFAS inventory will be required to notify EPA 90 days before starting the activity.

How Does EPA Know These PFAS Are Inactive? 

The 329 PFAS covered by the new SNUR are “inactive” on the TSCA inventory, meaning none of them have manufactured, imported, or processed for any purpose in the US since at least 2006.  

We know this because, in 2016, EPA required many chemical facilities to provide data about their manufacturing and import activities over the prior ten years. EPA used the data to divide the TSCA inventory into those chemical substances that are “active” in the past ten years and those that are inactive.  In all, about half (48%) of the nearly 90,000 chemicals on the TSCA Inventory were found to be active in commerce. 

Five years later, in 2021, EPA required similar reporting from manufacturers and importers of PFAS, covering chemical production, importing, processing, and use since 2011. The data collected likely informed EPA’s decision about which PFAS are currently active in commerce and which are inactive. 

TSCA Regulations Online Course

Be confident you know how EPA's Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulations impact your responsibilities for chemical management, inventory reporting, and recordkeeping.

The TSCA Regulations Online Course covers what professionals in the chemical manufacturing, import/export, storage, and processing fields must know to achieve and maintain TSCA compliance. 

Tags: environmental compliance, environmental regulations, PFAS, TSCA

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