The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed reporting and recordkeeping guidelines for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), under TSCA, in addition to the existing TRI reporting requirements. Also called “forever chemicals,” PFAS are a large group of synthetic chemicals that impact water, air and soil.
PFAS are found in consumer products worldwide, including nonstick cookware, firefighting foams, cosmetics, personal care products and cleaning solutions. PFAS chemicals don’t occur naturally in the environment. They can enter drinking water when products containing PFAS are used or spilled onto the ground or waterways.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers PFAS a public health concern. These chemicals have been linked to potential adverse effects, including:
- Increased risk of testicular or kidney cancer
- Heightened cholesterol levels
- Liver enzyme changes
- Infant developmental delays
- Increased risk of high blood pressure
Due to these associated risks, the EPA requires entities to provide a one-time detailed report of their PFAS uses. Learn more about these PFAS reporting requirements.
What Is TSCA 8a?
According to section 8(a)(7) of the EPA’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), any person who has manufactured, imported or processed PFAS since January 1, 2011, must electronically maintain and report data surrounding their uses, production volumes, exposures, disposal and hazards. More specifically, they must submit the following information:
- The name, molecular structure and chemical identity of each chemical substance or mixture
- Categories of use for each substance or mixture
- Descriptions of byproducts from the processing, manufacturing, disposal or use of the substance or mixture
- The total amount of each substance or mixture or a reasonable estimate of any proposed amounts
- Potential environmental and health effects of the substance or mixture
- The number of individuals exposed to the substance or mixture
- The manner and duration of each exposure
- Reasonable estimates regarding the number of individuals who will be exposed to the substance or mixture
- The duration and manner of anticipated exposures
This rule aims to help the EPA better characterize the quantities and sources of PFAS manufactured in the U.S.
What Are the EPA’s Latest PFAS Reporting Requirements?
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) lists 180 reportable PFAS for the reporting year 2022. The NDAA added nine PFAS to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list for the reporting year 2023. Entities subject to TRI reporting should start collecting data on these new chemicals during 2023.
Here are some of the reportable PFAS chemicals the NDAA has added to the list for 2023:
- Ammonium perfluorobutanoate
- Perfluorobutanoic acid
- Potassium heptafluorobutanoate
- Sodium perfluorobutanoate
Proposed Changes to EPA PFAS Reporting Rules
The EPA has proposed a few adjustments to TSCA 8a requirements in 2023. Here are the most recent proposals for its PFAS reporting regulations.
1. Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements
Any person involved in the manufacturing, processing or importing of forever chemical substances or mixtures must relay all pertinent information to the EPA. A recent change to this rule states that any company creating items using PFAS in their manufacturing process must also submit a report.
The rule requires manufacturers to report all PFAS uses since 2011, which may be challenging or impossible for some businesses. The EPA has acknowledged the difficulty in retrieving this information and is considering changes to this rule. The agency seeks comments on the following points to guide its revision of this rule:
- The number of small article manufacturers subject to the rule
- The number of hours small businesses would spend on understanding the PFAS structural definition
- The number of organizations that would be affected by enforcing PFAS reporting limits of either 2,500 or 25,000 pounds produced yearly
2. The De Minimis Exemption Removal
In December 2022, the EPA published a proposal removing the de minimis exemption for reporting small PFAS quantities subject to the TRI. Per the de minimis exemption, companies reporting to TRI could disregard chemicals in mixtures or trade name products under 1% concentration for each listed PFAS, except perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
The proposal would add PFAS to the Chemicals of Special Concern list and change its reporting requirements. To justify this proposal, the EPA stated it had received a shockingly low number of PFAS reports for the TRI 2020 reporting year, as many companies relied on the de minimis exemption.
The TRI program currently has 180 reportable PFAS chemicals, as mentioned previously. The NDAA requires entities that manufacture, process and use those forever chemicals to report thresholds of 100 pounds for each PFAS.
The newly proposed rule would remove the de minimis exemption and require entities to report PFAS usage regardless of its concentration in products. If this rule is finalized, many more manufacturers will have to disclose PFAS concentrations in their products.
State Notification Requirements
As of January 1, 2023, manufacturers in Maine must report the type and amount of each intentionally added PFAS to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). They must work with supply chain partners to determine if their products contain intentionally added PFAS.
The notification must include the following information:
- A product description
- The reason for using PFAS in the product
- The amount of each PFAS in the product
- The manufacturer’s name and address
- Any additional information required by the DEP
Many manufacturers couldn’t submit these notifications by January 1 due to the extensive reporting requirements. The DEP granted six-month extensions to over 1,000 organizations that requested additional time.
Maine is currently working with the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) to create an online reporting database, which wasn’t available before these reporting requirements were enacted. The state plans to eliminate PFAS in consumer products by 2030.
Additionally, several states like California, Colorado and Hawaii have recently enforced PFAS reporting requirements. Some have banned PFAS in certain products like carpets and rugs, children’s products, cookware and food packaging.
Entities in these states must allow themselves ample time to gather PFAS notification information and ensure they comply with both state and federal regulations. Some companies may need to partner with suppliers and other third parties to fulfill their reporting requirements accurately.
Partner With TRC to Manage Your PFAS Reporting
If you need assistance meeting the EPA’s PFAS reporting requirements, consider partnering with TRC Companies. Our subject-matter experts specialize in numerous areas regarding environmental, health and safety compliance programs, including PFAS reporting regulations.
We’ll work with your internal safety and environmental departments without disrupting your daily operations. We know that keeping up with fluctuating state and federal legislation can be a challenge. Our team can also provide an assessment of PFAS risk and liability and can help develop a PFAS risk mitigation or management plan.
Ensuring compliance with state and federal PFAS reporting requirements is essential but time-consuming. Contact TRC today to learn more about how we can help make this process easier for you.