EPA to Finally Track PFAS in Manufacturing
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), forever chemicals, are one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the world today. There are more than 10,000 PFAS, some of which are persistent, bioaccumulative toxic chemicals. So why don’t we just ban products that use them?
That’s hard when you don’t know which PFAS are being used, in which products, or for what reason. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to change that through a reporting rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that is now being finalized.
EPA first proposed the rule in 2021, noting that as a requirement under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), it would help establish baseline data for use under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by requiring “… all manufacturers (including importers) of PFAS in any year since 2011 to report information related to chemical identity, categories of use, volumes manufactured and processed, byproducts, environmental and health effects, worker exposure, and disposal,” as BuildingGreen reported at the time.
According to EPA, the updated rule streamlines the reporting process and includes 41 more PFAS compounds, bringing the total to 1,462 PFAS “known to have been made or used in the U.S. since 2011.”
PFAS is a unique chemical class. The health and environmental impacts of most PFAS are largely unstudied, and many hazardous forms are still used legally in the U.S. Its persistence in the environment, from which the “forever chemical” nickname derives, means the consequences become more significant over time. Since its use in many building products is often more of a convenience than a necessity—such as in stone sealants, textiles, or carpet—eliminating it from many products will have minimal performance impacts but potentially significant health and environmental benefits.
More on PFAS
For more information:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ehrlich, B. (2023, October 24). EPA to Finally Track PFAS in Manufacturing. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/newsbrief/epa-finally-track-pfas-manufacturing