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January 25, 2022

EPA Announces Addition of Four PFAS to TRI List

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on January 24, 2022, the automatic addition of four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list. The Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provides the framework for adding additional PFAS to the TRI each year. For TRI Reporting Year 2022 (reporting forms due by July 1, 2023), reporting is required for four additional PFAS. NDAA Section 7321(c) identifies certain regulatory activities that automatically add PFAS or classes of PFAS to the TRI beginning January 1 the following year, and EPA states that its development of a final toxicity value is one of the triggering actions. In April 2021, EPA issued a final toxicity value for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) and potassium perfluorobutane sulfonate; therefore, these substances have been added to TRI. According to EPA, PFBS-based compounds are replacement chemicals for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), a chemical that was voluntarily phased out by the primary U.S. manufacturer by 2002. PFBS has been identified in the environment and consumer products, including surface water, wastewater, drinking water, dust, carpeting and carpet cleaners, and floor wax.
EPA notes that it previously updated the Code of Federal Regulations with PFAS that were added to the TRI on January 1, 2021, pursuant to NDAA Section 7321(c) and their being regulated by an existing significant new use rule (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (see 40 C.F.R. § 721.10536). EPA states that it has since determined that one additional PFAS, Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CAS RN) 65104-45-2, is designated as “active” on the TSCA Inventory and is covered by the SNUR. Therefore, this substance has also been added to the TRI pursuant to the NDAA.
Additionally, under NDAA Section 7321(e), EPA must review confidential business information (CBI) claims before adding any PFAS to the TRI list whose identity is subject to a claim of protection from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. Section 552(a). EPA previously identified one PFAS, CAS RN 203743-03-7, for addition to the TRI list based on the NDAA’s provision to include certain PFAS upon the NDAA’s enactment (Section 7321(b)(1)); due to a CBI claim related to its identity, this PFAS was not included on the TRI list until EPA completed its review of the CBI claim. EPA included this PFAS in updates to the confidential status of chemicals on the TSCA Inventory published in October 2021, and thus added it to the TRI list due to the CBI declassification.
EPA states that as of January 1, 2022, facilities that are subject to reporting requirements for these chemicals should start tracking their activities involving these PFAS as required by Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Reporting forms for these PFAS will be due to EPA by July 1, 2023, for calendar year 2022 data.