WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing measures to ensure that perfluorinated chemicals that have been phased out do not re-enter the marketplace without review.
”Through our environmental stewardship program, eight companies have helped us make real progress to reduce these chemicals as evidenced in the CDC findings,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We will continue that progress now that all importers and other domestic manufacturers will be required to give EPA an opportunity to review and restrict uses of these perfluorinated chemicals.”
The action builds on several EPA has taken since 2006, when reaching an agreement with companies to phase out the chemicals by the end of 2015. Participating companies are on track to phase out the chemicals by the end of 2015 and have successfully developed over 150 alternatives. EPA is also releasing the 2013 and 2014 companies’ progress in meeting the 2015 phase-out goal.
These chemicals are used in a range of industrial applications and consumer goods, including and paints. These chemicals are toxic, persist in the environment worldwide, and can accumulate in people and animals.
EPA is proposing the Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) for Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate chemicals in part in anticipation of this 2015 phase-out deadline. In 2013, EPA issued a final Significant New Use Rule for use of perfluorinated chemicals in carpets and carpet aftercare products. EPA has also issued other Significant New Use Rules on perfluorinated chemicals, including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFAS) that were voluntarily phased out of production.
This proposal requires that anyone who intends to import these perfluorinated chemicals, including in products, or domestically produce or process these chemicals for any new use submit a notification to EPA at least 90 days before beginning the activity. This notice will provide the agency with an opportunity to evaluate the new use and, if necessary, take action to prohibit or limit the activity.
Information on the proposed rule and other actions EPA has taken on long-chain perfluorinated chemicals can be found at http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/actionplans/pfcs.html.
Information on progress on the 2010-2015 PFOA Stewardship Program can be found at http://epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/pubs/stewardship/index.html.