In the midst of the pandemic, the EPA continues to take steps forward included in its February 2019 PFAS Action Plan to address short-term and long-term plans for regulating and tracking PFAS.
On December 20, 2019, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was signed into law adding certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the list of chemicals required to be reported to the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). PFAS were previously not required to be reported to the TRI. The TRI tracks the use and management of listed chemicals that may pose significant treats to humans and the environment. U.S. facilities in various industry sectors are required to annually report to the EPA how much of each listed chemical was released into the environment and/or manage through recycling, treatment, and energy recovery. By tracking this information, the TRI Program is able to provide the public with information about possible exposure to toxic chemicals and pollution prevention activities reduce exposure.
On February of 19, 2020, the EPA published an update list of PFAS chemicals added to the TRI list, which included a total of 172 PFAS. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler informed that “[t]he inclusion of these 172 PFAS on the TRI list will provide EPA and the public with important information on these emerging chemicals of concern.” In addition to the reporting requirements, the NDAA also established a 100-pound reporting threshold for each of the listed PFAS.
The EPA is now publishing a final rule that officially incorporates these reporting requirements and threshold into the Code of Federal Regulations for TRI. The addition of PFAS was effective January 1, 2020, and therefore, the 172 PFAS are reportable for the 2020 reporting year. Accordingly, the 2020 reporting for the 172 PFAS chemicals are due July 1, 2021. The EPA plans to release raw data collected for the 2020 reporting year by July 31, 2021.
Facilities included in TRI industry sections should track PFAS and collect data during 2020 to comply with reporting requirements. All TRI reporting requirements, such as supplier notification, apply to the recently included PFAS chemicals. In addition, TRI reporting exemptions, if applicable, are also available.
Our attorneys have been at the forefront of PFAS issues, including giving presentations as to the future waves of litigation stemming from PFAS issues. For more information, please contact any of our PFAS – Toxic Torts Team: Jessica Deyoe, Suzanne Englot, Alexandra Fraher,or John Gardella.