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Volume XI, Number 267

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Do You Import Products for Commercial Sale? Have You Heard About the ‘Forever Chemicals?’

These two worlds are colliding. If any of the products you sell contain hidden ‘forever chemicals’ you will be subject to EPA’s new reporting rule.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are known as the ‘forever chemicals’ due to their high persistence in the environment. There are over 1,300 different PFAS chemistries of varying shapes and sizes. Concerns exist regarding their impacts on human and environmental health. Though certain PFAS have been phased out, some of them continue to be widely used across many sectors and in many consumer products and industrial applications. In many cases, you may not know they are in products that you use or sell.

In an unprecedented and broad action, EPA has proposed a rule that would require reporting of PFAS by manufacturers and importers under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The definition of importers includes those that import articles for commercial purposes, as defined by TSCA. Thus, if you import articles (e.g., clothing, cookware, rugs, electronics, computers, paints, cleaning products, solvents, machinery, automotive parts) and sell them commercially in the US (or have sold them in the past 10 years), if those products contain any of the approximately 1,346 identified PFAS, you would be required to report. Items not covered by the TSCA definition, such as pesticides, foods, food additives, drugs, devices, cosmetics, tobacco products, and a few other categories would be excluded; however, the remaining universe is still quite large. As proposed, there is no exemption for de minimis levels, byproducts, or impurities in articles. Comments are due to EPA by August 27, 2021.

Copyright © 2021, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 209
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About this Author

Nancy Beck Regulatory Science Professional Environmental Compliance Hunton Andrews Kurth
Director of Regulatory Science

Nancy provides industry leaders with advice related to the impact of environmental policy, including chemical regulations and compliance programs, applying her in-depth knowledge and applied public health experience as a PhD toxicologist.

Nancy has over twenty years of applied public health experience, sixteen of which were from her time in government, including senior leadership positions at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House. As a PhD toxicologist she has a deep scientific understanding of chemical risk assessment,...

202-419-2076
Matthew Z. Leopold Environmental & Energy Attorney Hunton Andrews Kurth Washington, DC
Partner

Matt advises and defends clients across industries with the strategic insights as former General Counsel for the US Environmental Protection Agency, former General Counsel for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and a former environmental litigator at the US Department of Justice.

Matt provides his clients with in-depth experience and knowledge respecting the pivotal recent changes in environmental regulation. As EPA General Counsel, he counseled on the development and defense of virtually every significant regulation proposed by EPA since 2017 and was personally...

202-419-2041
Gregory R. Wall Environmental Litigation attorney Hunton Andrews Kurth Law Firm Richmond
Counsel

As a former US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) senior attorney, Greg uses his deep agency, regulatory and enforcement knowledge to assist clients in solving complex environmental matters, with specialized expertise in CERCLA/Superfund, brownfields, RCRA, FIFRA and TSCA legal issues.

With over 15-years of experience in environmental law, Greg assists clients in regulatory counseling, enforcement defense, litigation, and transactional matters. His experience in both private and public practice, in particular at EPA, provides him the ability...

804 344 7801
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