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Volume XIII, Number 32

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EPA Proposes Rule to Eliminate TRI Exemption for PFAS

Yesterday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to reclassify per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as chemicals of special concern under the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). PFAS are widely used chemicals, some of which have been linked to certain adverse health effects. This proposed rule is expected to increase reporting of PFAS under the TRI by eliminating the de minimis exemption, an exemption that does not require facilities to report information on chemicals listed on the TRI when the chemicals are used in de minimis concentrations.

Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), the EPA requires that certain industry sectors (i.e., large manufacturing facilities, metal mining facilities, electric power generating facilities, hazardous waste treatment facilities) and federal facilities report the amount of each TRI-listed chemical that they release into the environment and/or manage each year.

Since 2020 the EPA has added 180 PFAS to the TRI with the intent of collecting information about PFAS usage, management, and release. However, because PFAS are used in small concentrations in many products, some facilities have not had to report their PFAS usage and management. Currently, the de minimis exemption does not require facilities to report on most TRI-listed PFAS if PFAS make up 1% or less of a product (the de minimis threshold for PFOA is 0.1%). The proposed rule would list all 180 TRI-listed PFAS as chemicals of special concern, rendering them ineligible for the de minimis exemption.

The EPA is also proposing to remove the de minimis exemption for all chemicals of special concern for purposes of the Supplier Notification requirements. Currently, the de minimis exemption allows suppliers to refrain from providing notification when a product contains less than 1% of a chemical of special concern. By removing the de minimis exemption, the EPA hopes to ensure that purchasers of products containing PFAS chemicals are informed of the presence of PFAS in the products they purchase.

Members of the public have until February 3, 2023, to comment on the proposed rule.

©2023 Pierce Atwood LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 340
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About this Author

Lisa Gilbreath, Pierce Atwood, Environmental lawyer
Associate

Lisa Gilbreath is an associate in the Environmental & Land Use and Energy Infrastructure Development, Acquisition & Financing practice groups. Lisa works on a wide variety of environmental and energy matters, offering clients strategic advice in regulatory, legislative, and judicial proceedings.

In her environmental practice, Lisa assists clients with numerous issues including energy project development permitting, energy and environmental litigation, air quality legislative and regulatory activities, air quality enforcement, hazardous substances and...

(207) 791-1397
Georgia M. Bolduc Environmental Attorney Pierce Atwood Portland, ME
Associate

Georgia Bolduc is an associate in the Environmental Practice Group, where she specializes in a broad array of environmental issues, including due diligence and permitting of renewable energy projects (particularly in the solar space), hazardous and solid waste management, air emissions, wastewater discharges, natural resource issues, and zoning law.

Georgia is a recent graduate of Boston University School of Law, where she was a member of the International Law Journal, secretary of the Energy and Environmental Law Society, and pioneered...

207-791-1249
Sara A. Murphy Litigation Attorney Pierce Atwood
Associate

Sara Murphy is an associate in Pierce Atwood's Litigation Practice Group, where she focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation and class action defense.

Sara represents clients from a number of different industries, including financial services, energy, pulp and paper, insurance, and professional services. Sara’s litigation practice includes disputes related to breach of contract, unfair trade practices, claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and other business-related torts. She also handles cases...

207-791-1185
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