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PFAS Added to Toxic Release Inventory Reporting

At the end of 2019, President Trump signed into law the “PFAS Act of 2019” (contained in the National Defense Authorization Act), triggering reporting of  a significant number of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). 

Effective January 1, 2020, a significant number of PFAS are now covered by TRI reporting. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just published the list of 160 PFAS for reporting, which include PFAS that have been widely discussed (e.g., PFOS, PFOA, and Gen-X), as well as others that are the subject of “Significant New Use Rules” under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). It is likely that additional chemicals will be added after EPA completes the process of reviewing chemical identities that were claimed confidential business information under TSCA.

Reporting forms for these chemicals will be due by July 1, 2021, for calendar year 2020 data.  All TRI reporting requirements apply to these PFAS (e.g., supplier notification) and TRI reporting exemptions, if applicable, are available for these chemicals. The PFAS Act establishes TRI manufacturing, processing, and otherwise use reporting thresholds of 100 pounds for each of the listed PFAS, calculated over the entire calendar year. Remember that under EPCRA, “manufacturing” includes the manufacturing of a byproduct in waste, and that the 100 pound reporting thresholds apply regardless of any release.   

EPA plans to revise the EPCRA Section 313 list of reportable chemicals in the Code of Federal Regulations to include the 160 PFAS. Further, in subsequent years, the PFAS Act automatically adds certain PFAS to the TRI list based on several possible triggers and separately instructs EPA to consider adding even more PFAS to the TRI reporting list.

What does this mean? For 2020, persons who manufacture, process, or use chemicals will now have to consider and determine whether their chemicals include PFAS (including as a component in a purchased chemical mixture), and if so, gather data to support reporting or the conclusion that reporting is not necessary. 

©2020 Pierce Atwood LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 22


About this Author

Kenneth Gray, Pierce Atwood, Environmental lawyer

Ken Gray joined Pierce Atwood's Environmental Group in 1987 after practicing with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of General Counsel in Washington, D.C. Ken has practiced environmental law since his graduation from law school in 1979.

Ken concentrates on counseling and enforcement issues related to hazardous substance and hazardous waste management, cleanup, and liability, including toxic tort matters; chemical safety requirements under a variety of laws including the Occupational Safety and Health Act; product regulation including toxic...

(207) 791-1212
Lisa Gilbreath, Pierce Atwood, Environmental lawyer

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 hazardous waste management, and contaminated property remediation and cleanup.  She has broad experience obtaining the regulatory approvals for large transmission and other major energy infrastrucure projects, and works closely with her colleagues in the Energy Infrastructure practice group to provide clients with comprehensive development and siting counsel, particularly in the renewables space.  Lisa’s background in energy law gives her a unique ability to advise clients in matters that intersect environmental and energy law issues.

(207) 791-1397
Emily Dupraz Environmental Attorney Pierce Atwood Law Firm

Emily Dupraz provides counsel on environmental and land use matters including permitting, compliance, enforcement, and litigation support.  Her broad environmental practice spans the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, CERCLA, EPCRA, and their state equivalents, as well as other statutes and rules related to endangered species, natural resources, hazardous and solid waste, and local zoning.

Prior to joining Pierce Atwood, Emily was an associate in the trial and dispute resolution and environment and energy practice groups at Pepper Hamilton, LLP, where she represented businesses in the...