EPA proposes TRI reporting changes surrounding PFAS

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February 23, 2023 - On December 5, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rule changes that would increase reporting obligations for all Chemicals of Special Concern, including PFAS, to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Pursuant to Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), certain facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use specified toxic chemicals in amounts above reporting threshold levels must submit annually to EPA and to designated State officials toxic chemical release forms containing information specified by EPA via either a Form R (one chemical is reported per form) or Form A (multiple chemicals may be reported per form). Currently, facilities subject to the TRI reporting requirements may use either the TRI Form R or, if they meet alternate threshold requirements, the TRI Form A.

PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” are manufactured fluorinated carbon compound chemical additives present in such items as pizza boxes, carpeting, cleaning products, water resistant fabrics, nonstick cooking materials, and nearly everything in between. Most recently it has been reported that PFAS have been found in cosmetics, personal hygiene products, and are now even found in wildlife. The chemical bonds of PFAS are extremely difficult to destroy, appear to last indefinitely, and are linked to a host of medical complications.

The EPA is proposing to add PFAS to the list of lower thresholds for Chemicals of Special Concern, thereby removing the de minimis exemption for these chemicals and requiring companies to report under the TRI program, regardless of concentration. Currently, if PFAS is present in a mixture below the de minimis exemption thresholds (i.e., 1% for TRI-listed PFAS and 0.1% for perfluorooctanoic acid [PFOA]), reporting is not required.

As PFAS includes thousands of compounds that are widely used in a variety of mixtures and trade name products, this proposed rule is expected to substantially increase the number of Form R Reports being submitted since Chemicals of Special Concern may not be reported on a Form A Report.

The TRI Reporting deadline is July 1st and covers waste management activities that occurred during the previous calendar year. Read JD Gibb’s EPA approves new ASTM E1527-21 standard and learn how BSI can help. For more EHS and Digital Trust topics that should be at the top of your list, visit BSI’s Experts Corner.

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