New PFAS Regulations: How to Remain Compliant in 2023
PFAS substances have been used for decades in consumer and industrial products but, since the early 2000s, the substances have come under increasing scrutiny due to their toxicity to humans, animals, and the environment. Various laws, policies, and regulations have been implemented in the United States (U.S.) and the European Union (EU) to restrict PFAS use and reduce exposure.
Several changes to PFAS regulations have occurred this year, most notably the new reporting rule under Section 8(a)(7) of the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The new rule requires all manufacturers and importers of PFAS and PFAS-containing articles to report specific information to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Continue reading to learn more about TSCA Section 8(a)(7), additional changes to PFAS regulations, and how to remain compliant in 2023.
PFAS: Forever Chemicals
PFAS refers to a large group of chemicals used in consumer, commercial, and industrial products that repel water, grease, and dirt. The group currently includes thousands of chemicals, including the widely used Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS).
Introduced in the 1940s, PFAS chemicals are present in several everyday household products, including furniture, non-stick cookware, cosmetics, pesticides, and more. PFAS compounds break down exceptionally slowly, which means they are prone to accumulate in people, animals, and the environment over time. Because of this trait, PFAS substances are often referred to as “forever chemicals.”
Unfortunately, due to their widespread use, most people have been exposed to some PFAS during their lifetimes. This exposure poses significant risks to human health and the environment as PFAS collects in certain foods, drinking water, soil, and even the air.
U.S. PFAS Regulations
TSCA Section 8(a)(7)
The EPA finalized TSCA Section 8(a)(7) on September 28th, 2023. The new rule provides the EPA, its partners, and the public with the largest-ever database of PFAS manufactured and used in the U.S. It also streamlines TSCA reporting requirements and lessens the burden for companies who made or used small quantities of PFAS for research and development purposes or for companies who imported articles containing PFAS into the country.
Under Section 8(a)(7), manufacturers and importers are required to report on their use of PFAS starting from the year 2011, including how PFAS was used in the product, production volumes, disposal, exposures, and hazards. Nearly 1,500 PFAS that are known to have been made or used in the U.S. since 2011 are subject to the rule. Data must be reported to the EPA within 18 months of the final rule’s effective date. Small businesses solely reporting on imported articles containing PFAS have an additional six months to report data.
Read our blog focused on TSCA Section 8(a)(7) to learn more.
Maine’s legislature passed An Act to Stop Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution in July 2021, broadening the definition of PFAS beyond the list of substances under TSCA established by the U.S. EPA. The new law instead refers to the EPA’s CompTox PFAS list with over 12,000 substances.
All manufacturers with products on the market (including importers and distributors) within the state of Maine are in the scope of the law unless they have been granted specific exclusions. Two provisions of the law are in effect as of January 1st, 2023:
- Manufacturers of products containing intentionally added PFAS must report on the use and amount of PFAS in their products. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is currently developing a database to collect PFAS reports, but reporting is required regardless.
- The selling of carpets, rugs, and fabric treatments containing potentially added PFAS is prohibited. This does not apply to the sale or resale of used carpets and rugs.
California Bill AB 1817 bans the selling, distributing, or offering for sale of any food packaging containing PFAS chemicals within the state as of January 1st, 2023. Likewise, the selling or distributing of any new products containing PFAS chemicals is prohibited as of July 1st, 2023.
Looking ahead a few years, by January 1st, 2025, PFAS will be banned in most clothing and textiles on the market, and manufacturers will be required to utilize the least toxic alternative available.
EU PFAS Regulations
Five EU states (Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden) submitted a proposal banning the use and production of PFAS in early January 2023. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published the proposal on February 7th and the six-month public consultation period ended on September 22nd. Next, ECHA’s scientific committees will adopt their opinions, which will be sent to the European Commission. Eventually, the Member States will vote on the restriction.
Furthermore, as of February 25th, 2023, certain Perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (C9-C14 PFCAs) are restricted under EU REACH as part of the Annex XVII Restricted List. The EU is also proposing restricting all PFAS utilized in firefighting foams.
Preparing for Changes to PFAS Regulations in 2023
Watch our on-demand webinar where a few of our subject matter experts discuss the primary regulatory changes impacting product compliance in 2023, including changes to PFAS regulations. Gain additional information on new PFAS regulations and learn how to best prepare for these changes to ensure your business remains compliant.
Meet PFAS Reporting Requirements with Source Intelligence
PFAS compliance isn’t simple. Managing supplier engagement and data validation while staying current with changing PFAS laws and reporting requirements requires a team with dedicated resources and a depth of industry knowledge—and companies lacking those resources are exposed to uncertainty and risk within their supply chain.
When you partner with Source Intelligence, we help you meet PFAS reporting requirements and stay updated on changing regulations, so you remain compliant. Whether you need software to manage PFAS reporting internally, access to an industry-leading database to validate supplier data, or expert services to manage the process for you, our PFAS program is more than a one-fits-all solution.
Learn more about PFAS and explore the features and benefits of the Source Intelligence PFAS program by selecting the button below.