The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public input about adding per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory, a list of chemicals that companies are required to report to the EPA.
PFAS are a group of manmade chemicals that are difficult to remove from the environment and hazardous to human health, causing liver damage, developmental problems and multiple kinds of cancers.
These chemicals, which became popular in the 1940s, are used on stain and water-resistant fabrics, on non-stick cookware, in carpeting, and in firefighting foam.
Currently, no form of PFAS chemicals are included on the Toxic Release Inventory, which means they are not being fully tracked or reported to the EPA.
The Toxics Release Inventory provides the public with information about what types of chemicals are being used in certain geographical areas and in different industries.
Companies must report how much of each chemical included on the TRI is handled by the company and state whether the chemicals were released into the environment or whether they were properly managed through recycling, treatment or other processes.
The EPA is considering adding PFAS chemicals to the registry as part of its PFAS Action Plan.
“EPA continues to show critical leadership on addressing PFAS as we aggressively implement our PFAS Action Plan—the most comprehensive cross-agency plan to address an emerging chemical ever taken by EPA,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a press release.
Information about how to comment is available here.