The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took the next step in regulating toxic PFAS chemicals by adding more than a hundred of the substances to the nation’s official list of toxic chemicals.
The EPA said it would add 172 polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, to the Toxics Release Inventory. The inventory tracks the management of toxic chemicals that can pose a threat to human health and the environment.
Facilities that manufacture, process or “otherwise use” more than 100 pounds of those substances must submit annual reporting forms to the EPA by July 2021 or face fines.
The move fulfills a Congressional mandate included in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
PFAS chemicals have been used to make water-, grease- or stain-resistant clothing, fabrics and other consumer and industrial products since the 1940s. They were also widely used in civilian and military firefighting foam.
PFAS have been linked to testicular and kidney cancer, liver damage and developmental problems in children.
Currently, there are no regulations limiting the amount of PFAS available in the environment, except for a non-enforceable drinking water health advisory for PFOA and PFOS, only two of thousands of PFAS substances.