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EPA Adopts Restrictions on PFAS Chemicals

Friday, June 26, 2020
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

As part of its per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) action plan, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final rule giving the agency the authority to review an expansive list of products containing PFAS before they could be manufactured, sold, or imported in the United States. This action means that the EPA is prohibiting companies from manufacturing, processing, or importing products containing certain long-chain PFAS – which persist in the environment and can cause adverse health effects – without prior EPA review and approval. As part of its review process, the EPA could place restrictions on these products to protect public health.

The EPA indicates that this final rule strengthens the regulation of PFAS by requiring notice and EPA review before the use of long-chain PFAS that have been phased out in the U.S. could begin again. Additionally, products containing certain long-chain PFAS as a surface coating and carpet containing perfluoroalkyl sulfonate chemical substances can no longer be imported into the U.S. without EPA review.

In practical terms, once this rule enters into force products like ski wax, carpets, furniture, electronics, and household appliances that could contain certain PFAS chemicals may not be manufactured, imported, produced, or sold in the U.S. unless the EPA first reviews and approves the use or puts in place the necessary restrictions to address any unreasonable risks.

The new rule will enter into force 60 days from its date of publication in the Federal Register.

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