Read the full article by Chemical Watch

“Members of the consumer advocacy community are urging the US EPA to use its discretionary authority under TSCA to address what some describe as a ‘PFAS crisis’, attendees at the Chemical Watch US Regulatory Summit have heard.

Recent months have seen unprecedented focus on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), amid concern over the substances’ potential health impacts and their widespread prevalence in humans and the environment. The EPA has responded to these concerns by launching a PFAS action plan and holding community engagement events across the country.

But while most of the agency’s efforts have focused on developing drinking water limits or cleaning up legacy substances, Eve Gartner, an attorney with the environmental law nonprofit Earthjustice, said that there is an ‘important opportunity to see if TSCA can be an effective tool in the process’.

Much of the focus on TSCA has been on how the EPA implements the mandated amendments to the law, Ms Gartner told delegates at the Arlington, Virginia meeting, while speaking on a panel of stakeholders about the reformed law.

But, she said that it is ‘critically important to look at how EPA is using its discretionary TSCA authority to address emergent situations involving potentially toxic substances’.

For example, Ms Gartner suggested that the agency uses its Section 4 authorities to require additional testing, to ‘ensure that the public and other regulators have more information on the specific PFAS chemicals that are being identified in drinking water but for which we now have few or no health studies’.

She also asked whether the EPA would commit to requiring that all new PFASs be subject to a full pre-manufacture notice (PMN) review, and not be allowed to come to market through a Section 5 exemption, such as a research and development or test-market exemption (TME).

And she pressed the agency to ‘close the door’ on the use of long-chain chemistries that have been largely abandoned domestically, by blocking the import of ‘all articles, including recycled articles coming into this country, that contain PFOA or PFOS’. “