The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on June 29, 2023, a new framework (the Framework) for addressing new per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and new uses of existing PFAS. The Framework outlines EPA’s planned approach when reviewing new PFAS and new uses of PFAS to ensure that, before these chemicals are allowed to enter into commerce, EPA will undertake an extensive evaluation to ensure they pose no harm to human health and the environment. Under Section 5 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA is required to review new chemicals, including new PFAS and new uses of PFAS, within 90 days, assess the potential risks to human health and the environment of the chemical, and make one of five possible risk determinations. When potential risks are identified, EPA must take action to mitigate those risks before the chemical can enter commerce. EPA states that new PFAS present a challenge to evaluate “because there is often insufficient information to quantify the risk they may pose and consequently make effective decisions about how to regulate them.” According to EPA, many PFAS are known to persist and bioaccumulate in the environment and in people and they pose potential risks not only to those who directly manufacture, process, distribute, use, and dispose of the chemical substances but also to the public, including communities that may be exposed to PFAS pollution or waste and already overburdened communities. EPA will use the Framework to assess qualitatively PFAS that are likely persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals. For more information, please read the full memorandum.
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