Every year around this time news of what has been added to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reportable list is published. This year there is BIG NEWS: Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) will be reportable under TRI for Reporting Year (RY) 2020 due to be reported to EPA by July 1, 2021. Companies who manufacture, process, or otherwise use any of the listed 172 PFAS chemicals should be tracking usage RIGHT NOW for RY *2020*. The threshold for each individual PFAS chemical is 100 pounds. The de minimis exemption concentration for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is 0.1% and for all other PFAS chemicals the de minimis concentration is 1%.
The full list of 172 chemicals is here.
Please remember that your suppliers have an obligation to notify you if they are providing products with reportable PFAS in them and provide updated safety data sheets (SDS) for those products. Similarly, if your company is manufacturing products with reportable PFAS in them, you must notify your customers and update the SDSs you are providing.
We recommend you take action by contacting your suppliers for any chemical product that you suspect contains a PFAS chemical, and request an updated 2020 SDS that complies with the new TRI list requirements.
You may be wondering why PFAS Chemicals are being listed? The most common health and environmental effects include:
- Liver/endocrine effects, thyroid
- Immunological effects including reduced efficacy of vaccines
- Reproductive and developmental effects
- Hematological effects
- Presence in the environment, biota, and humans (serum, breastmilk)
You may be thinking where are PFAS chemicals used? Here are some of the major uses:
- Water and stain resistant fabrics and textiles
- Water and stain resistant paper, food contact paper and paperboard
- Fire fighting foam – Commonly used to suppress flammable liquid fires wherever flammable liquids are present
- Metal finishing – mist suppressants
- Plastics, coatings
- Non-polymeric PFAS may be as used as surfactants, wetting agents, emulsifiers and polymerization processing aids, mist suppressants, pesticide active ingredients, and film formers.
- Polymeric PFAS may be used as lubricants, insulators, protective coatings, and raw materials for textiles, semiconductors, and automotive components.
You also may be wondering whether this covers articles purchased that may include one of these PFAS chemicals (e.g., certain plastic pipes, carpet, lab coats)?
You are not required to report “articles” that include PFAS chemicals under TRI. The same article exemption applies to the PFAS chemicals, as applies to other chemicals on the TRI list. Therefore, if a company purchased fabric that has been treated with listed PFAS chemicals and you made it into clothing (processed), that would not qualify for the exemption. If they purchased lab coats for use in the lab, that would qualify for the article exemption.
The exemption for articles under TRI is given at 40 CFR §372.38(b):
“Articles. If a toxic chemical is present in an article at a covered facility, a person is not required to consider the quantity of the toxic chemical present in such article when determining whether an applicable threshold has been met under §372.25, §372.27, or §372.28 or determining the amount of release to be reported under §372.30. This exemption applies whether the person received the article from another person or the person produced the article. However, this exemption applies only to the quantity of the toxic chemical present in the article. If the toxic chemical is manufactured (including imported), processed, or otherwise used at the covered facility other than as part of the article, in excess of an applicable threshold quantity set forth in §372.25, §372.27, or §372.28, the person is required to report under §372.30. Persons potentially subject to this exemption should carefully review the definitions of article and release in §372.3. If a release of a toxic chemical occurs as a result of the processing or use of an item at the facility, that item does not meet the definition of article.”
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) will likely adopt the TRI listing of PFAS chemicals under Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) but they probably won’t be reportable until RY 2021 at the earliest. If that happens, PFAS chemicals will be reportable under TURA to the MassDEP for RY 2021 by July 1, 2022.
You may also be wishing you had an efficient method for documenting your chemicals and comparing to both the EPA TRI and MassDEP TURA reportable chemicals lists annually?
We recommend contacting Capaccio to discuss our EHS-Dashboard™ tool that we developed to help our clients check their chemical usage against listed chemicals, anticipate reporting requirements, and reduce regulatory risk for your company. Clients using the EHS-Dashboard™ are set up for success during this pandemic because chemical usage data for RY 2019 has been uploaded, is easily accessed through the web-based interface, and can aid in the evaluation of threshold determinations.
If you have questions related to TRI Reporting and how the addition of PFAS as a reportable may impact your business, please reach out to Jill Vernes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At CAPACCIO, we live our mission of “Helping Industry and the Environment Prosper”. We align EHS with your overall business objectives to strategically position you for success. Our unique approach combines our extensive EHS experience with innovative tools, such as our EHS Dashboard™, to effectively address your challenges. Our comprehensive solutions have resulted in award-winning EHS and overall business performance for our clients. We are certified WBENC, WBE. To learn more visit us at www.capaccio.com.