PFAS NOL proposed to be added to Massachusetts TURA Chemicals List 

The Administrative Council on Toxics Use Reduction has voted to amend regulation 301 CMR 41: Toxic or Hazardous Substance List (TURA List) to add the Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Not Otherwise Listed (PFAS NOL) category.  

The proposed addition of PFAS (NOL) to the TURA Chemical list is in addition to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) listing of 172 individual PFAS chemicals in December of 2019. Reporting for these chemicals was due to the EPA July 1, 2021, for 2020 data if TRI chemical use and other thresholds were met. Reporting for EPA’s listed PFAS will be due to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) by July 1, 2022 for 2021 data, if thresholds are exceeded. The threshold for EPA’s individual PFAS chemicals is 100 pounds/year for PFAS chemicals manufactured, processed, or otherwise used. 

Under the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA), certain manufacturers are required to report on the quantities of listed substances used and wasted in production. Those manufacturers must also conduct a biennial examination of whether it would be economically advantageous to reduce the use and waste of these substances. 

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. PFAS can be found in food packaging, commercial household products, products that are commercially treated to make them stain- and water-repellent or nonstick, and some firefighting foam. Localized drinking water contaminated with PFAS has occurred in communities where PFAS were produced or used to manufacture other products, or PFAS were used for firefighting. 

The PFAS NOL category includes those PFAS that contain a perfluoroalkyl moiety with three or more carbons (e.g., –CnF2n–, n ≥ 3; or CF3–CnF2n– , n≥2) or a perfluoroalkylether moiety with two or more carbons (e.g., –CnF2nOCmF2m− or –CnF2nOCmFm–, n and m ≥ 1). 

Studies reviewed by the TURA Science Advisory Board show PFAS chemicals can have a wide range of negative health effects on the endocrine system, including liver and thyroid function, as well as metabolic effects, developmental effects, neurotoxicity and immunotoxicity. PFAS have been detected above the Massachusetts’ Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 20 ppt for six specific PFAS in drinking water wells in dozens of towns. 

If the draft regulations for PFAS are adopted, Massachusetts businesses will be subject to TURA program requirements, if they: 

  • Manufacture or process 25,000lb/year, or otherwise use 10,000lb/year, of PFAS NOL, as a category 
  • Do business in TURA covered sectors
  • Have 10 or more full time employee equivalents (FTEs)

Companies that meet the criteria above will need to submit toxics use reports, pay an annual fee and develop toxics use reduction plans. TURA does not ban the use of chemicals. 

The TURA program, which consists of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell, the Office of Technical Assistance and MassDEP – supports companies in their efforts to find safer alternatives. This Toxics Use Reduction approach makes it possible to address PFAS contamination at its source, rather than only addressing PFAS after contamination has occurred. This additional listing of PFAS (NOL) under TURA will help manufacturers understand how PFAS are being used, identify ways to reduce use, and reduce company liability for potential contamination. These activities will strengthen the Commonwealth’s work to reduce the use of PFAS. 

Written comments will be accepted through October 15, 2021. Written testimony should be submitted via email to tiffany.skogstrom@mass.gov, or via mail to:   

Tiffany Skogstrom  

Executive Director of the TURA Administrative Council  

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs  

100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900  

Boston, MA 02114  

A public hearing will be held virtually on October 15, 2021, 1 to 3 p.m. ​Use this link to access the Zoom public hearing (Meeting ID: 885 2870 7255, Passcode: C5TCLa, Telephone Passcode: 562031). 

The current version of the regulations proposed for amendment are available online at: https://www.mass.gov/tura-regulations-and-amendments