The EPA has proposed measures to ensure that perfluorinated chemicals that have been phased out do not re-enter the marketplace without review.
This action builds on several the agency has taken since 2006, when reaching an agreement with companies to phase-out the chemicals by the end of 2015. Participating companies are on track to phase-out the chemicals by the end of 2015 and have successfully developed over 150 alternatives, the EPA says.
These chemicals are used in a wide range of industrial applications and consumer goods, including cleaners, textiles, carpet, leather, paper and paints, fire-fighting foams, and wire insulation. These chemicals are toxic, persist in the environment worldwide, and can accumulate in people and animals, the agency says.
EPA is proposing this Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) for long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate chemicals in part in anticipation of this 2015 phase-out deadline. In 2013, EPA issued a final Significant New Use Rule for use of perfluorinated chemicals in carpets and carpet aftercare products. EPA has also issued other Significant New Use Rules on perfluorinated chemicals, including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFAS) that were voluntarily phased-out of production.
This proposal requires that anyone who intends to import these perfluorinated chemicals, including in products, or domestically produce or process these chemicals for any new use submit a notification to EPA at least 90 days before beginning the activity. This notice will provide the agency with an opportunity to evaluate the new use and, if necessary, take action to prohibit or limit the activity.