On April 13, 2023, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for public comment regarding potential future designations of additional per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
While the ANPRM is not a regulatory action, as detailed in the figure below, it is an initial step in the regulatory rulemaking process as the agency (USEPA) seeks comments and data to help develop a proposed rule.
As we previously highlighted in September 2022, USEPA issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making, that, if finalized, would designate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) along with perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and their salts and structural isomers as CERCLA hazardous substances.
In this recent ANPRM, USEPA is soliciting public input to inform their consideration of the potential development of future regulations pertaining to additional PFAS, PFAS precursors, and/or categories of PFAS. The USEPA is particularly considering whether to initiate the following future actions that would potentially:
- Designate the following PFAS and their salts and structural isomers, or some subset thereof, as hazardous substances under CERCLA:
- Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS),
- Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS),
- Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA),
- Hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO–DA) (sometimes called GenX),
- Perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA),
- Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), and
- Perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA).
- These seven PFAS were identified based on the availability of toxicity information previously reviewed by the USEPA and other Federal agencies.
- Designate precursors to PFOA, PFOS, and possibly the seven PFAS and their salts and isomers, or some subset thereof, as hazardous substances; therefore, the USEPA is soliciting input regarding information that will assist the Agency in identifying compounds that degrade to these PFAS through environmental processes such as biodegradation, photolysis, and hydrolysis.
- Designate groups or categories of PFAS as hazardous substances.
To inform their decision, the USEPA has identified 12 questions and requests that commenters provide supporting information and specific scientific literature citations regarding applicable information where appropriate. These questions include:
- Identifying additional, relevant information in published scientific literature or data regarding the environmental fate and transport (mobility, persistence, or other relevant chemical and physical properties) and environmental prevalence of PFBS, PFHxS, PFNA, HFPO-DA, PFBA, PFHxA and PFDA; and environmental degradation of substances to PFOA, PFOS, PFBS, PFHxS, PFNA, HFPO–DA, PFBA, PFHxA, and/or PFDA.
- What factors, if any, regarding degradation, time, and environmental conditions (e.g., aqueous vs. arid, anaerobic vs. aerobic, available nutrients) should be considered in identifying the appropriate precursor compounds?
- Identify substances that the Agency should consider as precursor compounds and provide information regarding how precursors could be measured in environmental samples.
- Should the Agency consider the availability of analytical methods when determining whether to designate precursors as CERCLA hazardous substances?
- Are there other PFAS the Agency could consider designating as hazardous substances in a possible future rulemaking?
- Identify published scientific literature that can inform whether categories of PFAS could or could not be designated as hazardous substances.
- Provide available information that the USEPA could consider in preparing an economic analysis of the potential direct and indirect costs and benefits, including impacts on small entities, associated with a potential rulemaking designating any of the above-mentioned PFAS, precursors, or categories of PFAS as hazardous substances.
More information about submitting comments on this PFAS ANPRM can be found here. The public comment period is open and will run for 60 days. Comments must be received by the USEPA on or before June 12, 2023.
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