EPA proposes new LCPFAC chemical regulations

January 26, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a new rule to further restrict and regulate perfluorinated chemicals. The Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) for Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate (LCPFAC) chemicals  would ensure products that have already been phased out do not re-enter any market without EPA review.

The measure builds on regulations introduced in 2006 under the PFOA Stewardship Program in which major companies came to an agreement with the EPA to voluntarily reduce product content and facility emissions of PFOA, and similar chemicals globally. PFOA's were to be reduced by 95 percent within four years of the proposal, and completely eliminated by 2015. 

Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention stated, "Through our environmental stewardship program, eight companies have helped us make real progress to reduce these chemicals as evidenced in the CDC findings. We will continue that progress now that all importers and other domestic manufacturers will be required to give EPA an opportunity to review and restrict uses of these perfluorinated chemicals." 

The new proposed rule requires importers, manufacturers, and processors of perfluorinated chemicals (as is or as a part of other products), to submit notification of use to THE EPA at least 90 days before intended use begins. The EPA  would then evaluate and possibly restrict or limit the activity, depending on risk factor.

Perfluorinated chemicals have a variety of industrial and consumer applications:they are used as cleaners, in the textile, carpet and leather industries, and as components of paints and paper. Their long environmental half-life leads to extended exposure over a number of years which can cause reproductive, developmental, and systemic effects in animals, wildlife, and potentially humans.

Environmental consultants can help companies ensure they are complying with all rules in effect, while remaining productive and efficient.