In a significant development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has expanded the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements to automatically include seven new per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
PFAS, commonly known as “forever chemicals,” are human-made substances with water- and grease-resistant properties resulting from a strong bond between fluorine and carbon used in various industries. While beneficial in products like non-stick cookware and firefighting foams, concerns arise due to their persistence in the environment and potential health effects.
TRI data, reported annually by designated facilities, now covers almost 200 PFAS chemicals. This information empowers communities, businesses, and regulators to make informed decisions regarding the management of these chemicals.
Along with the previous 189 TRI-listed PFAS, the seven newly added PFAS are also subject to EPA’s action in October 2023: this action classifying all PFAS subject to TRI reporting as chemicals of special concern. This classification removes the reporting exemption for small concentrations.
The expanded reporting requirements bring several implications for businesses— including increased compliance costs, stricter regulatory scrutiny, potential product reformulation, and considerations related to reputation, supply chains, litigation risks, and investor concerns. Proactive measures to address these impacts can aid businesses in navigating evolving environmental regulations.
A facility’s coverage under TRI is determined by its six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. While not all industries are covered by TRI, those that are, including manufacturing, metal mining, electric power generation, chemical manufacturing, and hazardous waste treatment, should seek support for tracking and collecting data on these chemicals now. Moving forward, there is also an expectation for the EPA to encompass additional industries and potentially include other PFAS on an annual basis.
The EPA urges facilities subject to reporting requirements for these chemicals to begin tracking their activities promptly, with reporting forms due by July 1, 2025.
Learn more about these additions to the Toxics Release Inventory Program and the comprehensive TRI list: https://www.epa.gov/tri/PFAS
For additional insights into navigating the complexity and cost risk of the PFAS roadmap, check out our PFAS resources here.