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Sunday, February 5, 2023

EPA Issues Next Test Order Under National Testing Strategy for PFAS Used in Plastics, Chemical Manufacturing

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Washington, DC – Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the next Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) test order requiring testing on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under EPA’s the National PFAS Testing Strategy. Today’s action orders companies to conduct and submit testing on trifluoro(trifluoromethyl)oxirane (HFPO), a perfluoroalkyl substance used in making plastics. This is the second test order under the strategy and the latest action taken under EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap to confront contamination from forever chemicals nationwide.

Southeastern North Carolina has been a primary focus of regulators at the state and federal levels after discovery of GenX was found here in 2017.

The information EPA receives under this order will not only improve the Agency’s understanding of human health effects of HFPO, but also the effects of dozens of PFAS that are structurally similar to HFPO and in the same Testing Strategy category of PFAS, improving the agency’s overall data on PFAS.

“PFAS can pose a serious risk to communities, especially those overburdened with pollution, but many of these chemicals have limited or no toxicity data. That’s why we’re working quickly to establish stronger, more robust data on PFAS to better understand and ultimately reduce the potential risks,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “Communities deserve transparency from the companies that use or produce these substances and we’ll continue to use our data-gathering tools to collect information on the potential environmental and human health impacts of PFAS like HFPO.”

HFPO (CASRN 428-59-1) is used in making plastics and in organic chemical manufacturing. More than 1,000,000 pounds of HFPO are manufactured each year, according to TSCA Chemical Data Reporting rule reports.

After thoroughly examining existing hazard and exposure data, EPA has concluded that HFPO may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. The potential hazards from exposure to this chemical could include neurotoxicity, reproductive effects and cancer. EPA also found there is insufficient information to determine the effects on human health from inhalation of HFPO (which is a gas at room temperature). This test order will address this data need.

The Chemours Company FC LLC, DuPont De Nemours Inc., E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, and 3M Company are the recipients of this test order. Prior to issuing the test order, EPA engaged in discussions with the recipient companies to encourage them to voluntarily submit existing data on HFPO to EPA. Based on information in existing studies provided by cooperating companies, EPA determined that certain data were no longer needed and thus excluded the relevant testing requirements from the issued order. EPA has made the data voluntarily provided by these companies publicly available in docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0910 on www.regulations.gov.

EPA will continue to communicate with manufacturers and processors before issuing an order to encourage voluntary data submissions that could refine its categorization of PFAS included in the Testing Strategy, accelerate the availability of data to the Agency and the public, or eliminate the need for testing.

The companies subject to the test order may either conduct the tests as described in the order, including testing of physical-chemical properties and health effects following inhalation, or provide EPA with existing information that they believe EPA did not identify in its search. EPA encourages companies to jointly conduct testing to avoid unnecessary duplication of tests and will also consider possible combinations of tests that cover all required endpoints to diminish the amount of time, animal subjects and costs required.

View the test order issued today and other section 4 test orders.

Learn more about the PFAS National Testing Strategy.

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