EPA launches stewardship program to reduce PFAS in the marketplace

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a stewardship program to encourage the voluntary withdrawal of previously granted low volume exemptions (LVEs) for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Historically, some new PFAS have been allowed to enter the market through LVEs. The goal of the PFAS LVE Stewardship Program is to stop the ongoing manufacture of PFAS under previously approved LVEs which have not gone through the full pre-manufacture review process under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA will also hold a webinar on July 29, 2021 to provide an overview of the program.

There are approximately 600 PFAS with currently granted LVEs. Through this program, EPA intends to work with trade associations, non-governmental organizations, and companies to encourage voluntary withdrawal of the LVEs. This new program is based on a 2016 outreach effort which resulted in companies withdrawing more than half of the 82 long-chain PFAS LVEs that were targeted for voluntary withdrawal at the time.

To participate in the program, companies with previously granted PFAS LVEs may choose to voluntarily withdraw their LVEs and certify that they will no longer manufacture or import that PFAS. Alternatively, companies may choose to voluntarily withdraw their LVE following submission and review of a pre-manufacture notice, which will provide for a robust safety review and the imposition of appropriate and enforceable protections for human health and the environment. EPA will provide recognition of program participants on its website.

The establishment of the PFAS LVE Stewardship Program follows an announcement in April that new LVE submissions for PFAS would likely be denied since a sufficiently robust safety review is unlikely to be possible in the 30 days the law allows given the potential hazards associated with various subclasses of PFAS and the need to consider their potential persistence in the environment.

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