Today, as part of the U.S. Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan, the agency is proposing regulations on imported products that contain certain persistent long-chain PFAS chemicals that are used as surface coatings. While EPA believes the use of these chemicals as surface coatings in imported goods has been phased out, this supplemental proposal would ensure that any new uses are reviewed by EPA before any products containing these chemicals could be imported into the United States again. As part of the agency’s review, EPA has the authority to place restrictions on the import of products containing these chemicals as part of a surface coating.

“Today’s action would close a loophole that currently allows new uses of products that include certain PFAS chemicals as part of surface coatings that have been phased out in the United States to be imported into our country,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This action, along with many other critical steps we’ve taken over the past year, continues to demonstrate EPA’s commitment to protecting public health and aggressively addressing these chemicals in the United States.”

EPA’s proposal supplements a previously proposed rule on PFAS imports by clarifying the categories of products that would be covered under the significant new use rule (SNUR). The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) provides EPA the authority to regulate products that are imported as an article, meaning goods that are imported as a component of another product. By clarifying the previously proposed rule, the agency is aligning its regulations with the Lautenberg Act amendments to TSCA.

When finalized, this rule will prevent products like furniture, automobile parts, electronics, and household appliances that could contain these PFAS as part of a surface coating from being imported into the United States unless EPA reviews the uses and determines whether it is necessary to put in place restrictions to address any unreasonable risks. This action also levels the playing field for companies that have already voluntarily phased-out the use of long-chain PFAS chemicals under EPA’s PFOA Stewardship Program by preventing new uses of these phased-out chemicals to begin again.

Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will accept public comments on this proposal for 45 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2013-0225 on

For more information:

Background on the PFAS Action Plan

PFAS are a large group of man-made chemicals used in consumer products and industrial processes. In use since the 1940s, PFAS are resistant to heat, oils, stains, grease, and water—properties which contribute to their persistence in the environment.

The agency’s PFAS Action Plan is the first multi-media, multi-program, national research, management, and risk communication plan to address a challenge like PFAS. The plan responds to the extensive public input the agency received during the PFAS National Leadership Summit, multiple community engagements, and through the public docket. The PFAS Action Plan outlines the tools EPA is developing to assist states, tribes, and communities in addressing PFAS.

If this regulation is applicable to you and you are interested in knowing more about this topic and available solutions, then schedule a free consult with our experts.