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New PFAS Regulations

13 May 2024 Posted by: makeyourmark New Technologies

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently made substantial progress toward new PFAS regulations, according to recent and historic news. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), two commonly used PFAS compounds, have been classified as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). With this designation, the EPA can look into and remove PFAS contamination while making sure the polluters bear costs for their actions. Additionally, the EPA has issued an enforcement discretion policy focusing on parties that significantly contribute to PFAS release into the environment. This is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s larger effort to protect populations from PFAS exposure, as outlined in the EPA PFAS Strategic Roadmap. 

EPA PFAS Roadmap

The EPA’s roadmap, unveiled in 2021, outlines a comprehensive strategy to address PFAS contamination in the United States. It includes commitments to new PFAS regulations aimed at curbing PFAS contamination, such as preventing the approval of new PFAS chemicals, implementing pollution prevention measures, keeping PFAS out of environmental media, and holding polluters accountable for cleanup efforts. The roadmap sets specific timelines for these actions and emphasizes the importance of bolder policies to safeguard public health and the environment. The actions outlined in the roadmap are intended to build upon each other, leading to more enduring and protective solutions for communities affected by PFAS contamination.

See more details on the PFAS roadmap here

New Limits for PFAS

For the first time in history, the EPA has set nationwide limits for six different types of PFAS in drinking water. The new limits, which apply to two commonly used PFAS—perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)—restrict their levels in public drinking water to 4 parts per trillion. There is also a limit of 10 parts per trillion set for three additional PFAS chemicals, which include different versions of PFOA. These limits reflect the lowest levels detectable by laboratories and treatable by water systems, with the goal of ultimately eliminating PFAS from drinking water due to the absence of a safe exposure level. According to the EPA, an estimated 6-10% of the U.S.’s public water systems will require upgrades to adhere to the new limits, which will benefit approximately 100 million people. 

EPA PFAS Disposal Guidance

The EPA provides guidance on destruction and disposal options for PFAS based on their potential to control PFAS release into the environment. This guidance aligns with EPA’s mission to safeguard human health and the environment. Various technologies are available for PFAS treatment and disposal, each with differing abilities to manage PFAS. Underground injection into permitted Class I non-hazardous industrial or hazardous waste injection wells is considered a protective option, confining injected fluids to prevent them from entering underground sources of drinking water. Permitted hazardous waste landfills, especially Subtitle C landfills, are recommended for containing PFAS waste effectively. Thermal treatment in permitted hazardous waste combustors, such as incinerators and kilns, may also be effective, especially with higher temperatures and longer residence times, although uncertainties remain about their effectiveness. EPA encourages additional testing and research, including using the new analytical method OTM-50, to better understand the destruction and removal of PFAS. Additionally, the EPA is exploring emerging technologies like mechanochemical degradation and electrochemical oxidation for PFAS destruction, but further research is needed to fully evaluate their effectiveness. EPA will continue to collaborate with various stakeholders to enhance its understanding of PFAS destruction and disposal, and it plans to revise its guidance based on public comments and advancements in PFAS research within the next three years.

See the full details on EPA PFAS disposal guidance here and here.


On January 26, 2024, the EPA published a clarified list of specific PFAS that require reporting according to a rule in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 8(a)(7) PFAS. The reporting rule was finalized in September 2023, and has been in effect since October 11, 2023, requiring regulated bodies to submit a retrospective report on all PFAS manufacturing and importing per year. Interestingly, the rule does not exempt small businesses, de minimis usage, or reporting on finished end-use items. This may cause difficulties for businesses and organizations unfamiliar with such reporting obligations. To help prevent confusion, the EPA has included a non-exhaustive list of PFAS chemicals in the TSCA. Given the complexity and evolving nature of new PFAS regulations, entities are advised to seek expert guidance to ensure compliance with reporting requirements.

Read more about PFAS and the manufacturing industry on our blog page or learn more about ILT, the world leader in manufacturing seals and septa here.