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Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate (LCPFAC) Chemicals

Announcements

March 10, 2015 – In response to requests from the public, EPA extended the public comment period for the proposed Significant New Use Rule under TSCA on long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate and perfluoroalkyl sulfonate chemical substances by 90 days. EPA expects the notice announcing this extension to be published in the Federal Register on March 16, 2015. Comments on the proposed rule were originally due March 23, 2015. Comments will now be due June 26, 2015.

What chemicals are addressed in the Action Plan?

EPA issued the Long-Chain Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) Action Plan (PDF), (23 pp., 185 KB, About PDF) in 2009. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are substances with special properties that have many manufacturing and industrial applications because they impart useful properties, including fire resistance and oil, stain, grease and water repellency. The long-chain PFCs comprise two sub-categories: perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFAS) and long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFAC). The PFAS sub-category includes perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), other higher homologues, and their salts and precursors. The long-chain PFAC sub-category includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, sometimes called C8), other higher homologues, and their salts and precursors. Some of those potential long-chain PFAC precursors include chemicals known commercially as fluorotelomers.

PFAC chemicals with fewer than eight carbons, such as perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), are not considered long-chain PFAC chemicals. These shorter-chain PFAC chemicals are not part of the action plan because data in non-human primates indicate that they have substantially shorter half-lives in these animals than PFOA and are less toxic than long-chain PFAC chemicals.

Why is EPA concerned about these chemicals?

Long-chain PFCs are found world-wide in the environment, wildlife, and humans. They are bioaccumulative in wildlife and humans, and are persistent in the environment. They are toxic to laboratory animals and wildlife, producing reproductive, developmental, and systemic effects in laboratory tests.

To date, significant adverse effects have not been found in the general human population. However, given the long half-life of these chemicals in humans (years), it can reasonably be anticipated that continued exposure could increase body burdens to levels that would result in adverse outcomes.

What action is EPA taking?

Based on EPA’s screening-level review of hazard and exposure information, EPA's action plan called for EPA to:

Previous Actions:

Read about the PFOS and PFAS significant new use rules (SNURs).

Read about the 2010/15 PFOA Stewardship Program.

Read about evaluation of alternatives under EPA's New Chemicals Program.

Read about international collaboration on managing PFCsexit EPA.

Download the complete Long-Chain Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) Action Plan (PDF), (23 pp., 185 KB, About PDF)

  1. Access the public comment docket for the Long-Chain Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) Action Plan (Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2010-0145) on Regulations.gov.

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