Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate (LCPFAC) Chemicals
- What chemicals are addressed in the Action Plan?
- Why is EPA concerned about these chemicals?
- What action is EPA taking?
- Previous Actions
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.
- January 15, 2015 — EPA proposed a Significant New Use Rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act to require manufacturers (including importers) of LCPFAC chemicals, including as part of articles, and processors of these chemicals to notify EPA at least 90 days before starting or resuming new uses of these chemicals in any products. This notification would allow EPA the opportunity to evaluate the new use and, if necessary, take action to prohibit or limit the activity. EPA will accept comments on the rule for 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.
- September 30, 2013 — EPA issued a rule requiring companies to report all new uses of long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (LCPFAC) as part of carpets, a category of potentially harmful chemicals once used on carpets to impart soil, water, and stain resistance. Companies must now report to EPA their intent to manufacture (including import) LCPFAC-containing products intended for use as part of carpets or to treat carpets, as well as import carpets already containing these chemical substances. Read the press release.