January 16, 2013 -- 2012 Progress Reports now available. See the reports and summary tables.
August 8, 2012 -- EPA signed a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to:
- Require companies to report 90 days in advance of all new uses of long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic (LCPFAC) chemicals as part of carpets or to treat carpets, including the import of new carpet containing LCPFACs.
- Add seven perfluoroalkyl sulfonate (PFAS) chemicals to the existing PFAS SNUR (40 CFR 721.9582), and amend that SNUR to include "processing" in the definition of significant new use for PFAS chemicals.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a long-chain perfluorinated chemical (LCPFC) that does not occur naturally in the environment. LCPFCs are synthetic chemical substances with special properties and hundreds of manufacturing and industrial applications.
EPA has been investigating PFOA because it:
- Is very persistent in the environment
- Is found at very low levels both in the environment and in the blood of the general U.S. population
- Remains in people for a very long time
- Causes developmental and other adverse effects in laboratory animals.
Major pathways that enable PFOA, in very small quantities, to get into human blood are not yet fully understood. PFOA is used to make fluoropolymers and can also be released by the transformation of some fluorinated telomers. However, consumer products made with fluoropolymers and fluorinated telomers, including TeflonŽ and other trademark products, are not PFOA. Rather, some of them may contain trace amounts of PFOA and other related perfluorinated chemicals as impurities. The information that EPA has available does not indicate that the routine use of consumer products poses a concern. At present, there are no steps that EPA recommends that consumers take to reduce exposures to PFOA.
In 2006, EPA and the eight major companies in the industry launched the 2010/15 PFOA Stewardship Program, in which companies committed to reduce global facility emissions and product content of PFOA and related chemicals by 95 percent by 2010, and to work toward eliminating emissions and product content by 2015.
EPA remains concerned about LCPFCs being produced by companies that are not participating in the stewardship program and intends to take action to address those concerns. On December 30, 2009, EPA posted four action plans, including an action plan on long-chain perfluorinated chemicals (LPFCs). The LCPFCs action plan outlines actions that would further reduce exposure to LCPFCs by addressing their use in products from sources other than the eight companies participating in the stewardship program. As these actions begin, there will be opportunities for public and stakeholder comment and involvement.
This site provides information on PFOA and related chemicals and EPA's actions on these chemicals:
- Basic Information -- Read background on PFOA and related chemicals, information on the Provisional Health Advisory (PHA), the 2010/15 stewardship program, search for alternatives, the Enforceable Consent Agreement (ECA) process, EPA enforcement actions, a report showing reductions in blood levels of the chemicals in the U.S. populations, and how to access PFOA information in the docket.
- Where You Live -- Get contacts on PFOA at EPA headquarters and regional offices, as well as information from states including fact sheets and reports.
- 2010/15 PFOA Stewardship Program -- Learn about eight major companies' commitments to reduce facility emissions and product content of PFOA and related chemicals including their baseline emissions and latest progress reports dating back to 2007.
- New Chemical Review of Alternatives -- Read about EPA's regulatory approach to finding alternatives to PFOA and related chemicals, including shorter chain-length telomer alternatives.
- Enforceable Consent Agreement (ECA) Process -- Learn about negotiated enforceable consent agreements, memoranda of understanding, and voluntary commitments.
- Risk Assessment -- Learn about EPA's risk assessment of PFOA and decisions made by the EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB).
- Regulatory Action on PFAS/LCPFAC Compounds -- Learn about EPA's regulatory actions on perfluorooctyl sulfonate (PFOS)perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFAS), and long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate (LCPFAC) chemicals.
- Related EPA Actions -- Read about inerts in pesticides, PFOA-related research, and monitoring PFOA in water.
- Related Programs and Studies -- Read about PFOA-related programs and studies from other federal agencies, countries, and intergovernmental organizations.
- Frequent Questions -- EPA's responses to common questions.
- Glossary of Terms -- Look up definitions of scientific and regulatory terms related to PFOA.