EPA proposal will expand polluter reporting of ‘forever chemical’ discharges

WASHINGTON – Today the Environmental Protection Agency released a proposed rule removing a loophole that has allowed companies to shirk their obligation to report the toxic “forever chemicals known as PFAS under the Toxics Release Inventory.

“People have a right to know if PFAS are being used, manufactured or released in their community,” said Melanie Benesh, vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group. “It’s shameful that companies have exploited this loophole, leaving communities to face toxic pollution in the dark. 

“It’s critical that the EPA finalize this rule quickly,”  Benesh added.

The EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory requires manufacturers to track and report their manufacturing, processing, use or specific releases of 180 different PFAS. Congress created the TRI requirement to report PFAS in the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, setting a low threshold of 100 pounds. 

Although EWG estimates there could be more than 40,000 industrial dischargers of PFAS, just 44 facilities reported uses or discharges of PFAS to the TRI last year. Companies have avoided reporting by exploiting a loophole for very minor concentrations of PFAS written into the final rule by the Trump EPA. A very minor, or de minimis, concentration is defined as less than 1 percent of a total chemical mixture. 

The EPA is closing this loophole by adding the reportable PFAS to the list of Lower Thresholds for Chemicals of Special Concern. Chemicals on this list have reporting thresholds ranging from 0.1 grams to 100 pounds, and manufacturers must report even when the chemicals are used in de minimis concentrations. Including PFAS on the list of chemicals of special concern will also require suppliers to notify purchasers when the PFAS are present in mixtures and products. 

The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register for public comment on Monday, December 5. 


The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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