Proposal to List Nine Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Compounds as Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Hazardous Constituents
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On February 8, 2024, EPA proposed changes to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulations by adding nine particular per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, their salts, and their structural isomers, to its list of hazardous constituents in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 261 Appendix VIII. These nine PFAS are:
- Perfluorooctanoic acid.
- Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid
- Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid.
- Hexafluoropropylene oxide-dimer acid.
- Perfluorononanoic acid.
- Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid.
- Perfluorodecanoic acid.
- Perfluorohexanoic acid.
- Perfluorobutanoic acid.
To be listed as a hazardous constituent under RCRA, scientific studies must show that the chemical has toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic effects on humans or other life forms. EPA evaluated toxicity and epidemiology data for these chemicals and determined that these nine PFAS compounds meet the criteria for listing as a RCRA hazardous constituent.
With this proposal, EPA is working to protect communities by strengthening its ability to address PFAS contamination under the RCRA cleanup program, known as the RCRA Corrective Action Program. This change would facilitate additional corrective action to address releases of these specific PFAS at RCRA hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. It would not require the suite of cradle to grave management controls that are associated with a RCRA hazardous waste.
EPA welcomes comment on this proposal through April 8, 2024.
PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” are a class of manufactured chemicals that have been widely used in many industrial and consumer products since the 1940s, and they are still being used today. PFAS have been or are currently being manufactured for a variety of different uses, ranging from adhesives, coatings for clothes and furniture, fire-fighting foam, and other uses. Scientific studies show that exposure to some PFAS in the environment is linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.
In June 2021, the Governor of New Mexico petitioned EPA to list PFAS, either individually or as a class, as hazardous wastes under RCRA. New Mexico’s petition incorporated two earlier petitions submitted to EPA by reference, which also requested EPA to regulate PFAS under RCRA. EPA acted upon the Governor of New Mexico’s petition with a letter in October 2021. EPA indicated in the letter that it would initiate a rulemaking process to propose adding PFOA, PFOS, PFBS and GenX (Hexafluoropropylene oxide-dimer acid) as RCRA hazardous constituents under 40 CFR Part 261 Appendix VIII. Listing as a hazardous constituent is a building block for any future work to regulate PFAS as a RCRA listed hazardous waste.
- Frequent questions about the difference between a hazardous substance, a hazardous constituent, and a hazardous waste.
- Unified regulatory agenda entry for this proposal.
- Proposal to clarify authority to address releases of hazardous waste at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.
- EPA's PFAS website.
- New Mexico Governor’s petition requesting PFAS as hazardous waste under RCRA Subpart C (pdf)(244.21 KB).
- EPA response to the New Mexico Governor's PFAS petition October 2021 (pdf) (739.37 KB).
- Read the October 2021 news release about EPA’s response.