January Update

The National Association for Surface Finishing has released its Public Policy Update for January 2021. Some of the highlights in the update are summarized below. You can access the NASF January 2021 Public Policy Update here.

Here are some highlights:

Washington Transition Update – The incoming Biden administration and Georgia runoff election may shift environmental policy and chemicals policy (including PFAS regulation). NASF suspects environmental justice and climate change will be at the top of the agenda, as well as new initiatives on the labor, health and safety, tax, trade and other fronts.

TRI Data Release – The EPA has released updated 2019 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data that includes summary and trend information, but does not include EPA\’s full analysis of the 2019 data. The 2019 TRI National Analysis, to be published in early 2021, will examine different aspects of the data, including trends in releases, other waste management practices, and pollution prevention activities.

Stormwater – In March 2020, the EPA published its proposed 2020 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) that authorizes stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity in areas where EPA is the NPDES permitting authority. NASF has submitted comments on the proposed MSGP.

Chemical Risk Evaluations – The EPA identified n-propyl bromide (1-bromopropane) as one of its first ten high priority chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). N-propyl bromide is used as a solvent to clean parts prior to surface finishing. EPA has one year from the risk evaluation to issue a proposed rule and two years from the risk evaluation to issue a final rule. NASF as well as a few of its members have been invited to participate in the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) panel as small entity representatives (SERs).

EPA has also identified trichloroethylene (TCE) as one of its first ten high priority chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). TCE has been used as a solvent to clean parts prior to surface finishing.

PFAS Sampling Plan – NASF, with the assistance of Dr. Janet Anderson, developed a PFAS Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP) for NASF members.

PFAS Federal Regulations – In 2020, the EPA proposed a regulatory determination to regulate PFOS and PFOA in drinking water. This is the first step in the regulatory process to establish a federal drinking water standard for PFOS and PFOA. NASF has encouraged the EPA to consider a treatment-focused regulatory approach to a drinking water standard for PFOS and PFOA, and that the treatment technologies considered must be technologically and economically feasible, consistent with the SDWA.

In 2020, the EPA issued a final significant new use rule (SNUR) for long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate (LCPFAC) chemical substances that imposes notification and other regulatory requirements on the manufacture, import or processing of certain new uses of specified LCPFAC substances, including PFOA and its salts. This SNUR does include PFOS or 6:2 FTS, the substances used in fume suppressants in the surface finishing industry. Accordingly, the article exemption for PFOS and 6:2 FTS would not be impacted by this SNUR.

EPA has published the draft Interim Guidance on Destroying and Disposing of Certain PFAS and PFAS-Containing Materials That Are Not Consumer Products with a 60-day public comment period under docket EPA-HQ-OLEM-2020-0527.

PFAS State Regulations – EPA Region 5, EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD) and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) conducted PFAS testing of fume suppressants currently in use and effluent discharge at approximately 12 plating shops in Michigan. The goal of this project was to determine if any PFOS is present in the fume suppressant currently in use and which PFAS, if any, may be in the effluent discharges of finishing shops.

On September 24, 2020, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Air Quality Division issued an initial threshold screening level (ITSL) for air emissions of 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonate (or 6:2 FTS) of 1 μg/m³, with annual averaging time. 6:2 FTS is used in the current formulations of fume suppressants for chrome plating applications.

Water Technology Research – NASF and the AESF Foundation have joined the Water and Environmental Technology (WET) Center Industrial Advisory Board, which focuses on a broad range of water and wastewater technologies and related public health issues.

To get more information on any of the stories mentioned above, access the full NASF January 2021 Public Policy Update here.