EPA's move: Halting PFAS Production by Inhance Technologies to Safeguard Public Health
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has wielded its authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to instruct Inhance Technologies LLC to cease the production of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), particularly perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), used in the manufacture of fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic containers. This move aims to safeguard the public from PFAS exposure through various everyday items like household consumer goods, pesticides, fuel containers, and automotive products. PFAS, notorious for accumulating in the environment and the human body, pose long-term health risks even in minimal quantities.
The EPA's action stems from a violation notice issued in March 2022, revealing Inhance's failure to notify the agency about its PFAS manufacturing. The subsequent legal proceedings led to the current orders effective February 28, 2024, prohibiting the production of highly toxic PFAS (PFOA, perfluorononanoic acid, and perfluorodecanoic acid) and requiring Inhance to cease the manufacture of the remaining six PFAS while allowing for potential testing if production restarts.
Inhance historically fluorinated millions of containers annually, posing significant risks to drinking water supplies. The orders highlight the potential for adverse health effects and contamination hazards, emphasizing the EPA's commitment to addressing PFAS pollution. The directive also acknowledges alternatives to the fluorination process and hints at Inhance's efforts to eliminate all PFAS production, leaving the door open for compliance discussions or legal actions if necessary.
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