Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a Washington, D.C. law firm providing chemical and chemical product stakeholders unparalleled experience, judgment, and excellence in matters relating to TSCA, and other global chemical management programs.

By Lynn L. Bergeson, Christopher R. Blunck, and Carla N. Hutton

On December 27, 2022, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to prevent Inhance Technologies USA from generating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) when fluorinating plastic containers. According to CEH and PEER’s joint press release, testing conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Notre Dame researchers, and other organizations “has found PFAS chemicals on the inner and outer surfaces of fluorinated containers and in the contents of the containers. The PFAS in the containers are likely formed as a result of chemical reactions that occur during the fluorination process conducted by Inhance.” According to the press release, Inhance “conducts fluorination operations at several facilities in the U.S. and is the leading supplier of post-mold fluorination services” in the United States. The press release notes that in 2020, EPA issued a significant new use rule (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) barring firms from producing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and certain other PFAS until EPA had been notified and determined whether the proposed uses of these PFAS might present an unreasonable risk to health. The press release states that [‌i]n this event, the law required EPA to ban or restrict the PFAS for these uses.” According to the lawsuit, Inhance did not notify EPA in 2020 and has been subsequently manufacturing PFOA and other PFAS in violation of TSCA.

CEH and PEER seek a court order restraining Inhance from continued manufacture of PFAS in violation of the SNUR, “requiring it to stop all distribution of fluorinated containers in commerce until and unless TSCA requirements are met and directing it to inform purchasers and users of these containers of the dangers of exposure to PFOA and other PFAS.”

The press release notes that on December 19, 2022, EPA filed suit against Inhance under TSCA. According to the press release, EPA’s suit “followed nearly two years of discussions between the agency and the company during which Inhance continued to produce PFAS in violation of TSCA without any EPA action to protect the public.” The press release states that EPA filed suit only after CEH and PEER wrote to the agency in late October 2022 “threatening to file suit against the company.” CEH and PEER intend to use their suit to ensure that EPA takes all actions authorized under TSCA “to put a stop to Inhance’s unlawful conduct and prevent unsafe exposure to PFAS by users of fluorinated containers.”


This lawsuit raises many interesting issues. TSCA Section 20(b)(1)(B) appears to preclude commencement of a Section 20 action if EPA has commenced and “is diligently prosecuting a proceeding” to issue an order under TSCA Section 16 to require compliance. If the plaintiff has given appropriate notice of its pending action before EPA commences its action, it can, however, intervene in EPA’s action as a matter of right. A factual question relevant here is whether EPA is diligently prosecuting the proceeding. The plaintiff seems to address this issue in paragraph 35 of its complaint:

35. Because of the many redactions in the Complaint and the lengthy two-year delay between EPA’s initiation of discussions with Enhance [sic] and the filing of its suit, plaintiffs are concerned that EPA will not “diligently prosecute” its action in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, removing a possible bar to plaintiffs’ suit in this Court under TSCA section 20(b)(1)(B) and enabling plaintiffs to seek all relief authorized by law in this action.

In that there have been relatively few TSCA Section 20 citizen actions to compel a person or company to come into TSCA compliance, this case could be one to watch. We question that the plaintiffs have made the case that EPA is not diligently prosecuting the case it filed, especially as only eight calendar days passed between the EPA filing and the plaintiffs’ filings, and that period included the Christmas holiday.

Another interesting issue relates to the likelihood that the manufacturing activities addressed in the complaint preceded proposal of the SNUR such that they would have been considered “ongoing,” thus arguably defeating application of the SNUR restrictions. Whether these activities preceded the proposed SNUR and whether EPA was made aware of this are unclear. Given the circumstances of the byproduct chemicals’ manufacture, it seems reasonable that such production would not be understood to be covered by the SNUR, as discussed further below -- and thus trigger the byproduct manufacturer to comment, noting to EPA the ongoing activity.

Notwithstanding EPA’s apparent position, it is questionable whether byproducts with no intentional use that become impurities in the products being processed and distributed are subject to SNURs. The manufacture of the substances of concern may be considered byproducts exempted by the SNUR. Although the byproduct exemption in Subpart A of Part 721 of the SNUR regulation itself, i.e., 40 C.F.R. Section 721.45(e), appears not to cover the activity, the PMN regulations exempt in 40 C.F.R. Section 720.30(h)(2) “[a]ny byproduct which is not used for commercial purposes.” This particular byproduct exemption appears to cover the byproducts in the facts at play, especially when read in the context of the chapeau to 40 C.F.R. Section 720.30(h) and 40 C.F.R. Section 721.1(c) of the SNUR regulations. which states:

The provisions of part 720 of this chapter apply to this part 721. For purposes of this part 721, wherever the phrase “new chemical substance” appears in part 720 of this chapter, it shall mean the chemical substance subject to this part 721. In the event of a conflict between the provisions of part 720 of this chapter and the provisions of this part 721, the provisions of this part 721 shall govern.

Arguably, there is no conflict between the SNUR regulation and the PMN regulations with regard to the applicability of the exemption at 40 C.F.R. Section 720.30(h)(2) to SNURs. In the absence of a provision making the exemption not applicable in specific SNURs, the exemption would appear applicable (as would other exemptions in 40 C.F.R. Section 720.30(h) that are not specifically replicated in 40 C.F.R. Section 721.45, certain of which we assume EPA even more clearly would not intend to include as covered manufacturing activities for SNUR purposes, e.g., a “chemical substance which results from a chemical reaction that occurs incidental to storage or disposal of another chemical substance, mixture, or article” (40 C.F.R. Section 720.30(h)(4)), which could also become an impurity in a product processed and distributed in commerce.). That the SNUR regulation exemptions duplicate certain PMN exemptions but exclude certain others should not be read to mean those excluded exemptions are not applicable given the language in 40 C.F.R. Section 721.1(c), copied above. Another view is that the manufacture of a substance as a byproduct that becomes an impurity in a product that is processed and distributed in commerce is not subject to the SNUR as the substance is not being manufactured “for any use” within the meaning of the SNUR. It is merely being inadvertently produced. Notwithstanding, we recognize EPA’s authority under TSCA to gather information, assess, and manage any unreasonable risks associated with the activity.

This is an interesting case TSCA mavens should monitor.


By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On December 2, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed significant new use rules (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN) and are also subject to Orders issued by EPA pursuant to TSCA. 87 Fed. Reg. 74072. The SNURs require persons who intend to manufacture (defined by statute to include import) or process any of these chemical substances for an activity that is proposed as a significant new use by this rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. The required notification initiates EPA’s evaluation of the use, under the conditions of use for that chemical substance, within the applicable review period. Persons may not commence manufacture or processing for the significant new use until EPA has conducted a review of the notice, made an appropriate determination on the notice, and taken such actions as are required by that determination. Comments are due January 3, 2023.
According to EPA, during review of the PMNs submitted for the chemical substances that are the subject of the proposed SNURs, EPA concluded that regulation was warranted under TSCA Section 5(e), pending the development of information sufficient to make reasoned evaluations of the health or environmental effects of the chemical substances. Based on its findings, EPA negotiated TSCA Section 5(e) Orders requiring the use of “appropriate exposure controls” with the PMN submitters. EPA states that as a general matter, it “believes it is necessary to follow the TSCA Orders with a SNUR that identifies the absence of those protective measures as significant new uses to ensure that all manufacturers and processors -- not just the original submitter -- are held to the same standard.” The proposed SNURs also include significant new uses that EPA proposes to determine are not ongoing based either on information showing that the chemical is not on the TSCA Inventory or based on EPA’s review of Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) submissions under TSCA Section 8(a). EPA states that it “believes that these uses could significantly increase the magnitude and duration of exposure to humans and the environment to these chemical substances. Accordingly, EPA wants the opportunity to evaluate and manage risks, where appropriate, from activities associated with those uses, before manufacturing or processing for those uses were to begin.”
EPA states that the SNURs advance one of the “key actions” in the PFAS Strategic Roadmap where EPA stated it plans to revisit past regulatory decisions concerning per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and address those that are insufficiently protective by imposing additional notification requirements. According to EPA, in this way, it “can ensure it has the opportunity to review PFAS before they are used in new ways that might present concerns.” More information on the PFAS Strategic Roadmap is available in our October 19, 2021, memorandum.



By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On November 10, 2022, California filed suit in California Superior Court against the manufacturers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) “for endangering public health, causing irreparable harm to the state’s natural resources, and engaging in a widespread campaign to deceive the public.” According to California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s November 10, 2022, press release, California “alleges that these manufacturers, including 3M and DuPont, knew or should have known that PFAS are toxic and harmful to human health and the environment, yet continued to produce them for mass use and concealed their harms from the public.” California claims that as a result, “these toxic ‘forever chemicals’ are pervasive across California’s bays, lakes, streams, and rivers; in its fish, wildlife, and soil; and in the bloodstream of 98% of Californians.” The complaint claims that the manufacturers “created and/or contributed to a public nuisance, harmed and destroyed natural resources, marketed defective products, failed to provide adequate warnings concerning the use of their products, and engaged in unlawful business practices.”
The press release states that the lawsuit concerns seven common PFAS that have been detected in drinking water supplies, surface waters, and groundwater in California: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA); perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS); perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS); perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS); perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA); perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA); and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA). California requests statewide treatment and destruction of PFAS, including, but not limited to, the treatment of drinking water by regulated water systems; water drawn from private wells and unregulated systems used for drinking water and irrigation; and water from other wastewater treatment plants and systems. California also seeks payment of funds necessary to mitigate the impacts to human health and the environment through environmental testing, medical monitoring, public noticing, replacement water (for period between testing and installation of treatment), and safe disposal and destruction.


By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on November 9, 2022, that it awarded $7,770,044 in research grant funding to 11 institutions to develop and evaluate innovative methods and approaches to inform its understanding of the human health risks that may result from exposure to chemical mixtures in the environment. EPA states that toxicology studies have traditionally focused on the effects of single chemicals on human health. Chemicals in the environment are often present as mixtures in the air, water, soil, food, and products in commerce, however, and these chemical mixtures include per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), disinfection byproducts (DBP), and other well-characterized mixtures. According to EPA, there is a need to assess the toxicity of chemical mixtures to understand how their combined effects on human health and the environment differ from what is known about individual chemicals. Due to their lower cost and higher throughput, new approach methods (NAM) and use of alternative animal models have emerged as potential approaches to advance the risk assessment of mixtures.
To help address this research need, the institutions receiving these grants will conduct research focused on the development, improvement, evaluation, and integration of predictive toxicology methods to evaluate environmental chemical mixtures. The grantees and their project titles include:

  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia -- High-Throughput Lung Damage and Inflammation Assessment of Polyaromatic Hydrocarbon Mixtures;
  • Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina -- Developing an Integrated Framework for Evaluating Toxicity of Real-life Chemical Mixtures;
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana -- Protein Binding Affinity as the Driver for Studying PFAS Mixture Toxicity;
  • The Research Foundation of CUNY, New York, New York -- Innovative Approach to Assess the Effect of Metal Mixtures from Infant Meconium Associated with Adverse Infant Outcomes by Identifying Methylation Loci in Mothers and Infants;
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas -- A Tiered Hybrid Experimental-Computational Strategy for Rapid Risk Assessment of Complex Environmental Mixtures Using Novel Analytical and Toxicological Methods;
  • University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York -- Assessment of Neurotoxicity of Mixtures of PFAS and Other Neuroactive Organic Pollutants through Integrated in Silico, in Vitro Cellular, and in Vivo Models;
  • University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc., Athens, Georgia -- Development of a Quantitative Adverse Outcome Pathway Network to Assess Neurodevelopmental Toxicity of PFAS Mixture in C. Elegans;
  • University of Houston, Houston, Texas -- Oral Toxicity Assessment of PAH Mixtures Using an in Vitro 3D Cell Culture Bioreactor Mimicking the in Vivo Intestinal Tract Environment;
  • University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts -- Whole Animal New Approach Methodologies for Predicting Developmental Effects of Air Pollutant Mixtures;
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina -- Wildfire Smoke Mixtures Toxicity Testing; and
  • Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan -- Assessment of Underlying Molecular Mechanisms Promoting Adipogenic Outcomes in Complex Mixtures.


By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on October 28, 2022, that it awarded $748,180 in research grant funding to three institutions for research to improve understanding of how people are exposed to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in several communities throughout the country. EPA states that there is evidence that continued exposure above specific levels to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health effects. According to EPA, more data are needed to measure the nature and levels of PFAS in homes and food to understand pathways for human exposure and risk mitigation.
The following institutions are receiving awards:

  • Silent Spring Institute, Newton, Massachusetts, to measure PFAS in air and dust in homes and to evaluate associations between potential residential sources and PFAS occurrence at home. According to EPA, this research will enhance understanding of the contribution of residential pathways to PFAS exposures and improve the interpretation of PFAS biomonitoring data;
  • Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, to determine how different sources of PFAS exposure, including PFAS in drinking water and in homes, contribute to levels measured in blood. EPA states that this study will address key questions on the most relevant PFAS exposure pathways for the general U.S. population; and
  • Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, to develop a standardized, validated, scientific protocol to measure levels of a targeted set of PFAS in the home. According to EPA, data collected from home samples will be compared to data collected from PFAS in blood to help identify residential sources of PFAS measured in people’s blood.


By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on October 19, 2022, entitled “Persistent Chemicals: EPA Should Use New Data to Analyze the Demographics of Communities with PFAS in Their Drinking Water.” The Congressional requesters asked GAO to examine per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in drinking water and related state actions. GAO’s report examines what recent data from selected states show about the occurrence of PFAS in drinking water; the demographic characteristics of communities in selected states with and without PFAS in their drinking water; and factors that influenced states’ decisions to test and develop standards or guidance for PFAS in drinking water. GAO states that recent drinking water data from six selected states show that at least 18 percent of the states’ 5,300 total water systems had at least two PFAS -- perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) --above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2022 interim revised health advisory levels. GAO found that 978 water systems had the two PFAS at or above EPA’s minimum reporting level of 4 parts per trillion (ppt), the lowest level reliably quantified by most laboratories, and above EPA’s health advisory levels. The demographic characteristics of communities with PFAS in their drinking water varied in the states GAO examined. GAO states that according to EPA officials, EPA does not currently have information to determine the extent to which disadvantaged communities are exposed to PFAS in drinking water nationally; EPA plans to collect comprehensive nationwide data, however.
GAO states that according to state officials, public health and PFAS contamination concerns influenced some states’ decisions to test and develop enforceable standards or nonenforceable guidance for PFAS in drinking water. As of July 2022, six states set standards and were influenced to do so by public health concerns. When the states set standards, the levels they set were more stringent than EPA’s 2016 lifetime health advisory levels. Fourteen additional states developed guidance or began developing standards because of PFAS contamination.
GAO recommends that EPA conduct a nationwide analysis using comprehensive data to determine the demographic characteristics of communities with PFAS in their drinking water. EPA agreed with the recommendation.

Tags: PFAS, Water, GAO


By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On October 13, 2022, Earthjustice, on behalf of a coalition of environmental organizations and community advocates, petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revoke the approval of approximately 600 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that were granted through low volume exemptions (LVE) or low release and low exposure exemptions (LoREX) to the premanufacture notice (PMN) requirements of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In its October 13, 2022, press release, Earthjustice states that these exemptions “allow EPA to approve chemicals through lax safety reviews only if it ‘will not present an unreasonable risk’ to humans or the environment.” According to Earthjustice, PFAS do not meet that standard, and EPA must revoke previously granted LVEs and LoREXs for PFAS. The petition follows an April 27, 2021, petition filed by Earthjustice on behalf of many of the same petitioners, and it incorporates the 2021 petition by reference.
The petition requests the following actions:

  • For all outstanding LVEs and LoREXs granted for PFAS, EPA must make a preliminary determination that these LVEs and LoREXs do not meet the terms of TSCA Section 5(h)(4) or 40 C.F.R. Section 723.50(d);
  • For all outstanding LVEs and LoREXs granted for PFAS, EPA must notify their manufacturers that it believes their substance does not meet the requirements for a PMN exemption and then proceed to make a final determination based on the current science that no PFAS meets the TSCA Section 5(h)(4) standard for a PMN exemption, taking into account potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations, in accordance with the protocols set forth in 40 C.F.R. Section 723.50(h);
  • In the alternative, EPA must individually re-assess all PFAS for which there is an outstanding LVE and/or LoREX to determine whether the substance meets the standard set forth in 40 C.F.R. Section 723.50(d) and in TSCA Section 5(h)(4); and
  • Petitioners incorporate by reference all of the requests set forth in the 2021 petition and reiterate the same requests here:
  • EPA must initiate a rulemaking to prohibit: (a) future use of the byproducts exemption for new PFAS; and (b) continued manufacture of any PFAS byproduct under the auspices of the byproducts exemption unless and until such PFAS has undergone a full PMN review and been approved by EPA, with a two-year window for manufacturers to receive such approval; and
  • EPA should immediately stop permitting the use of the LVE, LoREX, and polymer exemption for any new PFAS.


By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

Maine enacted “An Act To Stop Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution” in July 2021. Under the bill, manufacturers of products with intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) must report the presence of the intentionally added PFAS in those products to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) beginning January 1, 2023. The law also prohibits the sale of carpets or rugs, as well as the sale of fabric treatments, that contain intentionally added PFAS beginning on January 1, 2023. Beginning January 1, 2030, any product containing intentionally added PFAS may not be sold in Maine unless the use of PFAS in the product is specifically designated as a currently unavoidable use by MDEP.

According to the MDEP website, MDEP is in the process of developing a rule to clarify the January 1, 2023, reporting requirements. MDEP states that during the rule development process, there will be an opportunity for stakeholder input on the implementation of the program. Stakeholders can subscribe to receive notification of MDEP rulemaking and opportunity to comment notices on its website.

Pending clarification of the reporting requirements, reporting entities may need to request an extension of time to notify MDEP of any products for sale in the state of Maine that contain intentionally added PFAS. At this time, terms in the statutory language are not defined to allow companies to report information with sufficient clarity to comply confidently with the law. Manufacturers will need to obtain information from many industry sectors and upstream suppliers to determine if PFAS was intentionally added to the product or is a component of the product. Suppliers in many industry sectors are numerous, and because of current and ongoing supply chain issues, manufacturers are challenged now more than ever. The frequently asked questions (FAQ) on MDEP’s website list information that will be required, “at a minimum,” but the website states that “[t]hese requirements will be further clarified as part of the rulemaking.”

Tags: Maine, MDEP, PFAS


By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 8, 2022, that it selected 39 recipients that will receive nearly $12 million in pollution prevention (P2) grants made possible by President Joseph Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $100 million program investment. According to EPA, the grants will allow states and Tribes to provide businesses with technical assistance to help them develop and adopt P2 practices to prevent or reduce pollution before it is even created, while also reducing business and liability costs. Proposed projects include reducing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in food packaging and food waste recycling streams, increasing awareness of green cleaning chemicals in businesses and schools, and helping underserved communities implement P2 best practices to reduce waste and emissions from industrial plants.
EPA notes that the P2 program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to underserved communities. State and Tribal programs awarded grants will not be required to provide matching funds, as is required by traditional P2 grants.
According to EPA, selected and awarded grantees will document and share P2 best practices they identify and develop through these grants so that others can replicate the practices and outcomes. Each selected grantee will address at least one of the National Emphasis Areas (NEA) established to focus resources to achieve measurable results and to create opportunities to share information among P2 grantees and businesses affiliated with similar NEAs. Each selected grantee will also develop at least one case study during the grant period on P2 practices that are new or not widely known or adopted, or where detailed information on P2 practices could benefit other businesses or P2 technical assistance providers. The NEAs include food and beverage manufacturing and processing; chemical manufacturing, processing, and formulation; automotive manufacturing and maintenance; aerospace product and parts manufacturing and maintenance; metal manufacturing and fabrication; and supporting P2 in Indian country and for Alaska Native Villages.

Tags: P2, PFAS, pollution


By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On September 6, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed to designate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), including their salts and structural isomers, as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). 87 Fed. Reg. 54415. According to EPA, “[s]uch a designation would ultimately facilitate cleanup of contaminated sites and reduce human exposure to these ‘forever’ chemicals.” Comments are due November 7, 2022. EPA states that under the Paperwork Reduction Act, “comments on the information collection provisions are best assured of consideration if the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) receives a copy of your comments on or before October 6, 2022.”
Upon designation, any person in charge of a vessel or an offshore or onshore facility, as soon as they have knowledge of any release of such substances at or above the reportable quantity (RQ) must immediately report such releases to the federal, state, tribal, and local authorities. The RQ for these designations is one pound or more in a 24-hour period. EPA states that once it has collected more data on the size of releases and the resulting risks to human health and the environment, it may consider issuing a regulation adjusting the RQs for these substances.
The five broad categories of entities potentially affected by this action include:

  • PFOA and/or PFOS manufacturers (including importers and importers of articles);
  • PFOA and/or PFOS processors;
  • Manufacturers of products containing PFOA and/or PFOS;
  • Downstream product manufacturers and users of PFOA and/or PFOS products; and
  • Waste management and wastewater treatment facilities.

More information is available in our August 29, 2022, memorandum.


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