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EPA Seeking PFOA Reductions

Release Date: 01/25/2006
Contact Information: Enesta Jones, (202) 564-4355 / jones.enesta@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C.-Jan. 25, 2006) EPA is launching a global stewardship program inviting companies to reduce PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) releases and its presence in products by 95 percent by no later than 2010 and to work toward eliminating these sources of exposure five years after that but no later than 2015.

PFOA is an essential processing aid in the manufacture of fluoropolymers, which are used in the manufacture of a wide range of non-stick and stain-resistant surfaces and products. PFOA may also be produced by the breakdown of fluorotelomers, which are used to impart water, stain, and grease resistance to carpets, paper and textile.

PFOA is persistent in the environment, it has been detected in low levels in wildlife and humans, and animal studies conducted have indicated effects of concern.

"The science is still coming in, but the concern is there so acting now to minimize future releases of PFOA is the right thing to do for our environment and our health," said Susan B. Hazen, acting assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. "EPA is pleased to provide companies the opportunity to step up to the plate and demonstrate their leadership in protecting our global environment."

Participating companies will commit to reduce by 95 percent facility emissions and product content levels of PFOA, PFOA precursors, and higher homologue chemicals, by no later than 2010, with the year 2000 as the baseline for measuring reductions. The program also calls for companies to commit to work toward eliminating these sources of PFOA exposure five years after attaining the 95 percent reduction but no later than 2015. Companies are being asked to meet these commitments in the United States as well as in their global operations.

Also, participants are being asked to provide their commitment to EPA by March 1, 2006, and to submit their year 2000 baseline numbers for emissions and product content to EPA by Oct. 31, 2006. Annual public reports on their progress toward the goals will be due in October of each successive year. To ensure comparable reporting of reductions, participating companies must commit to work with EPA and others to develop and agree upon analytical standards and laboratory methods for these chemicals. EPA will also initiate efforts to add PFOA and related chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to help monitor the results of the stewardship program.

This stewardship program is a result of the Agency's on-going process with industry, stakeholders, consumer groups, and interested parties to identify and develop the scientific information needed to fully understand how people are being exposed to PFOA and what, if any, concerns those exposures may pose. Industry has responded by initiating new studies, including through enforceable as well as voluntary testing efforts, and this important data gathering effort will continue as an additional element under the Stewardship Program.

PFOA, also known as C8 or Ammonium Perfluorooctanoate (APFO), is used in the manufacturing process of fluoropolymers. Fluoropolymers impart desirable properties, including fire resistance and oil, stain, grease, and water repellency. They are used to provide non-stick surfaces on cookware and waterproof, breathable membranes for clothing. PFOA can also be found as an impurity in the production of some products.

More information on the agency actions on PFOA or to read any available commitment letters: epa.gov/opptintr/pfoa/pfoastewardship.htm