The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued the fourth Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) test order requiring testing on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under EPA’s National PFAS Testing Strategy, the latest action taken under EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap to confront contamination from “forever chemicals” nationwide.

This action orders the 3M Company and Wacker Chemical Corporation to conduct and submit testing on the physical-chemical properties of 2-(N-Methylperfluoro-1-octanesulfonamido)ethanol (NMeFOSE) (Chemical Abstract Service Reference Number: 24448-09-7), including testing on the health effects following inhalation of this chemical. NMeFOSE has been used widely in product, including clothing and carpet treatments as well as furniture coatings (paint and varnish). NMeFOSE has been found in the air and in biosolids, which are a byproduct of the water treatment processes often used on agricultural fields as fertilizer. Studies have also demonstrated that NMeFOSE can accumulate in indoor dust and air, as well as in outdoor environmental media.

“Communities across the country need information about whether or not PFAS are in our air and water, and any health risks caused by these chemicals,”said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. This year, we’re continuing to use test orders to gather data about the health effects of PFAS so that we can take any necessary action to protect people and the environment.”

After thoroughly examining existing hazard and exposure data, EPA has concluded that NMeFOSE may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. The potential hazards from exposure to this chemical could include damage to the nervous system and immune system, as well as cancer.  The test order will help EPA better understand the potential hazards and potential exposures associated with NMeFOSE.

The information EPA receives under this order will not only improve the Agency’s understanding of human health effects of NMeFOSE, but also potential health effects of more than 100 PFAS that are structurally similar to NMeFOSE and add to the agency’s overall understanding fo this category of PFAS.

The companies subject to the test order may either conduct the tests as described in the order, or provide EPA with existing information that they believe EPA did not identify in its search, but which satisfies the order requirements.

EPA encourages companies to jointly conduct testing to avoid unnecessary duplication of tests and will also consider possible combinations of tests that cover all required endpoints to diminish the amount of time, animal subjects and costs required.

The order employs a tiered testing process, as TSCA requires. The order is effective today, March 25, 2024. The results of all the first-tier testing are required to be submitted to EPA within one year of the effective date of the order and will inform the decision as to which additional tests are necessary. The order and any data submitted in response to this order will be made publicly available on EPA’s website and in the applicable docket on the page, subject to confidentiality considerations under TSCA section 14.

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