Decoding the PFAS Puzzle: How Electronics Manufacturers Can Navigate the New EPA Reporting Maze

New PFAS regulation

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recent PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) regulation presents a significant and complex challenge, particularly for the electronics manufacturing industry. Released on September 28, 2023, under Section 8(a)(7) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), this rule mandates extensive reporting on PFAS, including fluoropolymers. These substances are prevalent in a wide range of electronic components, such as gaskets, tubing, electrical wiring, printed circuit boards (PCBs), and membranes, thus significantly impacting the electronics sector.

Understanding the Implications for Electronics Manufacturers

Electronics manufacturers are now required to navigate a new regulatory landscape where PFAS, used in various components, are under strict scrutiny. The rule's broad definition of PFAS, which includes thousands of different compounds, along with the lack of typical TSCA exemptions, places a significant reporting burden on the industry. This regulation affects a wide range of products and components within the electronics sector, from basic wiring to complex PCBs.

Comprehensive Reporting Requirements

Under this new regulation, electronics manufacturers must report the following for each imported article containing PFAS:

  • The identity of each PFAS substance.
  • The categories and specific functions of these substances in the articles.
  • The estimated maximum concentrations of PFAS.
  • The annual import volumes of these articles.

This detailed reporting is required for every year since 2011, adding to the complexity for manufacturers who now need to retrospectively gather and compile a decade's worth of data.

Challenges and Steps Forward

The primary challenge for electronics manufacturers lies in the detailed level of reporting required. This will necessitate in-depth investigations into their supply chains to identify the presence and concentration of PFAS in various components. The process involves not only internal data collection but also extensive communication with suppliers and partners to gather necessary information.

Given the wide use of PFAS in electronics manufacturing, companies must:

  • Conduct a Thorough Supply Chain Audit: Understand where and how PFAS are used in their products and start tracing these substances back through the supply chain.
  • Gather Historical Data: Collect data retrospectively from 2011 to the present, which may require revisiting old records and engaging with long-term suppliers.
  • Prepare for Compliance Reporting: Get ready to report via the EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX) web portal, ensuring all data is accurate and comprehensive.
  • Implement New Processes for Future Compliance: Establish protocols and procedures to continuously monitor and record PFAS usage in compliance with the new regulations


The new EPA regulation on PFAS reporting is a landmark change for electronics manufacturers, requiring a meticulous and comprehensive approach to compliance. It emphasizes the need for greater transparency and accountability in the use of materials that have potential environmental and health impacts. For the electronics industry, this is an opportunity to not only comply with current regulations but also to lead in sustainable and responsible manufacturing practices. By proactively addressing these challenges, electronics manufacturers can ensure they not only comply with the new regulations but also contribute to a more environmentally conscious and safer industry standard.

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