EPA Announces Cross-Agency Effort to Address PFAS
On December 4, 2017, the EPA announced a “a cross-agency effort to address per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).” The press release notes that the PFAS effort will include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), as well as GenX, a substance developed as a replacement for the older chemicals.
The Agency pledged to:
- Identify a set of near-term actions to help support local communities;
- Enhance coordination with states, tribes and federal partners to provide communities with critical information and tools to address PFAS;
- Increase ongoing research efforts to identify new methods for measuring PFAS and filling data gaps; and
- Expand proactive communications efforts regarding PFAS and their health effects.
However, the Agency did not promise to take regulatory action.
The EPA issued Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) for PFOS-related substances in 2002. It also issued a SNUR for the use of perfluorinated chemicals in carpets and carpet aftercare products in 2013. In addition, the Agency partnered with manufacturers in the US and globally to reduce or eliminate use of PFASs. U.S. companies voluntarily phased out producing the chemicals between 2000 and 2002. Foreign companies achieved a 95 percent reduction in PFOA and PFOA-related chemicals in the emissions from their facilities and in their products.
The EPA has also published drinking water health advisories for PFOA and PFOS.
More information about the Agency’s efforts regarding these substances can be found here.