White House Plan to Combat PFAS
The White House announced a multi-agency plan to address the risks posed by PFAS. The plan involves eight federal agencies including the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services (HHS). The White House explained that “To safeguard public health and protect the environment, the efforts being announced will help prevent PFAS from being released into the air, drinking systems, and food supply, and the actions will expand cleanup efforts to remediate the impacts of these harmful pollutants.”
A key element in this plan is EPA’s PFAS Roadmap, which addresses PFAS through a number of environmental statutes from TSCA to the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory will lead the newly-formed Interagency Policy Committee on PFAS. The committee on PFAS will work to coordinate and help develop new policy strategies to support research, remediation, and removal of PFAS in communities across the country.
The White House Fact Sheet also identified efforts underway at the DOD, FDA, and other HHS agencies.
DOD is conducting PFAS cleanup assessments at the nearly 700 DOD installations and National Guard locations where PFAS were used or may have been released. The Department expects to complete its initial assessments by the end of 2023. In addition, DOD manages a large research and development program on PFAS detection, treatment, and destruction—with $70 million devoted to a PFAS-free replacement firefighting foam.
The FDA will expand its testing of the food supply to advance efforts to estimate dietary exposure to PFAS from food. In addition, FDA will report on the process of phasing out sales of certain PFAS from food contact uses, following the 3-year phase out agreements reached with certain manufacturers in 2020. Outreach efforts are also underway to ensure that companies are reminded of packaging requirements that are intended to reduce human exposure to PFAS. The FDA will also monitor the presence of and potential exposure to PFAS in cosmetics.
HHS will review the research on human health and PFAS. This includes a study by two HHS agencies, Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), in eight states that will provide information about the health effects of PFAS exposure.