EPA Proposes PFOA And PFOS Designation as Hazardous Substances


On August 26, 2022, the EPA proposed to designate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), including their salts and structural isomers, as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as “Superfund.”

These substances are two of the most widely used per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are known as “forever chemicals” due to their inability to break down over time in the environment. Research shows that these chemicals accumulate in the human body. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found PFAS in the blood of 97 percent of Americans. Evidence suggests that exposure to PFOA and/or PFOS may lead to cancer and reproductive, developmental, cardiovascular, liver, and immunological effects.

“Communities have suffered far too long from exposure to these forever chemicals. The action announced today will improve transparency and advance EPA’s aggressive efforts to confront this pollution, as outlined in the Agency’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan says in an EPA press release. “Under this proposed rule, EPA will both help protect communities from PFAS pollution and seek to hold polluters accountable for their actions.”

If finalized as proposed, the rulemaking would require releases of PFOA and PFOS that meet or exceed the reportable quantity of 1 pound to be reported to the National Response Center, state or tribal emergency response commissions, and local or tribal emergency planning committees. The regulations will require reporting to occur within 24 hours from release.

“EPA is focused on holding responsible those who have manufactured and released significant amounts of PFOA and PFOS into the environment,” continues the Agency press release. “EPA will use enforcement discretion and other approaches to ensure fairness for minor parties who may have been inadvertently impacted by the contamination. EPA is also committed to doing further outreach and engagement to hear from impacted communities, wastewater utilities, businesses, farmers and other parties during the consideration of the proposed rule.”

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EHS Daily Advisor, 19-09-22
; https://ehsdailyadvisor.blr.com/2022/09/epa-proposes-pfoa-and-pfos-designation-as-hazardous-substances/