Friday, September 30, 2022
Home POLITICS EPA Proposes Hazardous Designation for Two 'Chemicals Forever'

EPA Proposes Hazardous Designation for Two ‘Chemicals Forever’

The EPA has proposed designating two “forever chemicals” as hazardous substances under the Superfund Act.

The proposal published Friday would designate the two most widely used perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), under the Comprehensive Environmental, Compensation and Liability Act. If finalized, it would require releases of a pound or more to be reported within a 24-hour period, which the agency says would give it better data, as well as the option to request cleanups and recover costs.

“Under this proposed rule, EPA will help protect communities from PFAS contamination and seek to hold polluters accountable for their actions,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, using the commonly used abbreviation for the group. of chemicals.

The EPA said it will publish the rule in the coming weeks, triggering a 60-day public comment period. The agency also plans to issue a separate notice after the comment period closes seeking comments on the possibility of designating other PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances.

PFAS have been used in a wide range of commercial applications, ranging from firefighting foams to nonstick cookware. They have been called chemicals forever because they break down slowly and persist both in the human body and in the environment. Exposure is linked to certain types of cancer and other health problems, such as low birth weight and endocrine disruption.

After the Trump administration was criticized for failing to act on PFAS, the Biden administration promised to end federal regulations. In June, the EPA issued updated drinking water health advisories for PFOA and PFOS that are drastically lower than those set in 2016 and below screening levels the agency determines can be reliably measured in water. using approved test methods in a laboratory setting.

The EPA said it expects to propose national drinking water regulations for PFOA and PFOS by the end of the year, with a final rule expected in 2023.

“Too many communities across the country are struggling to address the presence of PFAS chemicals in their land and waters. Kudos to the EPA for taking this bold and necessary step to get those responsible for this pollution on board and help communities clean up,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Thomas R. Carper, D-Del. , it’s a statement.

The committee’s ranking member, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va., also supports action on PFAS and, after the announcement, reiterated her support for an enforceable drinking water standard. However, she expressed concern about the “uncertainty and unintended consequences that today’s proposal could have.”

“If this proposal is finalized, property owners, farmers, employers, essential utility companies and individuals may be liable for unknowingly having PFAS on their land, even if it was there years or even generations before the property and came from a unknown source”. Capito said.

Water and sewer utilities have expressed similar concerns that a Superfund designation could shoulder the costs of chemicals they did not create themselves. The agency said during consideration of the proposed rule that it will conduct outreach with affected communities, wastewater utilities, businesses and farmers.

EPA post proposing hazardous designation for two ‘forever chemicals’ appeared first on Roll Call.

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