On October 18, 2021, EPA issued a news release of Administrator Reagan’s announcement of a “comprehensive Strategic Roadmap” to confront per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination. According to the news release, the Roadmap has three guiding strategies: 1) increase investments in research, 2) leverage authorities to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment, and 3) accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination.
Specific Anticipated EPA Actions
Specifically, EPA expects to:
- issue enforceable safe drinking water limits
- make a hazardous substance designation to allow for enforcement under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and
- gather data or issue rules for effluent guideline limitations under the Clean Water Act for nine industrial categories.
Lack of PFAS Data to Support Administrator’s Statement
The news release quotes Administrator Reagan stating American families “have suffered from PFAS.” However, other EPA statements indicate Administrator Reagan cannot support his conclusion that families have “suffered.” EPA has admitted “there are thousands of different PFAS” and most known exposures to PFAS “are relatively low.”
Indeed, EPA’s web page on the current understanding of PFAS states “research is still ongoing to determine how different levels of exposure to different PFAS can lead to a variety of health effects. Research is also underway to better understand the health effects associated with low levels of exposure to PFAS over long periods of time, especially in children.” Administrator Reagan’s use of the term “suffered” is not justified absent credible information on the specific chemicals, the levels of exposure, and the effects of that exposure.
To see the news release, which includes links to more information on PFAS, including the page describing EPA’s current understanding https://www.epa.gov/pfas/pfas-strategic-roadmap-epas-commitments-action-2021-2024