EPA Mulls PFAS Superfund Designation

In a Friday press release, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the opening of a rulemaking that would designate two common per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS) as hazardous under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

The announcement targets perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), as well as associated derivatives. The potential designation “is based on significant evidence that PFOA and PFOS may present a substantial danger to human health or welfare or the environment,” the release states.

“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,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Under this proposed rule, EPA will both help protect communities from PFAS pollution and seek to hold polluters accountable for their actions.”  

PFAS contamination is behind many high-profile environmental lawsuits, including cases against Burger King and 3M. The compounds are notorious for not degrading naturally, giving them the moniker “forever chemicals.”

Designating the chemicals under CERCLA would institute reporting requirements in the event of releases of these chemicals. The notice of proposed rulemaking has not been published at the time of the press release. Once it is published, the proposed rules will be subject to a 60 day comment period.