The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans this week for regulation that would for the first time set limits on levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS*, that certain manufacturers and users of the chemical compound discharge in wastewater.
More specifically, the EPA said it will start preliminary work on a pollution rule for how much PFAS can be discharged into sewage treatment systems and surface waters from “facilities manufacturing PFAS” that are part of the organic chemicals, plastics and synthetic fibers industries. It will also work on a PFAS pollution rule for industries that perform metal-finishing operations.
The agency will take comments on its proposal–watch for the call for public comment later on this blog.
*PFAS (aka “forever chemicals” because they do not break down in the environment or the bodies of humans or nonhuman animals), have been associated with a laundry list of serious health conditions. They have been used for decades in household products such as nonstick cookware, stain- and water-resistant textiles, rugs, food packaging, photo imaging, tech devices, cosmetics, personal care products, food packaging, and in industrial products. Many states have already outlawed their use in food packaging.