EPA Designates Two PFAS Chemicals as Hazardous

Two of the twelve thousand PFAS “forever chemicals”* will now be listed as “hazardous substances” under the U.S. Superfund law per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The domestic manufacture of the chemicals PFOA and PFOS have largely been phased out by industry, but the EPA’s new classification makes it easier to prioritize cleanup of sites nationwide that have been contaminated by those chemicals. The proposal would require companies to report leaks of two of the most widely used per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and pay for cleanups, and would also provide public funds for cleanups when the culprits cannot be found. Representatives of U.S. chemicals makers, including the America Chemistry Council, have opposed the proposal to designate PFAS chemicals as hazardous, calling it expensive and ineffective in cleaning up contaminated sites.  No other PFAS in the entire class of thousands of chemicals are regulated by the EPA.   source

*PFAS chemicals (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are toxic to humans, animals and the environment. They are comprised of approximately 12,000 compounds. They are ubiquitous in the U.S., appearing in thousands of consumer and industrial products and are typically used to make products resist water, stains and heat, including household products (like carpeting, curtains, furniture upholstery, waterproof and stain-resistant flooring, etc.), cooking supplies (including cooking utensils and bake ware), clothing, personal care products (like cosmetics, including waterproof mascara) and even food (PFAS appears in processed food packaging for humans and pets) and public drinking water (tap water) that affects an estimated 2 million Americans. PFAS chemicals are usually found in products labeled “stain-proof” and “waterproof”.  PFAS chemicals also appear in fire-fighting foam and other industrial products used at airports and military bases across the country, where the chemicals have leached into the groundwater. PFAS chemicals are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not readily break down in the environment or human body.  PFAS chemicals have been linked in scientific and medical studies to a variety of serious health conditions including cancer (including testicular cancers), kidney disease, heart disease, thyroid problems, reproductive problems, endocrine problems (PFAS has been found to disrupt hormonal functions with some research suggesting that the PFAS chemicals are linked to accelerated ovarian aging, period irregularities and ovarian disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome) and liver problems. Some newer PFAS have been found to accumulate in organs, so in some cases, science simply cannot detect the toxic chemicals when testing for it in blood.