The EPA recently announced a proposal to designate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), two of the most widely used PFAS chemicals, as hazardous substances. This action is meant to spur the cleanup of dozens of sites where these chemicals have been dumped. It includes reporting requirements so communities can take steps to reduce exposures to these substances. Being listed as hazardous substances by the EPA makes it easier for the government to compel polluters to foot the bill for cleaning up contaminated sites.
This is positive step, but falls short of what is really needed, which is designating PFAS as an entire class as hazardous substances. Newer PFAS chemicals have been found by the EPA to be even more toxic than the older PFOA. Nor does this action address another critical problem, which is the pervasive contamination of Americans’ water supply with these chemicals.
The EPA must take more sustained and broader actions against all PFAS chemicals to truly protect the public. This is, however, an indication that our advocacy is working, so let’s keep up the pressure!