EPA draws closer to unveiling plan to fight “eternal chemicals”


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon unveil a plan to address what it sees as “inadequate” regulation on a class of toxic chemicals that disproportionately affects vulnerable groups, according to documents obtained by The Hill.

The agency’s upcoming efforts to crack down on chemicals called PFAS, which have been linked to health problems including kidney and testicular cancer, were previewed in a slideshow recently obtained thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Asked about the slides, an EPA spokesperson said the agency will soon release its roadmap for PFAS and provide a comprehensive strategy to tackle pollution in communities across the United States. .

PFAS, which stands for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, can be found in a variety of places and products, including non-stick cookware, food packaging, fire foam, and potable water. They are also known as “eternal chemicals” because they persist and accumulate in the human body and the environment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure rates can be difficult to assess, but a 2015 to study found PFAS in the blood of 97 percent of Americans.

In April, the EPA administrator Michael reganMichael ReganOvernight Energy & Environment – Biden makes official return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries Trump-era EPA board member sues for dismissal established advice on PFAS which aims to develop a multi-year strategy to combat substances.

The slides obtained by The Hill, which are dated July 16 but obtained last week, provide an overview of the overall goals of the initiative, although many parts have been redacted.

One slide details what the agency sees as “current landscapes and trends” and refers to a “patchwork of regulations” and “current inadequate regulatory framework”.

He also mentioned “addressing disproportionate impacts on vulnerable groups” and “the need for prevention” for PFAS entering the environment – suggesting that these could be areas of intervention for the environment. agency action.

He also mentioned interagency and intergovernmental coordination, with a slide outlining “next steps” for September in which the agency was to have “engagement sessions with the federal family”.

The EPA spokesperson confirmed to The Hill that the agency had engaged with the Department of Defense as part of the effort, but did not say whether the initiative would ultimately include the cleanup of PFAS. military bases, a major source of contamination.

According to the slides, two of EPA’s intended goals include establishing voluntary programs to monitor PFAS use and identifying federal actions and partnerships.

Additional “next steps” indicate that between September and November, the agency should organize engagement sessions with co-regulators and relevant stakeholders.

Details come as the Biden administration seeks to tackle PFAS, but some on Capitol Hill say efforts to date do not go far enough.

The administration recently announced that it would set the very first release limits for PFAS, focusing on substance manufacturers as well as releases from chromium electroplating facilities.

However, a group of Democrats wrote to the EPA on Wednesday, complaining that the approach “excludes most of the industry categories that make the challenge of PFAS pollution even greater, despite the well-documented risks posed by PFAS exposure in the industry. ‘man and our environment “.

Lawmakers – Democrats Reps. Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroHouse Sends Bill Biden to Avoid Midnight Government Shutdown Holding back defensive systems for Israel could have dangerous consequences (Connecticut.), Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioCongress sends 30-day road funding fix to Biden after infrastructure lockdown House passes 30-day surface transport funding extension amid infrastructure deadlock Democrats prepare relief highway plan if the PLUS infrastructure bill is blocked (Ore.), James mcgovernJames (Jim) Patrick McGovern Biparty Congressional Committee urges IOC to postpone and relocate Beijing Games Journalism watchdog files criminal complaint against Saudi Crown Prince Democrats call for aid plan to remove taxes on unemployment benefits PLUS (Mass.) And Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy Kildee Sanders, Manchin and Sinema Fight Proxy War in House Equilibrium / Sustainability – Presented by American Petroleum Institute – Dems Demands Big Oil Group Accounting Bipartisan House Calls on Biden to Stop Storage Plans nuclear power in the Great Lakes PLUS (Michigan) – also said the administration’s strategy “does not set deadlines for the new standards. We find this extremely disappointing.

Democrats want the EPA to take more stringent action, including proposing a strategy to designate PFAS as hazardous, setting standards for cleaning drinking water and groundwater, addressing continued releases into air and water and ensuring proper disposal of associated wastes.

Any strategy that does not do this, lawmakers argued, “would also fall short of the agency’s mission to protect human health and the environment.”

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