Environmental Protection Agency Introduces Action Plan Addressing Heat and Water-Proofing Chemicals

Feb 22, 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a new Action Plan detailing regulations that place a cap on the amount of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) often found in drinking water. PFAS make surfaces resistant to water, staining and heat. In the past they were frequently used in the manufacturing of products such as cookware, cleaning products, rainwear and shoes. Part of the issue with PFAS is that they are very slow to degrade, having been nicknamed “forever chemicals”. The current PFAS limit in the U.S. is 70 parts per trillion in water.

In a recent statement on the matter, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler explained “For the first time in Agency history, we utilized all of our program offices to construct an all-encompassing plan to help states and local communities address PFAS and protect our nation’s drinking water. We are moving forward with several important actions, including the maximum contaminant level process that will help affected communities better monitor, detect, and address PFAS.”

Also included in the action plan is a list of “Key EPA Actions Addressing PFSA-Related Challenges”:

  • Expand toxicity information for PFAS
  • Develop new tools to characterize PFAS in the environment
  • Evaluate cleanup approaches
  • Develop guidance to facilitate cleanup of contaminated groundwater
  • Use enforcement tools to address PFAS exposure in the environment and assist states in enforcement activities
  • Use legal tools such as those in TSCS to prevent future PFAS contamination
  • Address PFAS in drinking water using regulatory and other tools
  • Develop new tools and materials to communicate about PFAS

To view the Action Plan in full, click here: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-02/documents/pfas_action_plan_021319_508compliant_1.pdf