EPA Announces $4.8 Million for New Research on Managing Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

Dec 2, 2019

by ASME News

At the Annual Meeting of the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Regional Administrator Ken McQueen announced $4.8 million in funding to expand research on managing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in rural America and the agricultural sector. While this announcement focuses on PFAS research in agricultural applications, it also has significant impact on military installations and chemical facilities that utilize and produce PFASs. PFAS manufacturing and processing facilities, facilities using PFAS in production of other products, airports, and military installations are some of the contributors of PFAS releases into the air, soil, and water.

For a bit of background, in February EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler called on the agency to prioritize Federal research on PFAS and their potential impact in agricultural settings. PFAS are chemicals are resistant to grease, oil, water, and heat, making them highly desirable to industry and consumers, however the ability of PFAS to remain intact in the environment means that there will be increased levels of environmental contamination. Further, the FDA notes that “accumulation of certain PFAS has also been shown to occur in humans and animals, as found through blood tests. While the science surrounding potential health effects of PFAS is developing, current evidence suggests that the bioaccumulation of certain PFAS may cause serious health conditions.”

In a news release announcing EPA’s new funding commitment to PFAS in agriculture research, the agency announced their “PFAS Action Plan,” which consists of a multi-media, multi-program, national research, management and risk communication plan aimed at addressing current challenge surrounding the usage and disposal of PFAS. The agency noted that the plan has taken into consideration the input it has received through the PFAS National Leadership Summit, community engagements, and public comments.

EPA is currently seeking grant applications to take advantage of the $4.8 million funding announcement. Applicants must seek to improve the agency’s understanding of the potential impacts of PFAS on water quality and availability in rural communities and agricultural operations. For more information as to what information applicants should include in their proposals, please click here to visit the posted solicitation.

EPA is accepting applications through February 11, 2020.