PRESS RELEASE

EPA’s PFAS Action Plan A Dud

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For Immediate Release: October 18, 2021

Contact: Kirsten Stade kstade@peer.org

 

EPA’s PFAS Action Plan A Dud

Response Too Weak and Limited to Protect Public Health

Washington, DC — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new plan to stem an escalating PFAS contamination crisis is woefully inadequate, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Today, EPA Administrator Michael Regan released the EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap: EPA’s Commitments to Action 2021-2024. PFAS are a class of over 9,000 man-made chemicals that have a carbon and fluorine backbone. They are referred to as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down readily and many bioaccumulate in the food chain.

The plan purports to put forth a “lifecycle approach” to managing PFAS. PEER points out crippling limitations to EPA’s plan, such as –

  • Laying out future promises of planning to plan, and only promising future regulatory limits on two PFAS, PFOA and PFOS, in drinking water;
  • Relying on voluntary stewardship programs that have consistently failed the American public;
  • Relying on a “whack-a-mole approach” by developing toxicity standards for only seven PFAS; and
  • Failing to commit to any mechanism to safely manage generation, transportation and disposal of waste contaminated with PFAS.

Just today, PEER released an EPA dataset with information on some 120,000 industrial facilities that “may be handling” PFAS–a figure that is several times higher than outside experts have estimated. The plan identifies no mechanism to identify which of those facilities are handling PFAS and if they are doing so in a manner that is safe for the public.

“EPA is kicking the can down the road with this plan,” stated PEER Science Policy Director Kyla Bennett, an attorney and scientist formerly with EPA. “EPA appears incapable of taking the action necessary to protect the public from this health crisis.”

“This plan is a complete dud,” added Executive Director Tim Whitehouse of PEER. “The PFAS crisis is going to get much worse unless there are major course corrections far beyond EPA’s terribly timid plan.”

 

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See PEER’s Map of 120,000 Facilities That May be Handling PFAS

See Whistleblower Complaints into EPA’s New Chemicals Program

Read EPA’s Action Plan

Read How Industry is Blocking Removal of PFAS in Firefighting Gear