They also doubt the agency’s capacity to tackle PFAS. The 200 chemicals the EPA is now tracking represent just a fraction of the 12,000 PFAS known to exist. PEER, an organization that supports current and former employees of public environmental agencies, calculates that based on current staffing levels and methods at the EPA, evaluating all PFAS would take about a thousand years.
For those reasons, PEER and other advocates applaud New Jersey’s move to regulate a single additional PFAS within its boundaries even as they fear it spotlights the ongoing shortcomings of the EPA’s efforts.
The problem has spanned decades and multiple presidential administrations, said Kyla Bennett, a former EPA employee and the director of science policy at PEER.
“They’ve got the same culture and pattern of behavior,” Bennett said. “Chemicals are assumed to be innocent, until they’re proven guilty.”