PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals have been used in thousands of products since they were first commercialized after World War II. Unfortunately, however, these long lasting chemicals, sometimes called “forever chemicals,” which are widely distributed in the environment, and found in the blood of most Americans, are now being associated with many health problems, including kidney and testicular cancers, thyroid issues, developmental and reproductive problems, and reduced immunity.
In his campaign’s environmental justice plan, President Biden made several promises related to curbing environmental hazards related to PFAS chemicals. One of the most important of these promises was a commitment to designate two PFAS chemicals, PFOA (formerly used to make Teflon) and PFOS (formerly used in Scotchgard) as hazardous substances under the federal Superfund law. This step is very important because it would facilitate clean up at thousands of sites contaminated with PFAS chemicals, including many military bases where PFAS chemicals were used in firefighting foams, and help the EPA hold polluters accountable. Other campaign promises included commitments to regulate PFAS in drinking water, expand PFAS research, and end federal purchases of non-essential uses of PFAS.
Michael Regan, President Biden’s nominee for head of the EPA, recently underwent his confirmation hearing, and given widespread bi-partisan support, is expected be confirmed as Administrator of the EPA in the near future. In his hearing, Mr. Regan stated that PFAS would be a “top priority” of the EPA, along with climate change. He also indicated that under his administration, the EPA would “pursue discharge limits,” “water-quality values,” and “all avenues that we can.” It is widely believed that water quality standards for PFAS will be adopted during the Biden administration. At present, there is no binding national standard for PFAS levels in drinking water, although a few states have adopted maximum levels, and the EPA has issued a non-enforceable health advisory of 70 parts per trillion, the equivalent of one drop in 1000 Olympic sized swimming pools.
If you or a loved one have been harmed by exposure to PFAS chemicals, please contact James F Humphreys & Associates, L.C. at 304-881-0652 (local) or 877-341-2595 (toll free) for a free initial consultation. You may also contact us at our website, www. jfhumphreys.com.
Scott Faber, EWG News and Analysis, How Will the Biden Administration Tackle ‘Forever Chemicals’?”
Melanie Benesh, EWG News and Analysis, Biden Must Keep Pledge to Designate ‘Forever Chemicals’ as Hazardous Substances.
John Gardella, The National Law Review, vol. XI, Number 39, 2/8/21, EPA PFAS Regulations: “PFAS A Priority” Says Incoming Administrator.