Comprehensive National Strategy Announced to Confront PFAS Pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has announced a Strategic Roadmap to confront per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination nationwide. The Roadmap is centered on three guiding strategies:

  1. Increase investments in research.
  2. Leverage authorities to take action to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment.
  3. Accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination.

The Strategic Roadmap is intended to deliver on the USEPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment and answers the call for action on these persistent and dangerous chemicals.

In conjunction with the release of the Roadmap, USEPA announced a new national testing strategythatrequires PFAS manufacturers to provide toxicity data and information on categories of PFAS chemicals. The specific compounds of PFAS to be tested will be selected based on an approach that breaks the large number of PFAS today into smaller categories based on similar features and considers what existing data are available for each category.

USEPA says the initial set of test orders for PFAS will be strategically selected from more than 20 different categories of PFAS. The identified set of orders will provide the agency with critical information on more than 2,000 other similar PFAS that fall within these categories.

The Roadmap lays out:

  • Aggressive timelines to set enforceable drinking water limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure water is safe to drink in every community.
  • A hazardous substance designation under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), to strengthen the ability to hold polluters financially accountable.
  • Timelines for action—whether it is data collection or rulemaking—on Effluent Guideline Limitations under the Clean Water Act for nine industrial categories.
  • review of past actions on PFAS taken under the Toxic Substances Control Act to address those that are insufficiently protective.
  • Increased monitoring, data collection, and research so that the USEPA can identify what actions are needed and when to take them.
  • A final toxicity assessment for GenX, which can be used to develop health advisories that will help communities make informed decisions to better protect human health and ecological wellness.
  • Continued efforts to build the technical foundation needed on PFAS air emissions to inform future actions under the Clean Air Act.  

President Joe Biden has called for more than $10 billion in funding to address PFAS contamination through his Build Back Better agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

USEPA will hold two national webinars on October 26 and November 2. Attendees may RSVP to the webinars using the hyperlinked dates. Additional information on the Strategic Roadmap can be accessed on the USEPA website