EPA to order chemical makers to test PFAS substances for toxicity
By Sebastien Malo
(Reuters) – The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday said it plans to require makers of a family of chemicals to fund and conduct toxicity studies on some of the substances.
The agency said it was acting in response to a 2020 petition by six North Carolina public health and environmental groups, including the Center for Environmental Health, that had asked the agency to require studies of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
The groups’ petition urged the EPA to use its untapped power under section 4 of the Toxic Substances Control Act to order The Chemours Co to subsidize health studies on 54 categories of PFAS that they said were manufactured by the chemical maker’s Fayetteville Works facility in North Carolina.
The EPA said in the statement that it now plans to require PFAS makers to conduct and fund testing for 24 PFAS, a move it says, in effect, “covers 30 of the 54 petition chemicals.”
A representative of the petitioners said that they “are quite disappointed in the EPA’s response and concerned that it fails to require almost all the testing that they requested in their petition.” Wilmington, Delaware-based Chemours did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
PFAS, a family of man-made chemical compounds, have been used for decades to make nonstick coatings such as Teflon and have been associated with serious health risks. PFAS, nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily, have sparked numerous lawsuits against their manufacturers.
The petitioners said in a federal lawsuit they filed in March to challenge the initial denial of their petition that they were concerned about contamination from 54 types of PFAS that have been detected in the drinking water, blood and produce of residents of the Cape Fear region.
Chemours’ 2,150-acre Fayetteville Works, located near the Cape Fear River, is a “major producer and user of PFAS,” the lawsuit alleged.|
The EPA said the decision to grant the petition advances the Biden administration’s agenda to better understand the “potential risks” of PFAS.
The case is Petition to Require Health and Environmental Testing Under The Toxic Substances Control Act On Certain PFAS Manufactured by Chemours in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Environmental Protection Agency, No. N/A.
For petitioners: Robert Sussman of Sussman and Associates
Erik A. Ross
Milliron & Goodman Government Relations, LLC.
200 North 3rd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101