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US EPA Announces Key Step to Advance Science, Better Protect Communities from PFAS Pollution

US EPA Announces Key Step to Advance Science, Better Protect Communities from PFAS Pollution

WASHINGTON (Oct. 25, 2021) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final human health toxicity assessment for GenX chemicals, which are part of the per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) group. The agency’s final toxicity assessment represents a key step in advancing the scientific understanding of GenX chemicals and their effects on human health.

“Research establishes a foundation for informed decision making and it is one of the central strategies of EPA’s PFAS Roadmap,” said Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “This science-based final assessment marks a critical step in the process of establishing a national drinking water health advisory for GenX chemicals and provides important information to our partners that can be used to protect communities where these chemicals are found.”

In certain locations, GenX chemicals have been found in surface water, groundwater, drinking water, rainwater, and the air. EPA’s final assessment for GenX chemicals focuses solely on the potential human health effects associated with oral exposure. Issuing the final toxicity assessment gives EPA the opportunity to share and exchange information with the agency’s state and Tribal co-regulators who are working with their communities to confront this complex environmental challenge.

The agency’s final 2021 GenX chemicals assessment uses the state-of-the-art systematic review process, incorporates new data available since 2018, and applies revised uncertainty factors. These changes resulted in a lower, more protective toxicity value for GenX chemicals relative to EPA’s 2018 draft toxicity assessment.

EPA’s release of the final GenX chemicals toxicity assessment is a key step toward developing a national drinking water health advisory for GenX chemicals, which the agency committed to publishing in Spring 2022 as part of the PFAS Roadmap.

For more information, visit https://www.epa.gov/pfas/epa-actions-address-pfas.

Background
GenX is a trade name for a processing aid technology used to make high-performance fluoropolymers. Hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) dimer acid and its ammonium salt are the major chemicals associated with GenX processing aid technology. Industry developed GenX chemicals to replace perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a legacy PFAS.

In October 2021, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the agency’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap—laying out a whole-of-agency approach to addressing PFAS. The roadmap sets timelines by which EPA plans to take specific actions and commits to bolder new policies to safeguard public health, protect the environment, and hold polluters accountable. The actions described in the PFAS Roadmap each represent important and meaningful steps to safeguard communities from PFAS contamination. Cumulatively, these actions will build upon one another and lead to more enduring and protective solutions.

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