Read the full article by Stephanie R. Feingold, Jeremy Esterkin, Drew Cleary Jordan, and Sarah M. Carter (Bloomberg Law)

“The PFAS Action Act would, among other things, require creation of a national drinking water standard for various PFAS chemicals. Morgan Lewis environmental attorneys say the act could also significantly accelerate the timeline for classifying certain PFAS compounds as hazardous substances and allows the EPA significant discretion over future PFAS regulation.

The PFAS Action Act, introduced April 13 by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), is a bipartisan bill that directs the Environmental Protection Agency to enact multiple significant regulations related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The bill largely mirrors legislation approved by the House in the last session of Congress in a 247-159 vote. Proponents are optimistic that the new Congress may be able to advance it into law this session.

Key Provisions

PFAS are a group of thousands of chemicals used in consumer and commercial products for their heat resistance and ability to repel moisture, oil, and grease, among other properties. The most sweeping proposals in the bill concern the two most studied PFAS compounds—perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)—but certain provisions apply more broadly.

If passed, the bill would require the EPA to promulgate PFAS regulations by certain deadlines, including, in part:

  • Establishing a national drinking water standard under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for PFOA/PFOS within two years;
  • Determining whether to list PFOA/PFOS as ‘hazardous substances’ under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) within one year, and all other PFAS compounds within five years; and
  • Designating PFOA/PFOS as ‘hazardous air pollutants’ under the Clean Air Act (CAA) within six months…”