Read the full article by Tom Perkins (The Guardian)
“The Biden administration on Friday announced a new proposal that could force polluters of two common PFAS compounds to pay billions of dollars for the toxic substances’ cleanup.
The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the Superfund law, the statute that guides cleanup at the nation’s most contaminated sites.
The proposal, which officials are aiming to finalize in 2023, could accelerate cleanup efforts at hundreds of manufacturing facilities, military bases, airports and other sites where the chemicals are frequently used, and which are contributing to the contamination of drinking water supplies for an estimated 200 million people nationwide.
Public health advocates largely praised the change, though some said it would fail to adequately address widespread contamination.
‘Today’s historic proposal will mean PFAS polluters are finally held accountable,’ said Environmental Working Group vice-president of government affairs Melanie Benesh. ‘For too long, they’ve had a free pass to dump PFAS into communities and poison their neighbors.’
PFAS are a class of about 12,000 chemicals typically used to make thousands of products resist water, stain and heat. They are called ‘forever chemicals’ because they do not naturally break down and accumulate in humans and the environment. A growing body of evidence links them to serious health problems like cancer, birth defects, liver problems, kidney disease and decreased immunity.
The announcement is part of a sweeping Biden administration plan designed to rein in the chemicals’ use and address contamination in drinking water and the environment. The EPA several months ago lowered health advisory limits for PFOA and PFOS, finding virtually no exposure to the chemicals is safe.” …