Read the full article (The Washington Post)

“Virtually everyone has been exposed to ‘forever chemicals,’ human-made compounds that linger in environments — and bodies — for decades. Polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl compounds, also known as PFAS, have long been associated with a range of health issues, yet have been left largely unregulated. That makes the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent proposal to classify the two most common forms of PFAS as “hazardous” an important step forward.

PFAS are found in thousands of household items, from nonstick pans to fabrics to cosmetics. What makes them so useful is also what makes them uniquely risky: Because they contain extremely strong carbon-fluorine bonds that do not occur in nature, they are very durable — and very difficult to dispose of. PFAS chemicals have been discovered at unhealthful levels in millions of Americans’ drinking water, and have been linked to cancer, infertility and cardiovascular problems, among other conditions.

The EPA’s proposed rule would add two common types of PFAS to its list of hazardous substances under the ‘Superfund’ law. The designation unlocks a range of additional powers. It would require companies to report a release of one pound or more of these compounds over a 24-hour span. Crucially, the rule would grant the federal government stronger authority to force polluters to pay for cleanup or — if the polluter is unknown or bankrupt — fund the restoration itself.” …