EPA Delivers Results on PFAS Action Plan

January 26, 2021

EPA Press Office ([email protected])

WASHINGTON (January 19, 2021) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a suite of actions from across the agency that will continue the significant progress the agency has made to implement the PFAS Action Plan—the most comprehensive cross-agency plan ever to address an emerging chemical of concern. EPA has made progress in all of its program areas under the Action Plan, and the agency is helping states, tribes, and local communities across the country target PFAS reductions and protect public health.

“I am proud of the work EPA has done over the past two years under the PFAS Action Plan, which has touched every office in the agency and every region,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Our commitment to our mission to protect public health and the environment from these emerging chemicals of concern has been unwavering and we have delivered results for every key commitment we made under the plan.”

EPA is issuing the following actions:

Moving Forward on Regulating PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water by Issuing Final Regulatory Determinations

After evaluating more than 11,000 public comments, the agency is taking the next step to regulate these two PFAS under the processes laid out in the Safe Drinking Water Act by issuing final regulatory determinations for PFOA and PFOS. EPA will now initiate the process to develop a national primary drinking water regulation for these two PFAS, which will include further analyses, scientific review, and opportunity for public comment. Additionally, EPA intends to fast track evaluation of additional PFAS for future drinking water regulatory determinations if necessary information and data become available. For additional information: www.epa.gov/safewater

Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Addressing PFOA and PFOS in the Environment

EPA is issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to get public comment and data to inform the agency’s ongoing evaluation of PFOA and PFOS. This information will also help the agency consider whether additional regulatory steps to address PFAS contamination in the environment are necessary. The agency is seeking comment about whether it should take any additional regulatory steps to address PFAS contamination in the environment, including, but not limited to, designating PFOA and PFOS and other PFAS chemicals as CERCLA hazardous substances and seeking comment on whether PFOA and PFOS and other PFAS chemicals should be subject to regulation as hazardous waste under RCRAEPA will accept comments on the ANPRM for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. For more information: https://www.epa.gov/pfas/epa-actions-address-pfas

New Data on PFAS in Drinking Water

EPA also proposed to collect new PFAS data under the fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5). The new data will be used to better understand occurrence and prevalence of 29 PFAS in the nation’s drinking water. The UCMR 5 proposal includes monitoring for six PFAS that were part of UCMR 3, now using new analytical methods that support lower reporting levels. EPA also proposes that an additional 23 PFAS be monitored using methods developed by EPA. In addition to PFAS, UCMR 5 proposes monitoring for lithium in drinking water. The proposal would require pre-sampling preparations in 2022, sample collection from 2023-2025, and reporting of final results through 2026. EPA is accepting public comment on the proposed UCMR 5 for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. EPA will hold a virtual stakeholder meeting twice during the public comment period. For additional information: www.epa.gov/safewater

Releases Toxicity Assessment for PFBS

EPA is releasing a toxicity assessment for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS). Today’s PFBS assessment is part of EPA’s efforts to increase the amount of research and information that is publicly available on chemicals in the PFAS family. This assessment is not a regulation, rather it provides a critical part of the scientific foundation for human health risk assessment decision-making. The information in the PFBS toxicity assessment may be used by federal partners, states, tribes, and local communities, along with specific exposure and other relevant information to determine, under the appropriate regulations and statutes, if and when it is necessary to take action to address potential risks associated with human exposures to PFBS.  The PFBS assessment provides toxicity values and information about the adverse effects of the chemical and the evidence on which the value is based, including the strengths and limitations of the data. All users, including risk assessors and risk managers, are advised to review the information, including potential uncertainties, provided in this document to ensure that the assessment is appropriate for the circumstances (e.g., exposure pathways, concentrations, presence of sensitive subpopulations) in question and the risk management decisions that would be supported by the risk assessment. For additional information: https://www.epa.gov/pfas/epa-actions-address-pfas

Next Steps to Address PFAS in Wastewater

Additionally, EPA announced next steps to address PFAS in wastewater, where appropriate. The agency announced an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to collect data and information regarding manufacturers of PFAS and the presence and treatment of PFAS in discharges from these facilities. EPA is also requesting information regarding PFAS formulators—facilities that produce a variety of PFAS products and materials from PFAS feedstocks. This action is based on information the Agency has collected as described in the recently finalized Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 14. The information collected through this action will help inform whether these industrial sources warrant regulation through national Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs) to address PFAS discharges.

Coordinating PFAS Research Across the Federal Government

EPA, in partnership with USDA, DOD and HHS, asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM)’s to assess the federal government’s research efforts into the human health effects of PFAS. A virtual public workshop was convened on October 26-27, 2020 where an independent panel of experts heard from government scientists and reviewed federal agency research to identify potential research and data gaps. A draft report is expected to be published later this week. 


See the full press release here