EPA Sued Over Failure to Explain Its Narrow PFAS Definition

May 2, 2022

Read the full article by PEER

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is withholding documents explaining why it has adopted an exceedingly limited definition of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to a lawsuit filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The current EPA definition conflicts with its Master List of PFAS substances, as well as international and state definitions, and may preclude efforts to comprehensively manage this pervasive class of toxic chemicals.

PFAS are associated with numerous health problems, as well as heightened risk of testicular and kidney cancer. Because they do not break down easily in the environment and most bioaccumulate in humans and the food chain they are called “forever chemicals.”

EPA adopted an Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) working definition of PFAS, which first appeared on its website in 2021, with no scientific antecedents or public review. The definition was also displayed in the Agency’s National PFAS Testing Strategy released in October 2021, prompting PEER to file a Freedom of Information Act request for any records that would explain how EPA developed this definition. The agency has yet to produce a single responsive record."