Existing Regulatory Efforts to Address PFAS
Advancing an Effective Approach
PFAS are a large and diverse universe of chemistries that are critical to the products that power our lives -- the cellphones, tablets and telecommunications we use every day to connect with our friends and family; the aircrafts that power the U.S. military; alternative energy sources; and medical devices that help keep us healthy. PFAS are being used to support COVID-19 testing equipment and to provide lifesaving protection in medical garments – both uses that have helped save lives around the world in the midst of the pandemic.
PFAS are vital to enabling our lives in the 21st century. ACC strongly supports the responsible production, use and management of fluorinated substances and support a comprehensive approach to managing PFAS that will help to ensure protection of human health and the environment, taking into consideration the diversity of physical and chemical properties and the environmental and health profiles of these substances.
The Four Pillars of a Comprehensive Approach Include
Manage priority PFAS in an expedited manner through regulation and stewardship
Assess effectiveness of overall PFAS efforts and determine need for any future action
Advance remediation of priority media and sites
To date, ACC has worked with regulators and lawmakers at the federal and state level on a host of initiatives to address key issues of concern while continuing to allow for the important uses and benefits of PFAS technologies. In October 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) identified several activities as part of its PFAS Strategic Roadmap – many of which ACC
and its members support.
EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap, 2021-24:
The EPA is addressing PFAS concerns with a comprehensive approach through its PFAS Strategic Roadmap. Many concrete steps are already underway, including:
In Drinking Water
✓ EPA is developing maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) in drinking water for PFOA/PFOS and has committed to finalizing these levels by the end of 2023.
✓ EPA will soon begin collecting national drinking water occurrence data for 29 PFAS for which validated text methods exist as part of the Agency’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5).
✓ EPA is developing methods for detecting a broader range of PFAS in environmental media beyond drinking water.
✓ EPA has identified about 600 PFAS chemistries currently in commerce to determine the most appropriate approach to prioritizing the review of this large and diverse group of chemistries.
✓ EPA issued expanded significant new use restrictions (SNURs) that will prevent the reintroduction of PFAS that are no longer manufactured into US markets without first undergoing thorough review by the Agency.
✓ EPA has developed and implemented a robust strategy for evaluating development of new PFAS prior to introduction to US markets.
For Toxicity Testing
✓ EPA has developed a national PFAS testing strategy that divides this large class of substances into various subgroups to add in the prioritization for testing and evaluation.
✓ EPA has developed toxicity values for several priority PFAS and is currently conducting assessments of additional substances.
For the Environment
✓ EPA has made interim recommendations for acceptable levels of the two most commonly detected, PFOA and PFOS, in groundwater.
✓ EPA has used its emergency authority under various laws to eliminate exposure to PFAS and expedite cleanup of contamination.
✓ EPA has added more than 180 PFAS to its Toxic Release Inventory requiring that release of these substances to air and water from industrial sources be reported annually.
✓ EPA has initiated efforts to categorize and prioritize industrial sources of PFAS to limit the release of PFAS to US surface and ground water.
✓ EPA has proposed to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Emergency Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund) to better monitor releases of these two substances and to assist in the identification of parties responsible for contamination.
✓ EPA has established a multi-disciplined research staff team focused on the removal, destruction, and testing of PFAS-contaminated media and waste.