PFAS Background and Action Plan February 22, 2019 What are PFAS? Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manmade chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s. There are many PFAS chemicals, including the chemicals perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and GenX chemicals (HFPO dimer acid and its potassium salt).
2 What are PFAS? Due to their strong carbon-fluorine bonds, many PFAS can be very persistent in the environment with degradation periods of years, decades, or longer under natural conditions. Two of the most studied PFAS are Perfluorooctanoic
Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS). 3 Where are PFAS found? PFAS are (or have been) found in a wide array of consumer products like cookware, food packaging, and stain and water repellants used in fabrics, carpets and outerwear. PFAS manufacturing and processing facilities, and airports and military installations that use firefighting foams which contain PFAS.
4 How can this impact people? Because of their widespread use and environmental persistence, most people have been exposed to PFAS chemicals. Some PFAS chemicals can accumulate and can stay in the human body for long periods of time.
There is evidence that exposure to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health effects. 5 EPAs Previous Work on PFAS Certain PFAS chemicals are no longer manufactured in the United States as a result of the EPAs PFOA Stewardship Program. All companies met the PFOA Stewardship Program goals by 2015. Issued various significant new use rules (SNURs). Monitored for six PFAS chemicals under the Safe Drinking Water Act to
understand the nationwide occurrence of these chemicals in our drinking water systems. Issued drinking water lifetime health advisories for PFOA and PFOS of 70 parts per trillion individually or combined. 6 EPAs Previous Work on PFAS Working to advance research on other PFAS chemicals to better understand their health impacts, exposure pathways, options for treatment and removal Released draft toxicity assessments for GenX chemicals and PFBS
Announced the initiation of assessments for five additional PFAS (PFBA, PFHxS, PFHxA, PFNA, PFDA) via the EPAs IRIS Program. Issued enforcement orders, provided oversight for federal agency cleanups and assisted state enforcement actions Provided technical assistance related to dozens of areas of PFAS contamination around the country. 7 Action Plan Background EPA convened a two-day National Leadership Summit on PFAS in
Washington, D.C. Following the Summit, the agency hosted a series of visits during the summer of 2018 in communities directly impacted by PFAS where EPA interacted with more than 1,000 people. The EPAs PFAS Action Plan was developed based on feedback from these events in addition to information received from approximately 120,000 comments submitted to the public docket. 8
Action Plan Purpose Provides EPAs first multi-media, multi-program, national research, management and risk communication plan to address a challenge like PFAS. Responds to the extensive public input the agency has received over the past year during the PFAS National Leadership Summit, multiple community engagements, and through the public docket. As a result of this unprecedented outreach, the Action Plan provides the necessary tools to assist states, tribes, and communities in addressing PFAS.
9 Highlighted Actions Drinking Water The EPA is committed to following the MCL rulemaking process as established by SDWA. As a next step, EPA will propose a regulatory determination for PFOA and PFOS by the end of this year. The Agency is also gathering and evaluating information to
determine if regulation is appropriate for other chemicals in the PFAS family. 10 Highlighted Actions Cleanup The EPA will facilitate cleanup efforts by providing groundwater cleanup recommendations. The EPA is initiating the regulatory development
process for listing certain PFAS as hazardous substances. 11 Highlighted Actions Monitoring The EPA will propose nationwide drinking water monitoring for PFAS under the next UCMR monitoring cycle. Research
The EPA is rapidly expanding the scientific foundation for understanding and managing risk from PFAS. This research is organized around understanding toxicity, understanding exposure, assessing risk, and identifying effective treatment and remediation actions. 12 Highlighted Actions Toxics The EPA is considering the addition of PFAS chemicals to the
Toxics Release Inventory EPA is issuing a supplemental proposal to guard against the unreviewed reintroduction and new use, through domestic production or import, of certain PFAS chemicals in the United States. 13 Highlighted Actions Enforcement
The EPA uses enforcement tools, when appropriate, to address PFAS exposure in the environment and assist states in enforcement activities. Risk Communications The EPA will work collaboratively to develop a risk communication toolbox that includes multi-media materials and messaging for federal, state, tribal, and local partners to use with the public. 14
Action Plan Next Steps To implement the plan, the EPA will continue to work in close coordination with multiple entities, including other federal agencies, states, tribes, local governments, water utilities, industry, and the public. The EPA will provide updates on actions outlined in the plan on the Agencys website. 15
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