EWG report card tracks federal agencies’ looming deadlines for ‘forever chemicals’ actions

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Working Group today released a comprehensive report card tracking whether federal agencies are meeting deadlines for addressing the health and environmental threats of the toxic “forever chemicals known as PFAS.

The Federal PFAS Report Card reveals the status of dozens of PFAS-related actions the Biden administration is vowing to implement, as well as efforts Congress has mandated that agencies take.

EWG found that 10 important agency milestones slated for completion this spring are overdue or still pending, and deadlines for 15 milestones loom this summer or fall. Twenty-five of the agencies’ proposed actions do not include deadlines.

“No administration has pledged to do more to address PFAS than the Biden administration, but time is running out for federal agencies to meet their deadlines,” said John Reeder, EWG’s vice president of federal affairs, who previously served as deputy chief of staff at the Environmental Protection Agency, where he also held several senior executive positions.

The EPA has pledged to take nearly 50 measures, and the Department of Defense has pledged or is required by law to take nearly 25. The Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture have each pledged to take just three PFAS actions, even though food is thought to be a major source of PFAS exposure.

“EWG’s report card unmasks the dramatic contrast between what’s being proposed and implemented by the EPA and the DOD and the very little being proposed by the FDA and USDA,” Reeder said.

The deadlines are helping jumpstart efforts to address PFAS contamination, but more urgency is needed, Reeder said. “It will be years before PFAS are reduced from industrial discharges, eliminated from household items, and cleaned up at contaminated sites, including potentially hundreds of DOD facilities,” he said. 

The House has twice passed the PFAS Action Act, which would set deadlines for action. But the Senate has yet to produce its version of the bill.

Reeder urged the House and Senate to quickly set deadlines to limit industrial discharges of PFAS, as proposed in the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act.

“Federal agencies need – and affected communities deserve – real, transparent deadlines,” Reeder said. “Communities have waited decades for action.” 

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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