WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency today released an "interim strategy" for addressing industrial discharges of the toxic fluorinated “forever chemicals” called PFAS. The strategy document encourages EPA officials, when issuing permits to industrial dischargers, to “consider” whether PFAS discharges should be limited but lacks any enforceable standards for such discharges.
The EPA also does not indicate in the strategy whether it plans to develop water quality standards, limits on discharges for certain industries, and pretreatment requirements for wastewater, and does not include a timeframe for developing any such standards.
The following is a statement from EWG’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber:
Today’s announcement is an insult to the millions of Americans who are drinking water contaminated with PFAS. The EPA should be issuing tough, mandatory standards to regulate PFAS discharges from thousands of industry facilities, not “encouraging” industry and regulators to “consider” whether to limit releases of toxic chemicals building up in the blood of every American. The PFAS pollution crisis is a big problem that we should not be making bigger through unlimited pollution.
EWG estimates that 2,500 manufacturers are likely to be discharging PFAS into surface water or wastewater treatment plants. Legislation introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) would set deadlines by which the EPA would have to set tough, enforceable standards.
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.