Preliminary monitoring data show rainwater in parts of the U.S. is tainted with phased-out and new toxic “forever chemicals.” Alarming levels of PFAS are contaminating rain and snow throughout the Great Lakes region, according to scientists from the Integrated Atmospheric Deposition Network, a joint Environmental Protection Agency and Canada monitoring network, who analyzed the raw data.
On Tuesday, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) introduced legislation to set cleanup deadlines and provide resources for Defense Department facilities contaminated with toxic PFAS.
The Clean Water for Military Families Act would require DOD to conduct investigations and remediate PFAS contamination at and around its installations in the U.S. and state-owned National Guard facilities. Specifically, the bill would authorize a one-time $10 billion investment for the investigations and remediation to ensure military families have access to clean, PFAS-free drinking water.
The Filthy Fifty Act would expedite the testing, cleanup, removal and remediation of PFAS at all U.S. military sites. It would set testing and cleanup deadlines for PFAS remediation at 50 bases with the highest detections of PFAS. EWG has confirmed the presence of PFAS at 328 military facilities, though hundreds of additional facilities may be contaminated.
On Thursday, the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention announced three actions it is taking to protect the public from PFAS. The agency issued a pre-publication data collection rule requiring manufacturers and importers of any PFAS in any year since 2011 to report information related to chemical identity, categories of use, volumes manufactured and processed, byproducts, environmental and health effects, worker exposure and disposal. It also rescinded guidance issued in the final days of the Trump administration that would have significantly narrowed the definition of “surface coatings” on imported products containing PFAS, such as carpets and furniture.
Finally, the agency added three new PFAS to the Toxics Release Inventory, in addition to the 172 PFAS chemicals added in 2020. Beginning in 2022, manufacturers using these three PFAS chemicals will have to report any annual releases over 100 pounds.
More PFAS news
- Health officials from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warned anglers to limit consumption of fish from all but two of Madison’s lakes after new test results revealed high levels of PFAS in the state's other lakes.
The data show the levels of one compound, PFOS, in fish were above the health standard recommended for limiting consumption by an interstate commission for the Great Lakes region. PFOS has been linked to cancer, high cholesterol and decreased immunity.
- Connecticut’s Senate passed a bill banning the use of PFAS in firefighting foam and in food packaging. The measure will ban the use of PFAS in firefighting foam used in the state as of Oct. 1, 2021, and will ban PFAS in food packaging used or sold in the state as of Jan. 1, 2024.
- Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility tested popular pet flea collars and found high levels of PFAS. One product, Frontline Plus for Dogs, contained a combined 2,390 parts per trillion of four different PFAS compounds, including GenX.
- New tests found PFAS in Cocoa Beach sewage, South Patrick Shores soil and groundwater throughout Florida, in some cases at several orders of magnitude above the levels scientists think are safe. The University of Florida will publish more test results on June 23.