EPA’s PFAS plan would limit toxic chemicals, but falls short of phase out

Media Contacts
Taran Volckhausen

Former Communications Associate, The Public Interest Network

Roadmap takes steps towards reducing toxic PFAS, but clearer goals are needed

Environment America Research and Policy Center

WASHINGTON — The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a new plan on Monday to deal with toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances that are linked to serious health risks, including liver damage, birth defects and cancer. 

PFAS are a class of chemicals commonly found in consumer products, including food packaging, clothing, cookware and carpets, as well as in our environment. These “forever chemicals” have contaminated communities and drinking water across the country. Already, EPA has received public comment on one component of its new plan, as thousands of citizens called for an end to all dumping of PFAS into America’s waterways. Additionally, states from California to Maine have enacted laws to address growing concerns over PFAS contamination in the environment and consumer products.

In response, Emily Rogers, U.S. PIRG’s Zero Out Toxics advocate, and John Rumpler, Environment America’s Clean Water program director, released the following statements:

“There is no reason why toxic chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, birth defects and other serious health problems should be in our products or anywhere near our bodies,” said Rogers. “While the EPA’s roadmap is an initial step forward to address toxic PFAS, we need clear goals to phase out these toxic ‘forever chemicals’ for good.”

“For far too long, lax standards have allowed a wide range of industries to continue polluting our rivers and streams with PFAS,” said Rumpler. “EPA’s plan holds the potential to end the direct dumping of these highly toxic substances into our waters. But we’ll need to go further. Once these chemicals are produced, they last forever. And so truly safeguarding the drinking water of all Americans will require nothing less than phasing out the use of forever chemicals.”