First Stop on the Strategic Roadmap Announced: Additional Recent EPA Actions Related to PFAS

Following the October 18th announcement of their PFAS strategic roadmap, EPA also announced two additional PFAS actions in October. On October 25, 2021, EPA released a final human health toxicity assessment for GenX chemicals, which are within the PFAS group of chemicals. The toxicity assessment is a step in advancing the scientific understanding of GenX chemicals and their effects on human health. As announced in their strategic roadmap, EPA plans to use the results of this toxicity assessment to develop a federal drinking water health advisory (expected to be published in Spring 2022). This toxicity assessment updates the previous draft toxicity assessment for GenX chemicals released in 2018. Previous toxicity assessments have been released for three other PFAS, including PFOA (2016), PFOS (2016), and PFBS (2021). Additional information about GenX chemicals and this toxicity assessment can be found on EPA’s website.

In addition, on October 26, 2021, EPA announced that it is acting upon a petition from the Governor of New Mexico to address PFAS contamination under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). With this announcement, EPA outlined plans to initiate rulemaking for the following two new actions under RCRA:

  • EPA will initiate the process to propose adding four PFAS as RCRA Hazardous Constituents under Appendix VIII. The four PFAS EPA will include are PFOA, PFOS, PFBS, and GenX. Adding these chemicals as RCRA Hazardous Constituents would ensure they are subject to the RCRA corrective action requirements (which is also is a key step towards regulating them as a listed hazardous waste); and
  • EPA will clarify in the regulations that the RCRA Corrective Action Program does have the authority to require investigation and cleanup for wastes that meet the statutory definition of hazardous waste (as defined under RCRA section 1004(5)). This clarification will ensure that emerging contaminants such as PFAS can be cleaned up under the RCRA corrective action process.

EPA has been busy charting a path to regulate PFAS with these recent steps, its recently released roadmap, and additional actions conducted earlier this year. Further movement on PFAS rulemaking actions is expected by the end of this year, and into 2022 and 2023. Apex Companies will continue to track upcoming information released by EPA and the states to be ready to help tackle this complicated environmental challenge.

Apex Associated Press (Apex AP) represents contributions from various authors within the Apex professional community.

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