For Immediate Release: August 26, 2022
(NATIONAL) – Today, the EPA announced that they are finally taking action to list two of the thousands of PFAS chemicals as Hazardous Substances under CERCLA, clearing the way for them to be included in Superfund clean up standards. The National PFAS Contamination Coalition (NPCC) commends the Biden Administration for taking this bold action. This is a first step towards holding polluters accountable and financially responsible for the cost of cleaning up contaminated sites. By taking this step the following will occur:
- Industrial sites with PFOS/PFOA contamination can be prioritized by the EPA for clean up and remediation under Superfund Law.
- Cost of clean up will be the responsibility will be shifted to the polluter, and not local communities and taxpayers.
- Hazardous substance designation will help to hold the Department of Defense accountable for decades of releases of PFOA and PFOS into the environment and surrounding communities.
Reactions from Community Members Impacted by PFAS Contamination:
Laurene Allen of Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water in Merrimack, NH: “A hazardous substance designation for PFOA will give us the right to insist on cleanup of a site where an EPA identified polluter continues to contaminate our environment. In Merrimack NH, site investigation data at Saint Gobain Performance Plastics shows high levels of PFOA and other PFAS in soil, groundwater, storm water runoff and drains, and outfall to a nearby brook and the Merrimack River. As we work to remediate our drinking water supplies, PFAS Contamination of our environment continues.”
Linda Robles of Mothers Safe Air Safe Water Force in Tucson, AZ: “PFAS contamination in the Tucson area is a community-wide problem, predominantly impacting Latino neighborhoods located near military bases. These communities are at a higher risk of developing very serious and irreversible health effects. For decades, the Tucson south side residents have incurred higher rates of cancer and other related diseases from the historical environmental injustices inflicted on people of color and low wealth populations. By designating PFOA and PFOS, as Hazardous Substances under CERCLA, the inequitable community impacts of PFAS, along race and class lines will begin to be addressed.”
Joanne Stanton and Hope Grosse, Co-Founders of Buxmont Coalition for Safer Water in Warminster, PA: “This designation of PFOA and PFOS as a hazardous substance is an important first step and we are grateful that President Biden has fulfilled his campaign. This will finally jumpstart the cleanup process in hundreds of communities across the country. It will also help hold the Department of Defense accountable for decades of releases into the environment and will enable faster investigations and cleanups at sites across the country. This designation of PFOA and PFOS as a hazardous substance begins to address the root of devastating health effects these chemicals have caused.”
Cheryl Cail of SC Idle No More, South Carolina Indian Affairs Commission: “With the announcement of PFOA and PFOS being designated as hazardous substances, the contamination at the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base can finally be addressed with EPA oversight. This is welcome news with so many contaminated Military sites in South Carolina. It will finally help DoD manage the PFAS cleanup that is so desperately needed.”
Loreen Hackett of PFOAProject in Hoosick Falls, NY: “In New York State, PFOA and PFOS were designated as hazardous substances in 2016, with the final rule effective in March 2017. In doing so, the state solidified its authority to hold polluters accountable, as it should be, and has been doing so, working for over 5 years, saving communities like Hoosick Falls from being held to what would have been a devastating financial responsibility for contamination caused by industry. There is no feasible reason why this cannot happen on a national level, given our ongoing success on this rule as an example.”
The National PFAS Contamination Coalition has a 22 point plan outlining further steps needed to combat the issue of PFAS contamination in our environment.