In response to an increasing number of reports about drinking water contamination from Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), attention in Congress, and mounting pressure to address the issue, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced some steps the agency is taking to address PFAS. The announcement was made in Philadelphia, where PFAS water contamination has been an issue in recent years.
Some of the key actions noted in the EPA plan include:
- Expand toxicity information for PFAS
- Develop guidance to facilitate cleanup of contaminated groundwater
- Use enforcement tools to address PFAS exposure in the environment and assist states in enforcement activities
- Address PFAS in drinking water using regulatory and other tools
- Develop new tools and materials to communicate about PFAS
Is the EPA doing enough, fast enough?
The Inquirer reports that EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said at the press conference the EPA would “take the first steps towards” setting drinking water limits for PFOA and PFOS (the two most common forms of PFAS) by the end of the year.
This NPR article notes that critics say—despite the action plan—that the EPA continues to drag its feet on the issue. The article quotes U.S. Senator Tom Carper as saying, “It has taken the EPA nearly a year just to kick the can even further down the road.”