A letter sent to the Environmental Protection Agency by 150 environmental, health and justice organizations, including the Environmental Working Group, is pressing for final designation of two “forever chemicals” as hazardous substances.
The letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan urges the agency to finalize the classification “expeditiously.”
The agency proposed the designation of the two most notorious PFAS – PFOA and PFOS – nearly a month ago.
The letter underscores strong support for the EPA’s designation from low-income communities and communities of color, which often bear disproportionate exposure to chemical pollution.
“The EPA’s proposal to designate these two forever chemicals as hazardous is ushering in accountability for polluters,” said Sanja Whittington, executive director of Democracy Green.
PFOS, formerly an ingredient in 3M’s Scotchgard, and PFOA, formerly used by DuPont to make Teflon, are part of a class of toxic forever chemicals, so-called because once released into the environment they do not break down, and many build up in our blood and organs.
PFAS have been linked to serious health concerns, including cancer, harm to fetal development and reduced vaccine effectiveness.
The designation will jump-start the cleanup process at contaminated sites across the country, including military installations. It will also help ensure PFAS polluters help pay for cleanup.
“The EPA’s proposal represents a major step forward for cleaning up contamination from polluters,” said Anthony Spaniola, co-chair of the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network.
The agency is accepting comments on the designation until November 7.
The proposal would fulfill one of President Joe Biden’s promises as part of a government-wide plan to tackle PFAS, announced in October 2021.