EPA to designate ‘forever chemicals’ as hazardous
- The Examiner
The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday designated two “forever chemicals” used in cookware, carpets and firefighting foams as hazardous substances, clearing the way for quicker cleanup of the toxic compounds, which have been linked to cancer and other health problems.
Designation as a hazardous substance under the so-called Superfund law doesn’t ban the chemicals. But it requires that releases of PFOA and PFOS into soil or water be reported to federal, state or tribal officials if they meet or exceed certain levels. The EPA could then require cleanups to protect public health and recover cleanup costs. PFOA and PFOS have been voluntarily phased out by U.S. manufacturers but are still in limited use and remain in the environment because they do not degrade over time. The compounds are part of a larger cluster of “forever chemicals” known as PFAS that have been used in consumer products and industry since the 1940s. The term is short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have been used in nonstick frying pans, water-repellent sports gear, stain-resistant rugs, cosmetics and countless other consumer products.