More EPA action on PFAS; The bad news keeps piling up – Environment


United States: More EPA action on PFAS; The bad news keeps piling up

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News about PFAS keeps piling up, and the trend is pretty clear: none of this is good for manufacturers and important users. There were two important things this week.


First, the EPA published its assessment of the toxicity to human health of “GenX chemicals”, also known as hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (“HFPO”) (and no. don’t forget its ammonium salt!). The EPA has set the toxicity of HFPO at 7 to 100 times higher than that of other PFAS compounds for which evaluations already exist, such as PFBS, PFOA and PFOS. It’s probably worth noting that GenX was developed to replace PFOA. Because it is a shorter chain molecule, GenX was expected to pose less risk to the environment.

Oh, the rats.

The second development this week was that the EPA announced that it was starting regulations to propose adding all of the above-mentioned compounds as hazardous constituents in what is known as “Schedule VIII” to the. hazardous waste regulations in 40 CFR Part 261. Addition of PFAS compounds to Appendix VIII subjects them to possible remedial action requirements. It is also safe to say that listing in Annex VIII is only the first step towards listing them as hazardous waste under RCRA and hazardous substances under CERCLA.

It will be some time before we really have our arms around the total tab to tackle PFAS contamination, but it certainly won’t be a small number.

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