EPA Creates Strategic Roadmap to Address PFAS Contamination


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Michael S. Regan, recently announced the initiation of the agency’s “Strategic Roadmap” to address the issue of contamination with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). An analysis conducted by the EPA Council on PFAS established by Regan in April 2021 resulted in the creation of the Roadmap.

The EPA’s Roadmap focuses on three guiding strategies: increasing investments in research, leveraging authorities to take immediate action to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment, and accelerating the cleanup of PFAS contamination.

As part of the plan, the EPA also announced a new national testing strategy that requires PFAS manufacturers to provide the agency with toxicity data and information on categories of PFAS chemicals. The PFAS to be tested will be selected based on an approach that breaks the large number of PFAS into smaller categories based on similar features, and the approach will consider what existing data are available for each category. The initial set of test orders for PFAS will be strategically selected from more than 20 different categories of PFAS. This set of orders will provide the agency with critical information on more than 2000 other similar PFAS that fall within these categories.

The Roadmap sets aggressive timelines for enforceable drinking water limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act. It creates a hazardous substance designation under CERCLA [define], to strengthen the ability to hold polluters financially accountable, and timelines for action—whether it is data collection or rulemaking—on Effluent Guideline Limitations under the Clean Water Act for nine industrial categories.

Additionally, the Roadmap initiates a review of past actions on PFAS taken under the Toxic Substances Control Act to address those that are insufficiently protective It allows for increased monitoring, data collection, and research, and it includes a final toxicity assessment for GenX, which can be used to develop health advisories that will help communities make informed decisions to better protect human health and ecological wellness. Efforts to build the technical foundation needed on PFAS air emissions to inform future actions under the Clean Air Act will continue under the Roadmap.

For further information about the PFAS Strategic Roadmap, visit www.epa.gov/pfas

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Toby Astill | Image Credit: © Thermo Fisher Scientific