US EPA publishes significant three-year action plan: the Strategic Roadmap for PFAS 2021

Authored by Victoria Smart

On October 18, 2021, the U.S. EPA announced PFAS Strategic Roadmap to address contamination from PFAS (Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, which is a class of substances). EPA has set 2023 as the target deadline for a final rule regulating PFOS and PFOA (within the class of PFAS) in drinking water, and for designation of the two compounds as hazardous substances.

The EPA’s roadmap includes pledges for research and testing on hundreds of chemicals/compounds within the set of PFAS, and could classify as hazardous substances other PFAS compounds. EPA may move toward regulation of PFAS as a class, or toward regulation of sub-groups with similar properties or impacts, or both. The American Chemical Council issued a statement that “all PFAS are not the same, and they should not all be regulated the same way. EPA’s Roadmap reinforces the differences between these chemistries…they should not all be grouped together”

The EPA’s three-year action plan sets targets for significant achievements in the control of PFAS in products, water, air and soil, including:

  • Publish national PFAS testing strategy  –  Fall 2021
  • Finalize new PFAS reporting under TSCA Section 8 –  Winter 2022
  • Establish a robust review process for new PFAS
  • Review previous decisions on PFAS
  • Enhance PFAS reporting under the Toxics Release Inventory – Spring 2022
  • Finalize new PFAS reporting under TSCA Section 8
  • Undertake nationwide monitoring for PFAS in drinking water Final Rule – Fall 2021
  • A National primary drinking water regulation for PFOA and PFOS Proposed Rule – Fall 2022, Final Rule Expected Fall 2023
  • Publish toxicity assessments for GenX (hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and its ammonium salt,) and five additional PFAS – (PFBA, PFHxA, PFHxS, PFNA, and PFDA) –  Fall 2021 and Ongoing; with Health Studies to be released in 2022.
  • Restrict PFAS discharges from industrial sources through a multi-faceted Effluent Limitations Guidelines program – Expected 2022
  • Leverage NPDES permitting to reduce PFAS discharges to waterways  –  Winter 2022
  • Propose to designate certain PFAS as CERCLA hazardous substances  – Proposed rule Spring 2022; Final rule Summer 2023
  • Issue updated guidance on destruction and disposal of certain PFAS and PFAS-containing materials – by Fall 2023
  • Build technical foundation to address PFAS air emissions  –  Fall 2022
  • Develop and validate methods to detect and measure PFAS in the environment

The EPA’s PFAS program is outlined here.

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