The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new rule to close the minimum loophole from using per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). This will require facilities to report their use of toxic PFAS, and help protect public health and the environment through more comprehensive tracking of all contaminant sources.
In Response, CEO of Waterkeeper Alliance Marc Yaggi released the following statement:
“Waterkeeper Alliance is pleased by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s newly proposed rule for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that requires industrial facilities to report these dangerous ‘forever chemicals’ at lower thresholds and concentrations. It’s an encouraging step as data is essential to being able to identify the sources of PFAS released into our waterways. There is also more work to be done, including more extensive and frequent monitoring to fill in data points that will identify the true scale and scope of the problem. Waterkeeper Alliance and Waterkeeper groups have a long history of collecting representative, scientifically-sound water quality data that has been utilized by researchers and the government. We are reaching out to EPA to discuss next steps and how the Waterkeeper movement can contribute to tangible solutions and enforceable regulations that protect our communities and environment from this dangerous class of man-made chemicals.”
This fall, Waterkeeper Alliance released a groundbreaking new analysis of American waterways that sounds the alarm on a PFAS pollution emergency. In a test of 114 waterways from across the country, 83% were found to contain at least one type of PFAS—dangerous per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that are widely linked to serious public health and environmental impacts. This is likely the most extensive survey of PFAS presence in surface waters that has ever been conducted in the U.S., and the results reveal the widespread proliferation of these toxic chemicals.
A total of 113 local Waterkeepers collected samples from 114 waterways across 34 states and the District of Columbia. Independent analysis indicates a shocking level of contamination, with 94 participating Waterkeeper groups confirming the presence of PFAS in their waterways. Waterways in 29 states and D.C. were found to be contaminated by at least one, but most frequently, many revealed the presence of up to 35 different PFAS compounds.
These findings are an important step toward filling in a major data gap and can help EPA increase widespread monitoring to gain a complete picture of PFAS contamination in all watersheds across the country.