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EPA Announces Proposed Decision to Regulate PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took another important step in implementing the Agency’s PFAS Action Plan by proposing regulatory determinations for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water. Today’s preliminary determinations mark a key milestone in EPA’s extensive efforts under the PFAS Action Plan to help communities address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) nationwide.

“The U.S. leads the world in providing access to safe drinking water for its citizens, thanks in part to EPA’s implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Under President Trump’s leadership, EPA is following through on its commitment in the Action Plan to evaluate PFOA and PFOS under this Act.”

Aggressively addressing Per and Polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) is an ongoing and high priority effort for EPA. EPA’s PFAS Action Plan commits the agency to take important steps that will enhance how the agency researches, monitors, detects and addresses PFAS. Over the past year, EPA has made significant progress under the Action Plan to help states and local communities address PFAS.

Through today’s action, EPA is seeking public comment on its proposed regulatory determinations for eight contaminants listed on the fourth Contaminant Candidate List. The Agency is proposing to regulate two contaminants, PFOS and PFOA. EPA is also asking for information and data on other PFAS substances, as well as seeking comment on potential monitoring requirements and regulatory approaches EPA is considering for PFAS chemicals. The Agency is proposing to not regulate six contaminants: 1,1-dichloroethane, acetochlor, methyl bromide, metolachlor, nitrobenzene, and RDX.

EPA will seek comment on these preliminary determinations for 60 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register. For additional information on EPA’s efforts to address PFAS, visit https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/aggressively-addressing-pfas-epa. For additional information on this action, visit www.epa.gov/safewater.

Background
The Safe Drinking Water Act establishes a robust scientific and public participation process that guide EPA’s development of regulations for unregulated contaminants that may present a risk to public health. Every five years, EPA must publish a list of contaminants, known as the Contaminant Candidate List or CCL, that are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems and are not currently subject to EPA drinking water regulations. The EPA publishes draft CCLs for public comment and considers those comments prior to issuing final lists.

After issuing the final CCL, the EPA determines whether or not to regulate no fewer than five contaminants on the CCL through a process known as a Regulatory Determination. The EPA publishes preliminary regulatory determinations for public comment and considers those comments prior to making final regulatory determinations. If the EPA makes a positive regulatory determination for any contaminant, it will begin the process to establish a national primary drinking water regulation for that contaminant.

Background on the PFAS Action Plan
PFAS are a large group of man-made chemicals used in consumer products and industrial processes. In use since the 1940s, PFAS are resistant to heat, oils, stains, grease, and water—properties which contribute to their persistence in the environment.

The Agency’s PFAS Action Plan is the first multi-media, multi-program, national research, management, and risk communication plan to address a challenge like PFAS. The plan responds to the extensive public input the agency received during the PFAS National Leadership Summit, multiple community engagements and through the public docket. The PFAS Action Plan outlines the tools EPA is developing to assist states, tribes and communities in addressing PFAS.

EPA is taking the following highlighted actions:
Highlighted Action: Drinking Water

  • EPA is committed to following the national primary drinking water regulation rulemaking process as established by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
  • On February 20, 2020, EPA issued preliminary determinations to regulate PFOA and PFOS.
  • The agency is also gathering and evaluating information to determine if regulation is appropriate for other chemicals in the PFAS family.

Read more: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-proposed-decision-regulate-pfoa-and-pfos-drinking-water



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