On Friday, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, along with 76 other advocacy groups, including CALPIRG, MASSPIRG, Maryland PIRG and NCPIRG, sent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a letter, urging the agency to take action in order to reduce near-term discharges of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) into America’s waterways.
PFAS are a class of over 12,000 chemicals used to make a wide variety of products water-, stain- and heat resistant. Also known as “forever chemicals,” PFAS are highly persistent in the environment, do not break down naturally, and build up in the environment and our bodies over time. They have been linked to many serious health effects including immune suppression, developmental issues and cancer.
EPA has the opportunity to protect communities from further PFAS pollution in the near-term through its upcoming permitting guidance for state agencies implementing the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The signers of the letter urged EPA Administrator Michael Regan to improve the agency’s federal guidance issued in April, 2022 in several ways in order to “clarif[y] states’ full responsibility under the Clean Water Act to stop PFAS pollution at the source.”