Statement: New rule will aid PFAS clean-ups

Media Contacts
Lisa Frank

Executive Director, Environment America Research & Policy Center; Vice President and D.C. Director, The Public Interest Network

Emily Scarr

Director, Stop Toxic PFAS Campaign, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

EPA lists two toxic PFAS chemicals under Superfund law


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed two PFAS chemicals — perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) — as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Emergency Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly known as Superfund) on Friday. This allows the EPA to make polluters pay for the costs of clean-ups involving these chemicals. The designation comes just over a week after the EPA announced new limits for some PFAS in drinking water. 

In November 2022, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Environment America Research & Policy Center submitted comments from 24,040 members urging the EPA to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the Superfund law. The EPA has confirmed that PFAS contaminate 180 Superfund sites.

PFAS are a class of thousands of chemicals commonly used to make consumer products water resistant, durable or slippery. They have been nicknamed ‘forever chemicals’ because they resist breaking down in the environment and they’re found in millions of Americans’ drinking water. PFAS exposure has been linked to a wide range of serious health problems including kidney and liver disease, immune system suppression, birth defects and cancer.

In response, experts from U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Environment America Research & Policy Center released the following statements:

“Listing PFOA and PFOS as toxic under the Superfund law is an important step as we try to eliminate these pervasive, dangerous chemicals from our lives,” said Emily Scarr, director of U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s Stop Toxic PFAS campaign. “For decades, the chemical industry has polluted our communities with these ‘forever chemicals.’ We need our state and national leaders to use every tool in the box to protect our families from exposure to PFAS. That means phasing out their use, stopping their discharge, and holding the chemical industry accountable for the harms they have caused to our health and environment.”

“No one should have to worry in 2024 about whether their well water, farm produce or even clothing is contaminated with toxic chemicals, but unfortunately that’s the reality for millions of Americans,” said Lisa Frank, executive director of Environment America Research & Policy Center’s Washington office. “This announcement is a critical step toward getting PFAS out of our waterways and making polluters pay. Now, we need to turn off the tap on toxic PFAS everywhere.”