Make Polluters Pay

MASSPIRG supports adding PFAS to list of hazardous chemicals

MASSPIRG supports the EPA’s proposed rule designating two “forever chemicals”, PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the “Superfund” Law.

Toxic threats

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MASSPIRG joined 150 environmental, public health and justice organizations in supporting the EPA’s proposed rule to designate two “forever chemicals”, PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, or “Superfund” Law). The new designation will speed up the clean-up process of contaminated sites and ensure that the PFAS polluters will be held accountable and help pay for the clean-up costs.

PFOA and PFOS are part of a class of chemicals, per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, (PFAS) known as “forever chemicals” because they are persistent, bio-accumulative chemicals that never fully break down in the environment.  As we keep making, using and discarding products with PFAS, these chemicals keep building up, in the environment, our water and our bodies.

The most notorious PFAS compounds are PFOA, formerly manufactured and used by DuPont to make Teflon, and PFOS, formerly an ingredient in 3M’s Scotchgard. For decades the chemicals were used, largely unregulated, in thousands of applications. According to the EPA, there is no safe level of some PFAS in drinking water and exposure to PFAS chemicals, even in small amounts over time, has been linked to serious health effects including cancer, thyroid disruption and reduced vaccine response.

As a result of the pervasive use of PFAS, these chemicals have already contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of households in Massachusetts. In fact,  159 public water systems in 81 Massachusetts cities and towns—from the Berkshires to the Cape—have tested above the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)  of PFAS in their drinking water.

MASSPIRG urged the EPA to act quickly to finalize the designation and to encourage the EPA to designate the entire class of PFAS as hazardous substances. MASSPIRG is also calling on lawmakers to ban PFAS in consumer products, clothing and outdoor gear, food packaging, firefighting gear, and textiles.

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