EPA Overstepped its Authority in PFAS Order: Appeals Court

Coastal-Review.org by Jennifer Allen

New Orleans, LA – A federal appeals court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its statutory authority when it ordered a Texas-based company to stop creating long-lasting toxic chemicals while manufacturing plastic containers. The three judges for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans filed their unanimous decision Thursday, vacating the two orders the EPA had issued Dec. 1, 2023. 

The orders under the authority of the Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 5, directed Inhance Technologies LLC in Houston not to create per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, as a byproduct during production of fluorinated high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, plastic containers. The containers are used to store products such as pesticides, fuel and automotive liquids. For full text, click here.

Forever ChemicalsPFAS Well Testing Now Underway. EPA is Looking for Another 150 Homeowners to Sign UpForever Chemicals

Spokesman-Review by Amanda Sullender

Spokane, WA – National and state officials are zeroing in on the West Plains as PFAS well-testing begins this week. Speaking from the center of the exposure in Airway Heights, EPA Regional Administrator Casey Sixkiller said cleanup of the toxic chemicals is a priority of the Biden administration. Sixkiller noted the scrutiny in Eastern Washington is likely to be replicated across the nation as the true impacts of PFAS comes into focus. “PFAS contamination is everywhere,” he said. So far, 144 property owners with private wells have signed up for free testing from the EPA and Washington State Department of Ecology. Well sampling among those who have already requested testing will take place over the next two weeks. Results will be available approximately a month after a sample is taken. For full text, click here.

US Industry Disposed of at Least 60M Pounds of PFAS Waste in Last Five Years

The Guardian by Tom Perkins

US industry disposed of at least 60m pounds of PFAS “forever chemical” waste over the last five years, and did so with processes that probably pollute the environment around disposal sites, a new analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data finds.  The 60m pounds estimate is likely to be a “dramatic” undercount because PFAS waste is unregulated in the US and companies are not required to record its disposal, the paper’s author, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer), wrote. For the full text, click here

New Analytical Approach to Detecting and Characterizing Unknown Types of PFAS in the Environment

Phys.org by Bob Yirka

North Carolina – A combined team of chemists from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has developed a new approach to detecting and characterizing unknown types of PFAS in the environment. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their new approach. For the full text, click here.

PFAS in Groundwater: State-by-State Regulations – October 2023

JD Supra by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

National – In the absence of federal cleanup standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) in groundwater, several states have started the process of regulating PFAS in groundwater themselves. As a result, states have adopted a patchwork of regulations and guidance standards that present significant compliance challenges to impacted industries. This client alert explores the current landscape of state regulations regarding the advisory, notification, and cleanup levels for PFAS – typically perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (“PFOS”) and perfluorooctanoic acid (”PFOA”) – in groundwater. For the full text, click here

Designate PFOA and PFOS as Hazardous Substances Under CERCLA

JDSupra Wasington, DC

Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed a rule to designate perfluorooctanic acid (“PFOA”) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (“PFOS”), two per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”), as hazardous substances under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). If finalized, the rule would have far-reaching consequences on closed and in-progress Superfund sites, state cleanup program requirements, and commercial real estate transactions. For the full text, click here

Cape Cod

Cape and Islands NPR by Brian Engles

State and federal regulators are not seeing eye-to-eye with the Air Force on next steps for cleaning up the harmful ‘forever chemicals’ PFAS from Joint Base Cape Cod. A 6,200 acre plume of concentrated PFAS stemming from the base’s old fire training area led to groundwater contamination in Mashpee and Falmouth, including Ashumet and Johns Pond. PFAS are chemicals found in firefighting foam that was previously used at the site. The Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) began testing the area for PFAS in 2015 after being asked to sample for the emerging contaminants by the EPA. A recent AFCEC draft supplemental feasibility study on cleanup plans for the plume said the group is not evaluating active groundwater remediation for the area downgradient of Ashumet and Johns Pond. For the full text, click here

EPA Issues Next PFAS Chemical Test Order

Paint Square US

EPA issued its third Toxic Substances Control Act test order, requiring testing on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances under the National PFAS Testing Strategy. In the National Testing Strategy, the EPA assigned different PFAS into smaller categories based on similarities in structure, physical-chemical properties and existing toxicity data. The EPA then issued test orders for PFAS in specific categories that lack toxicity data to inform the agency’s understanding of the potential human health effects. The first test order was for 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonamide betaine, a PFAS used in commercial firefighting foam. The second was for HFPO, a PFAS used to manufacture plastics. For full text, click here.

Study Reveals Troubling Information About Nearly Half of All U.S. Tap Water: ‘Millions of People Have Been Drinking [it]’

Yahoo News by Sara Klimek

US – An extensive study released by the United States Geological Survey revealed that many per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of thousands of “forever chemicals,” contaminate nearly half of the nation’s drinking water. The study examined over 700 taps and kitchen faucets from homes, schools, and offices, looking for 32 common PFAS. The geographic range of this study included protected lands, residential areas that had no known reports of PFAS exposure, and known PFAS risk zones. The study supports the concept that PFAS are becoming a persistent threat to human populations. For full text, click here. For a copy of the peer-review study, email info@eia-usa.org.

EPA Requires Reporting for Nine Additional PFAS

Paint Square

Washington, DC – EPA issued a final rule to update the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) chemical list to identify nine additional per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) subject to reporting requirements. This final rule comes as a follow-up to the EPA’s January announcement of the automatic addition of those nine additional PFAS to the TRI list. The EPA says that reporting forms for these PFAS will be due to the Agency by July 1, 2024, for calendar year 2023 data. For the text of the rule update, click here. For the full text of the article, click here.