Waterkeepers Chesapeake Urges EPA to List PFAS as Hazardous

On August 11, 2023, Waterkeepers Chesapeake joined the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and 87 other organizations in SELC’s comments to the EPA on its proposal to list additional PFAS as hazardous substances under CERCLA, also known as Superfund. Joining us were three of our Riverkeeper organizations, Potomac Riverkeeper Network, James River Association, and Anacostia Riverkeeper. The EPA states that its proposed rulemaking would increase transparency around releases of these harmful chemicals and help to hold polluters accountable for cleaning up their contamination. SELC’s comments urge the EPA to regulate PFAS as a class under CERCLA, add the seven additional PFAS and their precursors as hazardous substances, and ensure that CERCLA liability applies to all sources.

PFAS contamination leads to drastically damaging health effects, which is even more worrying considering how widespread PFAS have become as a result of industrial pollution. Communities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and around the nation deserve better than unregulated exposure to these dangerous chemicals in the very water they drink and swim in. Designating PFAS as CERCLA hazardous substances would help ensure that releases of these dangerous chemicals are investigated, timely reported, and fully remediated. It would help safeguard communities against the risks of PFAS exposure; incentivize industrial sources to control their PFAS pollution before it enters our rivers, drinking water, and homes; and ensure that polluters—not people—pay for pollution.

It is urgent that EPA reduce human exposure to PFAS by listing PFAS as a class of CERCLA hazardous substances. We further urge EPA to promptly finalize its proposed rulemakings to list PFOA, PFOS and the seven PFAS proposed in this advanced notice of proposed rulemaking and their precursors, salts, and isomers, as hazardous substances under CERCLA.