On November 20, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce passed the PFAS Action Act of 2019 (H.R. 535) on a 31 to 19 vote, with two Republicans joining all Democrats in support. The U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) defines PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, as a family of human-made chemicals that are found in a wide range of products used by consumers and industry. The bill now heads to the House Floor for consideration.
The PFAS Action Act of 2019 would:
- Designate all PFAS as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act, which automatically categorizes all PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also informally known as “Superfund;”
- Require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to list two PFAS chemicals, Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfate (PFOS), as hazardous substances within one year under the Superfund program; and
- Authorizes an additional $500 million over five years through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and $200 million over two years for an EPA grant program to address PFAS in water supplies.
In addition to congressional action, EPA is working several regulatory measures to address PFAS, including:
- Issuing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to include PFAS chemical to the Toxics Release Inventory to better understand the releases of PFAS by industrial and federal facilities;
- Issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) designating Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfate (PFOS) as CERCLA hazardous substances;
- Making a regulatory determination for PFOA and PFOS by January 2021.
NACo supports EPA’s efforts and other federal agencies to study health and environmental impacts of PFAS compounds. Additionally, as the administration moves toward potential regulatory action, NACo urges the administration to work closely with state and local governments throughout the rule-making process.