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Shaheen Applauds EPA’s New Designation of Two Widely Used PFAS Chemicals as “Hazardous”

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking significant action to protect families and communities from the health risks posed by certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.”  

Specifically, the EPA unveiled its proposal to designate two of the most widely used PFAS substances as hazardous under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as “Superfund.” If finalized, the rulemaking would trigger reporting of PFOA and PFOS releases, providing the EPA with improved data and the option to require cleanups and recover cleanup costs to protect public health and encourage better waste management.  

“Granite Staters know all too well the harmful impacts of PFAS chemicals, which are tied to adverse health effects and environmental pollution. The administration took an important step today toward classifying two of the most widely used and dangerous PFAS chemicals – PFOS and PFOA – as hazardous substances under the Superfund law,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ve long pushed for this designation to increase transparency and hold polluters accountable, and I’ll keep working to improve our public health response and support Granite Staters affected by PFAS contamination.” 

This proposal is consistent with the EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap. More details about today’s announcement are available here. 

Senator Shaheen leads efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination, respond to the chemical exposure and remediate polluted sites. Shaheen has fought to secure consistent federal support for the PFAS health impact study that she established four years ago. Because of her efforts, Pease is serving as a model site for the nationwide study. As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, she successfully secured the authorization of an additional $20 million for the PFAS health impact study in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) approved by the Committee. Shaheen also co-led negotiations around the water infrastructure funding in the bipartisan infrastructure law and helped secure a total of $10 billion to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants, including $5 billion through the small and disadvantaged communities program. Availability of the first year of funding through this program was announced in June. Shaheen has also fought for additional public disclosures of results of drinking and ground water testing, as well as improved guidance for spill prevention and mitigation of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). In the FY2020 NDAA, Shaheen worked to include the bipartisan Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act, which expedites analysis of water contaminants like PFAS, provides support and resources to states dealing with the health challenges posed by these potentially harmful materials and establishes a national strategy to coordinate the federal response to emerging contaminants.