EPA Moves to Classify Two PFAS as "Hazardous Substances"

EPA Moves to Classify Two PFAS as "Hazardous Substances"

These two types of PFAS can be found in fire-fighting foams and applications as well as polishes and other items.

The EPA has proposed to classify some per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), known as “forever chemicals,” as hazardous substances.

According to a news release, the classification would fall under the Superfund, or the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. The two chemicals in question are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).

PFOA can be found in many products. In one study, Daniel Borg and Jenny Ivarsson researched PFAS in household products in Swedish stores. The results showed that of the 17 products sampled in 2016, 16 were positive for PFOA. It may also be in "fire-fighting applications, cosmetics, greases and lubricants, paints, polishes and adhesives," according to the National Library of MedicineEffects of human exposure are not known, but exposure to animals has affected development, the liver and reproduction, the CDC says.

PFOS can be found in products like “surfactant in fire-fighting foams, alkaline cleaners, floor polishes, metal plating baths, and etching acids for circuit boards,” according to the National Library of Medicine. In animal studies, PFOS led to “liver enlargement.”

Additional research on exposure PFOA and PFOS suggests that these PFAS may result in "cancer, reproductive, developmental, cardiovascular, liver, and immunological effects," the EPA says.

Once the proposed rule is published, it will be open for comment on the Federal Register.

Earlier this year, the EPA issued a testing order for a PFAS found in fire-fighting foam, 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonamide betaine.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Environmental Protection.

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