Press Release | April 19, 2024

Superfund cleanup designations for two PFAS underscores need to stop pollution at its source

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—The Environmental Protection Agency’s designation of two notorious PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, as hazardous substances is essential for cleaning up past pollution in communities across America, and it underscores the need to stop ongoing pollution from being released in the first place. These designations highlight the need for state agencies to use their existing legal authority to stop toxic PFAS pollution at its source before it can contaminate our soil, groundwater, and drinking water sources.

“Communities across the Southeast and the country have been shouldering the costs of PFAS contamination for far too long,” said Kelly Moser, senior attorney and leader of the Water Program at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Today’s designations will help put the burden of addressing PFAS pollution back on the polluter. Now states and municipalities must use the tools they have to stop ongoing toxic PFAS pollution before more contaminated Superfund sites are created.” 

EPA’s designations under the federal law that governs the cleanup of sites contaminated with hazardous chemicals—the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act—confirm that PFAS chemicals are hazardous to people’s health and must be kept out of our environment and drinking water sources. EPA’s action today follows its June 2022 determination that virtually no amount of PFOA or PFOS in drinking water is safe for human consumption.

PFOA and PFOS are just two of approximately 10,000 PFAS chemicals used by industry. PFAS chemicals, including PFOA and PFOS, are known to cause serious health impacts to people and animals and to disproportionately harm people of color and people living below the poverty line. The chemicals do not dissipate, dissolve or degrade, but instead build up in the environment and our bodies earning them the name “forever chemicals.”  

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