"The EPA Is Cracking Down On PFAS — But Not In Fertilizer"

"Farmers spread treated human waste on their crops. It's full of forever chemicals."

"On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency designated two types of “forever chemicals” as hazardous substances under the federal Superfund law. The move will make it easier for the government to force the manufacturers of these chemicals, called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or pfas, to shoulder the costs of cleaning them out of the environment.

The EPA “will focus enforcement on parties who significantly contributed to the release of PFAS chemicals into the environment, including parties that have manufactured PFAS or used PFAS in the manufacturing process, federal facilities, and other industrial parties,” the agency explained in a press release. The designation, which will take effect in 60 days, comes on the heels of an EPA rule limiting the acceptable amount of the two main types of PFAS found in the United States, PFOS and PFOA, to just 4 parts per trillion.

Although the EPA’s new restrictions are groundbreaking, they only apply to a portion of the nation’s extensive PFAS contamination problem. That’s because drinking water isn’t the only way Americans are exposed to PFAS, and not all companies spreading PFAS into the environment deliberately added the chemicals to the products. In Texas, a group of farmers whose properties were contaminated with PFAS from fertilizer are claiming the manufacturer should have done more to warn buyers about the dangers of its products. The first-of-its-kind lawsuit illustrates how much more regulation will be needed to rid the environment — and Americans’ bodies — of forever chemicals."

Zoya Teirstein reports for Grist April 19, 2024.

Source: Grist, 04/23/2024