EPA Announces Strategic Roadmap for PFAS Chemicals
In October of this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its PFAS Strategic Roadmap for 2021-2024. With a focus on protection against contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the roadmap was designed to establish timeframes in which the Agency plans to implement actions to this end. Here we review the strategic roadmap, consider the key principles on which it focuses, and take a closer look at the component targeted actions.
The EPA's established approach to addressing PFAS contamination revolves around several key principles:
- Considering the Lifecycle of PFAS
- As environmental release of PFAS continues throughout the manufacturing, processing, distribution, use, and disposal stages, the full PFAS lifecycle will be accounted for by the EPA.
- Getting Upstream of the Problem
- In an effort to decrease PFAS contamination risks, the Agency will place greater emphasis on preventing these substances from entering the environment.
- Holding Polluters Accountable
- With the goal of ensuring that they take responsibility for remediation efforts and other actions, this effort will help prevent future releases from polluters.
- Ensuring Science-Based Decision-Making
- The EPA’s decisions regarding PFAS will be grounded in scientific evidence and analysis. To help identify processes for evaluating PFAS chemicals, and to better address knowledge gaps relative to them, the EPA will invest in relevant research.
- Prioritizing Protection of Disadvantaged Communities
- The Agency will make sure that disadvantaged communities have proper access to solutions to address the problem of PFAS chemicals.
Planned Actions, 2021 - 2024
As part of its Strategic Roadmap, during the period from 2021 through 2024, the EPA intends to undertake a diverse range of actions relative to PFAS management. These constitute steps in the Agency’s strategy to protect human and environmental health. The list below presents the roadmap actions, the Agency office responsible for them, and the corresponding timeframe for completion.
Office of Air and Radiation
- Establishing technical foundation for addressing air emissions of PFAS (Fall 2022/Ongoing)
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
- Publishing a national testing strategy for PFAS (Fall 2021)
- Ensuring that new PFAS are thoroughly reviewed (Ongoing)
- Reviewing decisions previously made on PFAS (Ongoing)
- “Closing the door” on abandoned PFAS (Summer 2022)
- Enhancing PFAS reporting under the Toxics Release Inventory (Spring 2022)
- Finalizing PFAS reporting under Section 8 of TSCA (Winter 2022)
Office of Land and Emergency Management
- Proposing classification of certain PFAS as CERCLA hazardous chemical substances (Spring 2022/Summer 2023)
- Giving advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for PFAS under CERCLA (Spring 2022)
- Issuing updated guidance on PFAS and their destruction and disposal (Fall 2023)
Office of Research and Development
- Developing methods for the environmental detection of PFAS (Ongoing)
- Advancing the science for PFAS health and environmental risk assessment (Ongoing)
- Creating PFAS reduction technologies for the environment (Ongoing)
Office of Water
- Conducting monitoring of PFAS in drinking water on a national level (Fall 2021)
- Establishing a national PFOA and PFOS drinking water regulation (Fall 2022/Fall 2023)
- Publishing the final toxicity assessment for GenX, as well as five other PFAS (Fall 2021/Ongoing)
- Releasing GenX and PFBS health advisories (Spring 2022)
- Restrict discharges of PFAS from various industrial sources (2022/Ongoing)
- Utilizing NPDES permitting for decreasing discharges of PFAS to waterways (Winter 2022)
- Publishing validated multi-laboratory analytical method for 40 PFAS (Fall 2022)
- Releasing PFAS analytical method updates for drinking water monitoring (Fall 2024)
- Publishing final ambient water quality criteria recommendations for PFAS (Winter 2022/Fall 2024)
- Monitoring tissue from fish and assessing biomarkers in humans for PFAS (Summer 2022)
- Finalizing PFAS list for use in fish advisory programs (Spring 2023)
- Finalizing PFOA and PFOS risk assessment for biosolids (Winter 2024)
- Engaging with impacted communities (Fall 2021/Ongoing)
- Applying enforcement tools to address facility-based releases of PFAS (Ongoing)
- Identifying PFAS categories to foster public health protections (Winter 2021/Ongoing)
- Instituting a PFAS Voluntary Stewardship Program (Spring 2022)
- Educating the public regarding PFAS risks (Fall 2021/Ongoing)
- Publishing an annual progress report on achieving PFAS commitments (Winter 2022/Ongoing)
More information on the PFAS Strategic Roadmap may be found on the EPA website. In addition, be sure to visit the ToxPlanet website and blog regularly for information on new developments. Also, be sure to contact us to learn more about our information solutions and to register for a Free Trial.