EPA Seeks to Classify PFOA/PFOS as Hazardous Substances

firefighting foam pollutes a waterway


The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), two of the most common per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), as hazardous substances. This would classify them as Superfund chemicals under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The significance of this proposed action is that it would enable landowners, municipalities, tribal nations, and other entities and individuals who are harmed by these chemicals to hold polluters accountable for cleaning up their contamination.

Under this rule, any corporation or other entity that releases above a threshold limit of PFOA and PFOS, commonly found in firefighting foam, would be required to report the release to the National Response Center, state or Tribal emergency response commission, and the local or Tribal emergency planning committee (local emergency responders).

This would only be for future contamination. Though firefighting foam, carpet manufacturing, paper mills, textile manufacturing and other sources of PFOA and PFAS have already left irreparable harm to the environment, this rule would not have an impact on reporting of past contaminants.


Click here for the proposed rule.