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PFAS (or fluorotechnology) is a large and diverse universe of chemicals that make the products that power our lives – the phones, tablets, and telecommunications we use every day to connect with our friends and family. the planes that power the US military; Alternative energy sources; and medical devices that help us stay healthy. In fact, PFAS are currently being used to support COVID-19 testing equipment and life-saving protection of medical garments – both applications that are helping to save lives around the world amid this pandemic. PFAS are essential to enable our lives in the 21st century.
However, not all PFAS are created equal. Individual chemicals have their own unique properties and uses, as well as environmental and health profiles.
We reject the legislation just introduced in the House of Representatives, the PFAS Action Act, which uses a unified approach to regulate the wide variety of PFAS chemicals. Such an approach is neither scientifically correct nor adequate and would limit consumers’ access to important products on which they rely. But don’t take our word for it. A scientific consensus is emerging that it is not accurate or even possible to group all PFAS chemicals together for regulatory purposes: https://www.americanchemistry.com/PFAS-Grouping.html
In addition, this legislation deprives EPA professional scientists from making decisions regarding hazardous substance labeling. These labels are scientific questions for which Congress is not best suited. We believe the EPA’s career scientists have the expertise to study this chemistry. In addition, CERCLA designations can create a legal quagmire that will take decades to resolve. Therefore, we do not think this will speed up the cleanup.
Legislators and the general public should know that there is an explicit regulatory process in the US for new PFAS chemicals that puts new PFAS substances under strict controls under TSCA Section 5 (e) orders before they are launched.
The public should also know that extensive work has been done and concerns about PFAS chemistry are being addressed. In fact, some of the measures in this legislation are already under way. We were excited to work with regulators and lawmakers at the federal and state levels on a number of initiatives to address key issues while considering the important uses and benefits of PFAS technologies. Learn more about these efforts here.
Our member companies are dedicated to the responsible manufacture, use and management of PFAS chemicals in a way that protects public health and our environment. In fact, eight major manufacturers volunteered to join the EPA’s PFOA Stewardship Program in 2006 and invested over $ 700 million in research and development. This included a commitment to end the manufacture and use of PFOA and PFOS-related chemicals, as well as an agreement that new PFAS chemicals would undergo increased regulatory scrutiny before they could be placed on the market.
We will continue to work with lawmakers and regulators on this important issue and support stringent, science-based chemical regulations that protect the safety of human health and the environment.