Politicians and environmentalists are ratcheting up the pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to take the first step in regulating drinking water contaminated with a toxic, long-lasting family of chemicals called PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The agency has not yet announced what steps it will take. A plan that was supposed to be released by late last year has been held up for months, with no official timeline of when the action plan will be announced.
“The EPA is trying to walk away from its responsibilities,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer told Newsday. “To take a carcinogenic chemical like PFOS and PFOA and say we are not going to pay attention to that when we have learned that it is in many more locations than you would think … makes no sense whatsoever.”
Meanwhile, California says it will soon announce its own plan to deal with PFAS in drinking water, a step environmental advocates have long pushed for.
PFAS chemicals are found in a diverse array of products: from non-stick pans and waterproof ski-gloves, to firefighting foams and food packaging. The chemicals have gone largely unregulated, at both the state and federal level, since they were first produced in the 1940s.