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Dingell Statement in Support of EPA’s Final Rule on PFAS Superfund Designation

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-06) released the following statement in support of the EPA’s final rule designating two widely used PFAS chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund.
“This is a critical step to take serious action to remove and keep PFAS out of our homes and drinking water, especially on the heels of the first-ever national drinking water standard for PFAS,” Dingell said. “Importantly, this rule designates two of the most widely used and notoriously harmful PFAS substances as hazardous substances and gives EPA the authority to hold polluters accountable, and protect Americans from the growing and urgent public health threat of forever chemicals. I thank the EPA and President Biden for their continued attention to and action on this important issue, and am committed to continue working to eliminate PFAS everywhere.”
This final action will address PFOA and PFOS contamination by enabling investigation and cleanup of these harmful chemicals and ensuring that leaks, spills, and other releases are reported. This action builds on the recently finalized standards to protect people and communities from PFAS contamination in drinking water and represents the latest step the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to protect public health and welfare and the environment under EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap and to prevent cancer before it starts through the Biden Cancer Moonshot.

In addition to the final rule, EPA is issuing a separate CERCLA enforcement discretion policy that makes clear that 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.
EPA is taking this step to designate PFOA and PFOS under CERCLA because both chemicals meet the statutory criteria for designation as hazardous substances. Under the rule, entities are required to immediately report releases of PFOA and PFOS that meet or exceed the reportable quantity of one pound within a 24-hour period to the National Response Center, State, Tribal, and local emergency responders. The designation of PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA enables the agency to use one of its strongest enforcement tools to compel polluters to pay for or conduct investigations and cleanup, rather than taxpayers. Designation is especially important as delay in addressing contamination allows PFOA and PFOS more time to migrate in water and soil, worsening existing contamination.
The final rule also means that federal entities that transfer or sell their property must provide notice about the storage, release, or disposal of PFOA or PFOS on the property and guarantee that contamination has been cleaned up or, if needed, that additional cleanup will occur in the future. It will also lead the Department of Transportation to list and regulate these substances as hazardous materials under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.
PFAS chemicals are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic—and can be found in some level in nearly everyone’s bodies today. These chemicals have been linked to harmful human health effects, including increased cholesterol levels, changes in liver enzymes, decreases in infant birth weights, and increased risk of certain cancers.
Dingell has long led the fight against PFAS as the sponsor of the PFAS Action Act, which includes establishing a strong national drinking water standard. Additionally, Dingell has introduced the Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act, No PFAS in Cosmetics Act, and PFAS Alternatives Act. The designation of PFOS and PFOA – two of the most widely used and notoriously harmful PFAS substances – as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), is a key pillar of Dingell’s bipartisan PFAS Action Act.
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