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EPA is conducting multiple criminal probes tied to 'forever chemicals'

EPA is conducting multiple criminal probes tied to 'forever chemicals'
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is carrying out "multiple" criminal probes tied to forever chemicals, the agency said in a Wednesday update on its action plan regarding the chemicals.

"The agency has multiple criminal investigations underway concerning PFAS-related pollution," the update said, referring to a class of cancer-linked chemicals known for their persistence in both the environment and human body.

The update did not elaborate on who or what is being investigated. An official for the agency declined to provide further details, telling The Hill in an email that the EPA "does not comment on ongoing or potential enforcement investigations."

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Bloomberg first reported that some companies have already disclosed that they are or might be being investigated in PFAS-related probes. 

3M Co., which manufactured PFAS, said in a January financial filing that it had received a federal grand jury subpoena in December relating to matters including the Toxic Substances Control Act and "unpermitted discharges to the Tennessee River."

The Chemours Co. also said in a February document that it had been notified in January that federal agencies were "considering whether to open a criminal investigation under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and asking that it retain its documents regarding PFAS and food contact applications."

PFAS contamination has been found in every state but Hawaii, according to data from the Environmental Working Group. Cities in Michigan and New Jersey, where some PFAS substances were manufactured, were found to be particularly affected.

The EPA announced this month that it will begin to regulate PFAS in drinking water. The House also passed sweeping PFAS legislation in January.