Energy & Environment

EPA to propose first-ever ‘forever chemical’ discharge limits


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Wednesday that it will propose a rule to set the first-ever limits on the amount of chemicals called PFAS can be discharged. 

In a new plan released on Wednesday, the agency affirmed that it would propose a rule setting limits for PFAS wastewater discharges from facilities that manufacture the substances, as well as from chromium electroplating facilities. 

Certain types of PFAS, an acronym that stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been linked to health issues including types of cancer and problems with the immune system.   

They are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they can accumulate in nature and the human body. 

“This plan illustrates one way that EPA is following science to better protect public health and the environment,” Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox said in a statement on the plan. “Importantly and for the first time, EPA is committing to limit PFAS in wastewater discharges,” he added. 

The plan outlines several rules the agency will propose. 

This is not the first time the agency has indicated that it could regulate PFAS discharges. The EPA  indicated in March that it could take action, calling it a “potential future rulemaking.” 

But the new report indicates that ”EPA has determined that the development of effluent guidelines and standards for PFAS manufacturers is warranted.”

The plan also says that the agency revised rules surrounding discharges of other pollutants from facilities that slaughter or process meat and poultry that were last updated in 2004. 

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