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Health, Science and Environment

Critics say newly released EPA action plan for addressing PFAs commits to no real action

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Joe Shlabotnik
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https://flic.kr/p/5oEmbT

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday released its action plan for addressing perfluoroalkyl substance contamination, or PFAs.

PFAs are a family of chemical that have been found across the state and are linked to health problems in humans, including cancer.

Legislators have called on the EPA to take steps to address the contaminant, including developing federal regulations for two members of the PFAs family: PFOS and PFOA.

U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee said the EPA action plan is a good step - but it doesn’t go far enough.

“This action plan commits to almost no real action.”

Kildee said the plan gives no assurance to protect public health by setting a regulatory standard for the chemical.

He said if the EPA won’t set a standard, Congress will.

“The EPA was designed to take the lead on that but if they won’t do it then Congress will have to and that’s what we’ll continue to push for.”

The Congressman said there is one bright spot in the plan.

“The one thing they did say they’ll do is require cleanup of the two most prevalent PFAs chemicals in the environment, like the ones at Oscoda and the ones in Buick City. That’s positive.”

The action plan initiates steps to evaluate the need for a maximum contaminant level for PFAs in drinking water.

That includes an opportunity for public comment that the EPA said would quote “contribute to the information” the agency may consider related to regulating PFAs in drinking water.

The EPA’s action plan also includes both short and long term action items, including further research into both the ecological risk from PFAs and the possibility of PFAs transmission through the atmosphere.

You can view the full plan here:

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-02/documents/pfas_action_plan_021319_508compliant_1.pdf