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Historic EPA Summit Provides Active Engagement and Actions to Address PFAS

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WASHINGTON  – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrapped up a two-day National Leadership Summit on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The leadership summit included representatives from over 40 states, tribes, and territories; 20 federal agencies; Congressional staff; associations; industry groups; and non-governmental organizations.

“The National Leadership Summit on PFAS provided an unprecedented opportunity for stakeholders to share vital information and best practices regarding PFAS challenges across the nation,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “EPA will utilize the information discussed at the historic summit, along with upcoming visits to affected communities, to develop a National PFAS Management Plan. The Agency will also take concrete actions to ensure PFAS is thoroughly addressed and all Americans have access to clean and safe drinking water.” 

After the meeting, stakeholders praised the outcomes of the National Leadership Summit and EPA for providing a venue to hear from entities from across the country on issues important to their sector. 

“The Department of Defense has been proactively working with defense communities around the country to respond to the PFOS/PFOA health advisory issued in 2016,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment, Safety & Occupational Health Maureen Sullivan. “I appreciate the opportunity to have an open discussion about the many challenges faced by all of the participants on this national issue to ensure safe drinking water.”

“We look forward to working with the EPA and other state environmental agencies on PFAS research and rule-making so we have sound science and clear regulations from which to continue our mission of protecting people and the environment from this emerging contaminant,” said Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Heidi Grether.

“Bringing together this large and diverse group of stakeholders is an important first step in developing a more-unified approach to addressing PFAS challenges nationwide,” said Colorado Department of Health and Environment Federal Facilities Remediation and Restoration Unit Lead Tracie White. “I am hopeful that this Summit will aid in better clarifying and framing the issues, such that PFAS challenges in drinking water and at contaminated sites across the country can be addressed more consistently and collaboratively.”

"CFPUA commends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for convening a National Leadership Summit to take action on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS),” said Cape Fear Public Utility Authority Director of Engineering Carel Vandermeyden. “We believe a transparent discussion of PFAS risks, mitigation measures and communications challenges will lead to policies that reflect sound science and better protect public health.”

"ACC was pleased to participate in EPA’s National Leadership Summit, and we applaud Administrator Pruitt's leadership and the efforts undertaken by EPA staff to make the event happen. We look forward to continuing our work with EPA, the states and other stakeholders," said American Chemistry Council Senior Director for Global Fluor-Chemistry Jessica Bowman.

“It is critical EPA ensure Tribal communities are consulted with early on—not only states, on emerging chemicals. Many Tribal communities have disproportionate health outcomes due to increased exposures to toxic chemicals through their unique cultural practices. Risk characterizations must take place to identify toxics in tribal communities, using tribal risk scenarios to characterize actual exposure scenarios tribal members encounter through that leads to exposure to PFAS and PFOs,” said National Tribal Toxics Council Member Susan Hanson. 

As a next step in the coming weeks, EPA will visit and engage directly with communities impacted by PFAS – including New Hampshire and Michigan – to understand ways the Agency can best support the work that’s being done at the state, local, and tribal levels.  Using information from the National Leadership Summit, community engagements, and public input provided by the docket, EPA plans to develop a PFAS Management Plan for release later this year.

Administrator Pruitt also announced four actions EPA will take following the summit:

  • EPA will initiate steps to evaluate the need for a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS. We will convene our federal partners and examine everything we know about PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.
  • EPA is beginning the necessary steps to propose designating PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances” through one of the available statutory mechanisms, including potentially CERCLA Section 102.
  • EPA is currently developing groundwater cleanup recommendations for PFOA and PFOS at contaminated sites and will complete this task by fall of this year.
  • EPA is taking action in close collaboration with our federal and state partners to develop toxicity values for GenX and PFBS by this summer.

Additional information on EPA’s Community Engagement on PFAS:

Additional information on PFAS: