EPA Continues to Aggressively Address PFAS in New England
BOSTON (July 29, 2020) — Aggressively addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) continues to be an active and ongoing priority for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In New England, EPA has made significant progress implementing the PFAS Action Plan—the most comprehensive cross-agency plan ever to address an emerging chemical of concern. Together, these efforts are helping EPA, states, tribes, and local communities across the country target PFAS reductions and protect public health.
"With federal technical assistance efforts underway across the country, the Trump Administration is bringing much needed support to state, tribal, and local governments as part of the agency’s unprecedented efforts under the PFAS Action Plan," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "These partnerships allow for collaboration, encourage cutting edge research, and information sharing—ensuring that our joint efforts are effective and protective of public health."
"Addressing PFAS across New England is a priority for EPA in order to further protect public health in the region," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "We’re working closely with our state and tribal partners to advance the science around PFAS where it’s needed most."
EPA’s New England regional office has been working with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) and scientists from EPA’s Office of Research & Development (ORD) to help in New Hampshire’s efforts related to PFAS contamination in the Merrimack area. In response to a request from NHDES, ORD initiated a project aimed at furthering New Hampshire’s understanding of PFAS compounds in the environment as a result of ongoing air emissions from two facilities that use PFAS in their manufacturing processes. EPA has performed research-level analyses on air, water (ground/surface), soil, char and dispersants, and this information has been used to help inform NHDES’s efforts to develop an air permit for one such facility in Merrimack.
In September, EPA will hold a series of "state of the science" webinars and teleconferences for our state and tribal partners across New England to provide updates on critical scientific issues related to PFAS.
EPA’s regional actions complement the efforts being made to address PFAS nationwide. In July alone, EPA has made significant progress implementing the PFAS Action Plan—the most comprehensive cross-agency plan ever to address an emerging chemical of concern.
Background on the PFAS Action Plan
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s. PFAS are found in a wide array of consumer and industrial products. PFAS manufacturing and processing facilities, facilities using PFAS in production of other products, airports, and military installations are some of the contributors of PFAS releases into the air, soil, and water. Due to their widespread use and persistence in the environment, most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS. There is evidence that continued exposure above specific levels to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health effects.
As part of EPA’s aggressive efforts to address these risks, the agency issued the PFAS Action Plan in February 2019. The Action Plan is the agency’s first multi-media, multi-program, national research, management, and risk communication plan to address a challenge like PFAS. The plan responds to the extensive public input the agency received during the PFAS National Leadership Summit, multiple community engagements and through the public docket. The PFAS Action Plan outlines the processes and tools EPA is using to develop to assess the PFAS risk and assist states, tribes and communities in addressing their unique situations.