Sen. Tom Carper, top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, on May 21 led EPW Democrats in asking the Environmental Protection Agency to share its plans to address known per- and polyfluoroalkyl contamination at superfund sites.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, most commonly known as PFAS, are a class of man-made chemicals that include PFOA and PFOS. These are highly persistent chemicals that have become ubiquitous in the environment, contaminating drinking water sources in communities across the country, and have been linked to adverse health impacts like cancer, liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility and hormone suppression.
“We write to request information about EPA’s plan to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl contaminants at Superfund sites,” wrote the senators. “We are particularly interested in the 180 Superfund sites EPA has identified as containing PFAS that were provided to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in responses to questions posed at a 2019 hearing.”
In its 2020 responses to questions for a 2019 hearing record, EPA shared that 180 superfund sites in 33 states, as well as Washington, D.C., have PFAS contamination. However, the agency also indicated it had not tested all superfund sites to see whether PFAS was present.
“While it is helpful to know where these substances have been found, EPA did not include information as to which specific PFAS chemicals were found at each site, or the amount of those chemicals present,” continued the senators. “This information is critical to the continued response to PFAS contamination, as well as to efforts to ensure the public health and safety of the 53 million Americans that live within three miles of a superfund site.”
In their letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the senators requested information regarding superfund sites identified by EPA to have PFAS contamination, including measurements of the levels of PFAS detected, and plans for the removal of PFAS in the future.
Those 180 superfund sites identified by the EPA to have PFAS contamination have been plotted on an interactive map available on the EPW minority’s committee website, bit.ly/2XvyqhJ.
The full text of the letter is available at bit.ly/3d2cUbb.