Polyfluoroalkyl substances, or “PFAS,” are a type of chemical substance frequently used in the manufacture of hydrophobic items and materials. This includes household items such as nonstick cookware, water-repellant clothing, stain-proof carpeting, and more. PFAS chemicals have been in use for decades, but according to recent studies, this may have been to our collective detriment. PFAS materials degrade incredibly slowly, which not only makes them an environmental nightmare, but a potential human one as well, as any chemicals that find their way into the human bloodstream could remain for years on end. This condition has been linked to several major health complications, including several kinds of cancer.
Armed with this knowledge, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced their intent to place strict regulation on the use of PFAS chemicals and materials. They will be investing money into preventing PFAS from leaking into the environment, and especially drinking water, speeding up cleanup efforts of any sites already affected, and researching means to prevent PFAS leaks in the first place.
“This is a bold strategy that starts with immediate action” and includes additional steps “that will carry through this first term” of President Joe Biden, EPA head Michael Regan told The Associated Press. “We’re going to use every tool in our toolbox to restrict human exposure to these toxic chemicals.″
Breaking News: The Biden administration said it would regulate PFAS, the “forever chemicals” in many household items that have contaminated drinking water. Exposure to the chemicals has been linked to certain cancers and other health issues. https://t.co/yDMwRIAsMX
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 18, 2021
Regan has pledged to hold any companies, businesses, or otherwise irresponsible actors accountable for any discovered instances of PFAS pollution and contamination. “We are holding the polluters accountable, and we’re using the full extent of our statutory authority to be sure that they pay for what they’ve done,″ he said.