An expected proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency that will list perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) as “hazardous substances” under the Superfund program would be “economically significant” and require careful review, the NAM told the EPA this week.
What’s going on: Though most chemical manufacturers have largely stopped using PFOA and PFOS, commonly called “forever chemicals,” the synthetic chemicals have been used for decades in everyday household items, including smartphones, cookware and sunscreen.
- EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator Carlton Waterhouse recently pushed for the designation, saying it would give the agency better data and encourage better waste-management practices.
Why it’s important: The potential rule designating PFOA and PFAS as hazards under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act would have “impacts on remediation timelines, supply chains, potential litigation and other relevant information,” NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones told EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.
- Jones urged the agency to follow “the full requirement for economically significant rules, including a regulatory impact analysis, as required by Executive Order 13563, Executive Order 12866, OMB Circular A-4 and other important regulatory guideposts.”
- A regulatory impact analysis will help ensure understanding among all affected parties, including businesses and the public, Jones said.
- Given that this would be the first new designation under CERCLA in decades, due diligence and understanding is key for all stakeholders—and use of these contextual reports will help tremendously toward that end.
The last word: Manufacturers “are committed to manufacturing safe, innovative and sustainable products that provide essential benefits to consumers while protecting human health and the environment,” Jones said.
- “President Clinton said that ‘[t]he American people deserve a regulatory system that works for them, not against them.’ … We agree.”