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News / Clark County News

Federal government seeks data on company PFAS use

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer
Published: September 30, 2023, 5:11am

Companies from varying industries must submit more than a decades’ worth of data related to its production of items with “forever chemicals” following federal rulemaking.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it finalized a rule, proposed in June 2021, requiring all manufacturers and importers to report their use and disposal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, since 2011.

“The data we’ll receive from this rule will be a game-changer in advancing our ability to understand and effectively protect people from PFAS,” said Michal Freedhoff, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention assistant administrator, in a statement. “Today we take another important step under EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap to deliver on President Biden’s clear direction to finally address this legacy pollution endangering people across America.”

PFAS, human-made chemicals, have been in use since the 1940s, appearing in items such as nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing and firefighting foam. They don’t break down in soil, water or the human body, earning the class of compounds its nickname, “forever chemicals.”

At least 1,462 PFAS known to have been in use will be subject to the final rule, according to the EPA.

Conditions associated with exposure include elevated cholesterol levels and blood pressure, impaired immunity and increased risks of thyroid disease and testicular and kidney cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Companies must submit data to the EPA within 18 months of the final rule’s effective date. Small businesses solely reporting data on importing PFAS contained in items have an additional six months on top of that.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov/sdwa/and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas.

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Columbian staff writer