EPA Publishes New PFAS Destruction and Disposal Guidelines to Fight “Forever Chemicals”

Since the 1940s, PFAS chemicals (Per- and PolyFluoroAlkyl Substances) have been used in dozens of industrial and commercial applications, ranging from fire-fighting foams to non-stick and waterproof coatings.

However, in recent years, the public health risks of PFAS have become more widely known—and for good reason.

PFAS chemicals are highly mobile, can accumulate in our bodies, and do not degrade in the environment under natural conditions, which has led some to refer to them as “Forever Chemicals.”  There is a growing concern that these chemicals are impacting public water supply wells across the United States due to the widespread persistence of the chemicals and their water solubility.

Toxicological studies on PFAS exposure in humans show probable links to high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, kidney cancer, and testicular cancer. Most Americans (even newborns) already have some level of PFAS in their bloodstream.

In accordance with the December 2019 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20 NDAA), the EPA published “Interim Guidance on the  Destruction and Disposal of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances and Materials Containing Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances” in December of 2020. This document summarizes an introduction, description of PFAS-containing materials, technologies for destruction and disposal of PFA and PFAS-containing materials, considerations for vulnerable populations near destruction or disposal sites, and further planned research and development.  

The published interim guidance is just one additional step forward in the overall EPA PFAS Action Plan to address the broad concerns related to PFAS and PFAS-containing materials.  The interim guidance provides additional details related to managing exposures related to PFAS sources and materials.

PFAS poses public health risks by contaminating the soil, groundwater, and surface water—the very resources that ERMI works to protect every day.  With our body of knowledge and experience, ERMI is well suited to assess and remediate all hazardous chemicals, including PFAS.  As the concerns regarding PFAS have grown, ERMI staff members have remained up-to-date relative to ongoing regulatory rule making, assessment strategies, and health advisories. 

Contact ERMI for guidance in your own company’s PFAS sampling and remediation efforts.