The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed designating two widely used per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as “Superfund.” In a release, the agency said the change “would increase transparency around releases of these harmful chemicals and help to hold polluters accountable for cleaning up their contamination.”

The move is part of the Biden Administrations commitment to address the risks of certain “forever chemicals.” 

“Communities have suffered far too long from exposure to these ‘forever chemicals.’ The action announced today will improve transparency and advance EPA’s aggressive efforts to confront this pollution, as outlined in the Agency’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said. “Under this proposed rule, EPA will both help protect communities from PFAS pollution and seek to hold polluters accountable for their actions.”

The proposal applies to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), including their salts and structural isomers, based on significant evidence they may present a substantial danger to human health or welfare or the environment. PFOA and PFOS can accumulate and persist in the human body for long periods of time and evidence from laboratory animal and human epidemiology studies indicates that exposure to PFOA and/or PFOS may lead to cancer, reproductive, developmental, cardiovascular, liver and immunological effects.

If finalized, the change would trigger reporting of PFOA and PFOS releases, giving the EPA improved data and the option to require cleanups and recover cleanup costs. The agency also says it would clarify the extent of PFOA and PFOS contamination throughout the country and “help all communities to avoid or reduce contact with these potentially dangerous chemicals.”

EPA plans to publish the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register in the next several weeks. Following publication, EPA will hold a 60-day comment period. Look for updates on the comment period on and on The Driller Newscast, delivered to your inbox Mondays.