The first 100 days of the Biden Administration saw a flurry of activities at the federal level seeking to address PFAS, a class of thousands of manmade chemicals notoriously known as Forever Chemicals because they don’t break down in the environment.
Studies continue to report adverse health effects associated with exposure to PFAS, even at extremely small concentrations. Studies are also increasingly finding high rates of PFAS in our everyday environment including drinking water, consumer and household products, food packaging, and more. However, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet established any enforceable drinking water or remediation standards for any PFAS chemical. See the PFAS Practice Tip at the end of the article regarding regulatory actions at the state level.
As the body of evidence showing potential adverse health effects and the high prevalence of PFAS in the environment increases, so do the calls for federal regulation from environmental organizations, the public, and even Congress. Click here and here for background information on PFAS chemicals, their prevalence and health effects.
Acting on PFAS was a steadfast part of President Biden’s environmental campaign promises. Here are the highlights on actions taken during the first 100 days:
Many of these proposed actions could have far-reaching and significant implications for many industries and businesses, as well as corporate and real estate transactions. Pressure for establishing enforceable standards continues to grow at the federal level, and, as noted below, many states continue to take more aggressive action in the absence of federal standards. Stay tuned for more updates and guidance on the anticipated implications of ongoing PFAS regulatory and legislative activities.
PFAS Practice Tip: More than 20 states are taking various actions to address PFAS impacts in their individual state, resulting in a patchwork of regulations and testing requirements. Be sure to check if your state has imposed, or is considering imposing, PFAS requirements affecting operations or remediation obligations.