On April 19, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the pending publication of a final rule designating two widely used per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals—perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)—as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

This announcement comes approximately a year and a half after EPA initially proposed the designation of PFOA and PFOS as CERCLA hazardous substances via EPA’s publication of its proposed rule in late 2022.Continue Reading EPA Announces Final Rule Designating PFOA and PFOS as Hazardous Substances Under CERCLA

PFAS generally refers to a family of substances commonly known as “forever chemicals” because the chemicals do not readily break down in the environment and are bio-accumulative. PFAS can be found in many products, including non-stick cookware, cosmetics, and products advertised as waterproof or water resistant. PFAS are also commonly used in the food industry

On May 17, 2023, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced that they had reached a settlement with Douglas Corp., a chrome plater, regarding its historical use and disposal of plating solutions containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) as part of its plating operations.

At issue were Douglas Corp.’s

On October 18, 2021, EPA issued its, “PFAS Strategic Roadmap: EPA’s Commitments to Action 2021-2024.”  This roadmap sets out EPA’s action plan for minimizing the release of PFAS into the environment.  In the Roadmap, EPA emphasizes the need to “get upstream of the problem” and to “hold polluters accountable.” In the field of hazardous waste, there is a well-established mechanism for minimizing the uncontrolled release of contaminants into the environment, specifically, RCRA’s “cradle-to-grave” tracking system. Under this system, generators of solid waste must determine whether their waste is hazardous.  If so, they must fill out a hazardous waste manifest, which tracks waste from the point of generation to a treatment or disposal facility permitted to safely manage the material. Further, once a new waste enters RCRA’s hazardous waste program, it becomes subject to the land disposal restriction program and EPA must set treatment standards for newly listed wastes within 6 months. 42 U.S.C. § 6924(g).  Continue Reading EPA Must List PFAS as a Hazardous Waste or Pass the Baton to Congress to Take Action 

Following the EPA’s proposed designation of PFOA, PFOS, and their salts and structural isomers, as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, otherwise known as Superfund) on Sept. 6, 2022, EPA has just published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to evaluate whether to designate a number of additional PFAS