EPA proposed a rule aimed at enhancing reporting of PFAS data to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use TRI-listed chemicals above certain quantities must report TRI data to the EPA annually. Under the proposed rule, facilities that make or use TRI-listed PFAS will no longer be able to rely upon the de minimis exemption, which allowed TRI-reporting facilities to disregard certain minimal concentrations of chemicals in mixtures or trade name products (below 1% concentration for each TRI-listed PFAS, except for PFOA for which concentration is set at 0.1%). The proposed rule would list PFAS as “chemicals of special concern,” making them ineligible for the de minimis exemption. TRI-reporting facilities would thus be required to report on PFAS regardless of their concentration in products.
EPA issued a proposal to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA. The proposed rulemaking would require entities to immediately report releases of PFOA and PFOS to the National Response Center, state or Tribal emergency response commission, and the local or Tribal emergency planning committee. However, entities would not be required to report past releases of PFOA or PFOS.
EPA issued its first test order under EPA’s National PFAS Testing Strategy, a key component of the Agency’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap. Test orders under the Toxic Substances Control Act are the first step under the National PFAS Testing Strategy. The information from these initial orders will provide the Agency with critical information on more than 2,000 similar PFAS that fall within these categories.
EPA announced that it is taking steps toward regulating PFAS in wastewater discharges, including proposing health-based aquatic life criteria for two well-known PFAS, outlining how PFAS monitoring should be included in EPA-issued permits, and proposing a screening method for thousands of PFAS. EPA is recommending a 49 milligram-per-liter maximum concentration of PFOA and 3 milligram-per-liter maximum concentration of PFOS in freshwater.
EPA announced that it will develop national recommended ambient water quality criteria for PFAS.
EPA issued a direct final rule amending the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule to reference the new ASTM International standard E1527–21, Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs): Phase I ESA Process. The ASTM E1527–21 standard provides that PFAS may be added to the scope of the Phase I ESA as a “Non-Scope Consideration” if requested. Because it received adverse comments, EPA may withdraw the direct final rule and proceed with a proposed rulemaking.
EPA announced that it intends to remove the de minimis exemption for reporting PFAS to the Toxics Release Inventory.
EPA published the final version of its human health toxicity assessment for GenX chemicals, in addition to the previously published health assessments for PFOS, PFOA, and PFBS. Additional assessments are ongoing for PFBA, PFHxA, PFHxS, PFNA, and PFDA. Health advisories based on the final toxicity assessments for GenX and PFBS are expected to be published soon.
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the PFAS Strategic Roadmap. This document provides timelines for EPA actions agency-wide regarding PFAS, and sets forth “three central directives”: Research, Restrict, Remediate. These directives intimate increased regulation of PFAS at the Federal level, including product and use restrictions, as well as the deployment of resources to treat and remediate PFAS in the environment.
The PFAS Action Act of 2021 passed the lower chamber of the House with bipartisan support, 241-183. The legislation would require EPA to establish national drinking water standards for PFAS.
EPA included PFAS in the draft of its latest list of water contaminants, which could lead to potential regulation of PFAS under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
EPA announced an update to the Drinking Water Treatability Database with new references and treatment options for PFAS. The update is expected to help states, tribes, local governments, and water utilities make informed decisions to manage PFAS in their communities.
EPA called for the creation of a new “EPA Council on PFAS”. The Council is tasked with continuing the EPA’s work to understand potential risks caused by PFAS.
The EPA releases an updated list of 172 PFAS chemicals subject to Toxics Release Inventory reporting as required by the NDAA.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel files a lawsuit against 17 defendants, including 3M and DuPont, for the damages and injury to the state caused by PFAS contamination.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources proposes rules for groundwater quality public health enforcement standards for PFOA and PFOS of 20 parts per trillion.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources grants a petition to regulate 26 PFAS. The decision includes an additional 10 PFAS compounds posing a threat to Wisconsin’s groundwater as a source of drinking water, bringing the total to 36 PFAS.
Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020, which contains PFAS provisions focused on the Department of Defense. They require the DOD to stop using PFAS in firefighting foam and other applications, cooperate with affected communities, and begin cleaning up resources contaminated by military PFAS uses. For the first time, manufacturers and users of dozens of PFAS will be required to report releases into the environment to the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory. Public water systems must monitor for all PFAS the EPA has validated a monitoring method for, and the EPA must cover the cost of monitoring for smaller water systems.
The Center for Disease Control and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry announced that they had “established cooperative agreements with seven partners to study the human health effects of exposures to PFAS through drinking water at locations across the nation.”
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services submits a final rulemaking proposal for new, lower maximum contaminant levels and ambient groundwater quality standards for PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, and PFHxS.
Vermont passes Act 21, which requires approximately 650 Public Community and Non-Transient and Non-Community water systems to test for PFAS.
New Hampshire files a lawsuit against Dupont, 3M, and other companies, for their roles in PFAS drinking water contamination.
The City of Lake Elmo, Minnesota and 3M reach a settlement over the drinking water contamination lawsuit. 3M will pay $2.7 million to Lake Elmo’s water account and will “transfer 180 acres of farmland” to Lake Elmo which is “valued at $1.8 million.”
The Minnesota Department of Health issues revised health-base values for PFOS and PFHxS of 0.015 and 0.047 μg/L, respectively.
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announces an official state standard (70 parts per trillion) for concentrations of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issues responsible party letters to military sites with PFAS contamination including Volk Field, Truax ANG, and For McCoy.
Vermont issues health advisory levels for PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFHpA. The sum of all five compounds should not exceed 20 parts per trillion in drinking water.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) sends a report to Congress, which states that tests DOD had conducted showed that the amount of PFAS chemicals in water supplies near 126 DOD facilities, “exceeded the current safety guidelines.” The DOD states that it had “used foam containing” PFAS chemicals “in exercises at bases across the country.”
The Minnesota Attorney General settles its lawsuit with 3M. The settlement requires 3M Company to pay $850 million to the state in the form of a restricted grant, which will be administered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources.
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality files a lawsuit against Wolverine Worldwide to provide long-term solutions for residents affected by PFAS.
The Fire Fighting Foam Coalition’s 2017 fact sheet states that the short-chain (C6) fluorosurfactants which are replacing the longer C8 in AFFF are “low in toxicity and not considered to be bioaccumulative based on current regulatory criteria.”
Michigan’s Governor creates the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team. Lawmakers allocate more than $23.2 million to address PFAS drinking water contamination.
Abnormally high levels of PFAS found in Belmont, Michigan become one of the first places where PFAS contamination catches the attention of the national media. The contamination is attributed to Wolverine Worldwide, a footwear company that had used to Scotchgard to “treat shoe leather” and had dumped their waste into the area.
DuPont agrees to pay $671 million to settle about 3,550 personal injury claims involving PFOA used to make Teflon in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
The jury in Vigneron v. E.I. DuPont awards $10.5 million in punitive damages to the plaintiff.
Vermont initiates an investigation and response regarding PFOA contamination of drinking water wells in Bennington and North Bennington, Vermont. The investigation leads to the discovery of PFOA contamination in over 300 drinking water wells.
EPA publishes a voluntary health advisory levels for PFOA and PFOS at 70 parts per trillion.
C8 Science Panel Study created under the Leach settlement determines that PFOA exposure is linked to six diseases: ulcerative colitis, pregnancy-induced hypertension, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, and kidney cancer.
An Ohio resident files a lawsuit against DuPont in the Southern District of Ohio alleging that PFOA emitted from its Washington Works Plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia gave him testicular cancer (Vigneron v. E.I. DuPont).
EPA directs large public water systems to test for PFAS. The results suggest that as many as 110 million Americans are exposed to PFAS in their drinking water.
The Minnesota Attorney General files a lawsuit against 3M seeking payment for natural resource damages caused by 3M’s disposal of PFAS in the East Metropolitan Area of the Twin Cities.
Lake Elmo, Minnesota sues 3M when PFAS chemicals are found to have contaminated Lake Elmo’s drinking water.
EPA issues a non-enforceable “lifetime drinking water health advisory,” recommending a maximum of 200 parts per trillion for PFOS and 400 parts per trillion for PFOA.
Under EPA’s PFOA Stewardship Program, eight major chemical manufacturers/processors agree to phase out the use of PFOA in their products and emissions from their facilities by 2015.
EPA settles a lawsuit with DuPont requiring DuPont to pay $10.25 million in civil penalties and perform Supplemental Environmental Projects worth $6.25 million.
EPA files two complaints against DuPont in July and December for violations related to PFOA under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA). The lawsuits allege DuPont withheld information about PFOA from residents near the company’s plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where the chemical contaminated local waters. EPA said DuPont had information on PFOA’s potential risk as early as 1981 but did not report it.
The Leach class action against DuPont settles. The settlement establishes a court-approve scientific panel (“C8 Science Panel”) to determine what types of ailments are likely linked to PFOA exposure. Over 3,500 residents opt out of the class action settlement to instead pursue individual lawsuits.
In the Leach class action against DuPont, a West Virginia judge rules that PFOA is “toxic and hazardous to humans,” and orders DuPont to pay for medical testing of up to 50,000 people.
The Minnesota’s investigations result in the discovery of groundwater contamination affecting the drinking water supplies of over 140,000 Minnesotans. Over 2,600 private wells are sampled and 798 drinking water advisories issued.
Minnesota Department of Health develops Health Based Values for PFOA and PFOS, the Department also begins partnering with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to investigate PFAS in drinking water near the 3M Cottage Grove plant and related legacy waste disposal sites.
US EPA begins reviewing data that links PFOA to health problems.
3M chemists patent a fire fighting foam that does not contain PFOS or any other persistent ingredients.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection concludes that PFOA in drinking water presents “possible health risks to the public” and that PFOA “has been linked to possible health problems related to long-term exposure.”
A highly cited article in Environmental Science & Technology, published by the American Chemical Society, reported “for the first time, on the global distribution of PFOS.” The study concluded that “PFOS were widely detected in wildlife throughout the world” and that “PFOS is widespread in the environment.”
Class action lawsuit filed on behalf of West Virginia residents against DuPont in West Virginia state court (Leach v. E.I. DuPont). The class action asserted claims for contamination of human drinking water supplies with PFOA allegedly originating from DuPont’s manufacturing facility.
The federal court in the West Virginia litigation orders DuPont to submit 110,000 pages of documents dated back to the 1950s of DuPont’s “private internal correspondence, medical and health reports and confidential studies conducted by DuPont scientists.”
3M announces a phase out of PFOA.
In the early 1980s, DuPont purchased parcels of land in West Virginia owned by brothers Wilbur Earl, Jim and Jack Tennant. In 1984, the company began dumping waste containing PFOA into an unlined landfill in one of the hollows. Private plaintiffs sued DuPont in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, alleging several hundred cows died after drinking from streams and ponds near an alleged DuPont PFOA landfill.
According to a document on file with the EPA, 3M “knew as early as the 1970s that PFAS was accumulating in human blood.”
U.S. Navy makes it mandatory for its vessels to carry AFFF on board.
U.S. Navy scientists begin working with 3M to develop AFFF.
PFOA is created in a lab for the first time.