Outcry Over EPA Proposal to Weaken Standards for Cleanup of ‘Forever Chemicals’

May 7, 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed weaker standards for cleaning up dangerous groundwater contamination sites across the country where chemicals containing fluorine-based PFAS compounds threaten drinking supplies of millions of Americans. The proposal would lower existing requirements for addressing groundwater contamination at military bases where large amounts of contamination have been documented.

“We’ve seen companies like 3M and DuPont fail to take responsibility for the health risks caused by the chemicals they created. Federal regulators should be increasing – not decreasing – oversight at this time,” said water contamination attorney Bryan Fears of Dallas-based Fears Nachawati, who represents individuals and local governments in water contamination litigation against makers of the chemicals. “This problem is not going away and cleaning up these sites must be a priority.”

Called “forever chemicals” because they never fully degrade, PFAS compounds have been found in drinking water used by 110 million people across the nation and in the blood of 98 percent of Americans. The compounds, which are found in hundreds of consumer and industrial products, have been linked to immune system problems and cancer. The EPA proposal would extend the timetable for cleanup at more than 400 military bases where the use of fire-retardant foam containing the chemicals has been blamed for serious groundwater contamination problems.

The EPA proposal is under a 45-day review and comment period. “Now is the time for Americans to speak up about this problem and ensure that contamination is addressed sooner rather than later,” said Mr. Fears. “This is a fight for safe drinking water for our communities, families and future generations to come.”

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