The Biden administration is taking action against so-called “forever chemicals” used in food packaging and other consumer goods applications.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of chemicals whose formulations of fluorine and carbon have extremely strong bonds that resist water and grease. They’re sometimes used as coatings for fiber-based packaging. The problem is that the strength of their chemical bonds makes them very resistant to degradation, meaning that they persist in the environment – and in human bodies. Studies have associated them with cancer, hormone disruption, decreased fertility and other disorders.
The White House unveiled a plan Oct. 18 to have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency do what EPA administrator Michael Regan called a “comprehensive, national PFAS strategy.” This will include new national testing programs, designation of certain PFAS chemicals as hazardous under existing law, and intensified cleanup. In addition, the infrastructure bill pending in Congress would fund monitoring and cleanup efforts for PFAS in drinking water.
“Let there be no doubt that EPA is listening, we have your back, and we are laser-focused on protecting people from pollution and holding polluters accountable," Regan said in a statement.