EPA Adds Five PFAS Compounds to Toxicity Assessment as Congress Seeks Path Forward on Legislation

(November 13, 2019) EPA released its Systematic Review Protocol on November 7 for five additional PFAS chemicals.

As previously noted under EPA’s PFAS Action Plan, the Agency is following its proposed timeline to better understand the potential human health impacts of a variety of PFAS chemicals by 2020. EPA is currently reviewing the toxicity assessments of GenX and PFBS and is now adding PFBA, PFHxA, PFHxS, PFNA, and PFDA to the list of chemicals that will be assessed under the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program.

The Systematic Review Protocol, which outlines how the IRIS assessments will be conducted including specific scientific procedures and approaches for these five additional constituents, is open for public comment through December 23, 2019.

NACWA’s PFAS workgroup met on November 8 and continues its work on drafting a PFAS “considerations document” that combines expert knowledge on PFAS source control and sampling protocols that can be a resource for clean water utilities that are newly experiencing PFAS questions from state agencies and the public. The document should be completed soon and NACWA will distribute it to the membership when it is final.

Meanwhile, Congressional leadership has continued debating whether and how to address PFAS as it finalizes the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). As NACWA has reported on extensively, the U.S. House and Senate passed different versions of the FY20 NDAA that the two chambers are now working to reconcile. Congress is aiming to complete negotiations by early December and PFAS remain one of the last areas to be resolved.

As negotiations have worn on, key negotiator Chairman Inhofe (R-OK) of the Senate Armed Services Committee introduced a “skinny” NDAA bill that solely addresses key military authorizations and is silent on contentious “riders” such as PFAS. Sen. Inhofe has stated the skinny bill is backstop should a bipartisan, bicameral deal not be reached. If the skinny NDAA were passed into law, the PFAS provisions would then effectively return to the hands of the environment and water Committees to continue debating and advancing separately.

If members have comments or questions, please contact Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.