AG Kaul Leads Coalition in Support of EPA’s proposal to include PFAS as a class in the Contaminant Candidate List 5

Sep 17 2021

MADISON, Wis. –Attorney General Josh Kaul, as part of a 14-state coalition plus the District of Columbia, today submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) supporting the agency’s proposal to include the chemical group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAS or “forever” chemicals, in the Contaminant Candidate List 5 (CCL 5). Listing PFAS as a class in the CCL 5 is the first step toward gathering national occurrence data about whether PFAS are present in drinking water supplies and considering the regulation of PFAS as a class in drinking water.


The States support EPA’s proposal to include PFAS as a class in CCL 5, and also ask EPA to: (1) define PFAS broadly to ensure that the entire class of PFAS is included in the CCL 5; and (2) gather information to consider setting drinking water standards for PFAS as a class.


“Federal drinking water standards for all PFAS would protect people’s health and clean water. They should be adopted as soon as possible,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “Adding all PFAS to the Drinking Water Critical Contaminant List would be a significant step toward getting such standards in place.”


PFAS chemicals resist degradation in the environment and accumulate in the body. Those contaminants may be linked to serious adverse health effects in humans and animals. Epidemiologic studies have shown that potential adverse human health effects from exposure to some PFAS include increased serum cholesterol, immune dysregulation, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and kidney and testicular cancers. Exposure to certain types of PFAS is also associated with low birthweight in humans, suppressed immune system response, dyslipidemia, impaired kidney function, and delayed onset of menstruation.


Across the country, PFAS contamination is most often associated with military bases, firefighting training centers, civilian airports, and industrial facilities. PFAS chemicals tend to be persistent in the environment and have been used for decades as ingredients in consumer products such as firefighting foam and household products. Some states with significant PFAS contamination are currently spending tens of millions of dollars to address the contamination in public drinking water systems, and to investigate numerous areas and sources of potential contamination.


The attorneys general state in the letter, “This listing is a significant first step in EPA’s consideration of whether to set drinking water standards under the [Safe Drinking Water Act] for PFAS as a class. We urge EPA to move forward quickly to gather occurrence data on PFAS as a class in public water systems and to evaluate whether to set drinking water standards for PFAS as a class.”


In addition to Attorney General Kaul, attorneys general from the following states signed the letter: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and the District of Columbia.