Public Comment Period Closed for Proposed PFAS MCLs
The proposed MCLs for PFOA and PFOS, and the proposed Hazard Index MCL for four additional PFAS were published in the March 29, 2023 Federal Register for public review and comment. Public comment period closed on May 30, 2023. EPA’s goal is to public final MCLs by the end of 2023. In the public docket at the moment there are 275 public comments submitted on the proposal (it is expected that that number will increase as the public docket is updated).
Link to copy of American Water Works Association public comments on proposed PFAS MCLs:
PFAS Manufactures and Public Health Information
The Journal “Annals of Global Health” published an article on PFAS titled “The Devil they Knew: Chemical Documents Analysis of Industry Influence on PFAS Science.” In the results section of the article abstract the authors state: “Our review of industry documents shows that companies knew PFAS was “highly toxic when inhaled and moderately toxic when ingested” by 1970, forty years before the public health community.” Link to Annals of Global Health article: Annals of Global Health
On Wednesday, June 21, 2023 (from 3 to 4 pm, ET) EPA will hold a one hour webinar on “Chemical Risk Assessment for PFAS in Biosolids.” EPA’s webinar announcement is enclosed. Text below is from the enclosed announcement:
“EPA’s Office of Water will discuss the current work related to assessing risk due to the presence of PFOA and PFOS in biosolids. The presentation will cover the regulatory context through which EPA regulates chemical contaminates in biosolids, a brief overview of PFAS monitoring, and actions that have occurred in the states. This will be followed by a discussion of the exposure assessment framework EPA has developed to evaluate impacts from biosolids through ingestion of drinking water, crops, milk and meat and how that framework may be implemented for PFOA and PFOS.”
Link to register for the webinar:
The Fluoride Action Network reported that a start date has been set for the next phase of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) lawsuit filed in 2017 to ban the addition of fluoride to drinking water. The trial will begin again on January 29, 2024.
From the Fluoride Action Network website:
“The court has set aside two weeks to hear testimony and cross-examination of expert witnesses focused on new evidence and science published since the last trial dates in 2020, including the NTP’s 6-year systematic review of fluoride’s neurotoxicity. The start date was agreed upon by both parties, and was the earliest practical date based on the calendars for the Court and attorneys….” The draft NTP monograph is undergoing final review by NTP’s Board of Scientific Counselors before publication of the final document.
Link to Fluoride Action Network website:
Link to the draft NTP 6-year systematic review (1,500+ pages):
Link to website describing the NTP’s Board of Scientific Counselors Working Group process. The Working Group’s recommendations were presented at a May 4, 2023 meeting. At this location, there is a link to the Working Groups report (700+ pages):
Background: On November 23, 2016 a petition was filed under TSCA requesting that EPA prohibit the addition of fluoridation chemicals to US water supplies. The stated objective of the petition was to “protect the public and susceptible subpopulations from the neurotoxic risks of fluoride by banning the addition of fluoridation chemicals to water.’’ The petition was submitted by the following organizations: Fluoride Action Network, Food & Water Watch, Organic Consumers Association, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, and several individuals. In a decision published February 27, 2017 EPA denied the petition. EPA concluded that the “petition has not set forth a scientifically defensible basis to conclude that any persons have suffered neurotoxic harm as a result of exposure to fluoride in the U.S. through the purposeful addition of fluoridation chemicals to drinking water or otherwise from fluoride exposure in the U.S.” In April 2017 the petitioners filed a lawsuit in a California District Court. A 7-day trial was held in June 2020, with no ruling by the Court.
On May 9, 2023 a U.S. Court of Appeals overruled EPA’s July 21, 2020 published decision not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water. Many news outlets are reporting this decision. Link to AP News article: AP News Article
In February 2011 EPA made a determination to regulate perchlorate in drinking water. In October 2016, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a consent decree (with EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council, NRDC) requiring EPA to “sign for publication in the Federal Register” a proposed Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) and an MCL by the end of October 2018. The consent decree requires EPA to publish a final MCLG and MCL by December 19, 2019.
On June 26, 2019 EPA proposed the perchlorate MCLG and MCL at 56 ppb. The 60-day public comment period closed on August 26, 2019. In addition, EPA requested public comment on the following three alternatives:
1. MCLG and MCL at 18 ppb.
2. MCLG and MCL at 90 ppb
3. Withdrawing EPA’s February 2011 determination to regulate perchlorate in drinking water “…based on new information that indicates that perchlorate does not occur in public water systems with a frequency and at levels of public health concern and there may not be a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction through drinking water regulation.”
Following EPA’s July 21, 2020 Federal Register notice indicating that the Agency will not establish an MCL for perchlorate, on September 3, 2020, the NRDC filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals (DC Circuit) challenging EPA’s decision.
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