EPA adds new PFAS chemicals to ‘toxic release inventory’

Toxins added as required by the fiscal 2020 defense budget

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added nine per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the agency’s Toxics Release Inventory or “TRI” list.

TRI data are reported to EPA annually by private and federal facilities that make, process, or otherwise use TRI-listed chemicals above certain quantities, the EPA said.

The inventory is supposed to aid the management of chemicals thought to pose a threat to human health and the environment.

The chemicals have taken on prominence in the Dayton area, with three local cities pursuing lawsuits against the government and against manufacturers. Fairborn and Bellbrook have sued 3M and other companies, alleging PFAS contamination or potential contamination of water sources.

Bellbrook has sought damages for the remediation, treatment and monitoring of “ongoing contamination of its water resources.”

Similarly, the city of Fairborn filed a suit last year against 32 chemical manufacturers for allegedly contaminating one of the city’s back-up wells with the chemicals. And in the spring of 2021, Dayton filed its own $300 million lawsuit against Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Department of Defense over alleged contamination.

The city of Dayton’s lawsuit against Wright-Patterson was moved to a federal court in South Carolina in August 2021. The case docket has shown no activity since then.

The EPA seeks data on quantities of such chemicals released into the environment or otherwise managed as waste.

“Communities have a right to know how and where PFAS are being managed, released or recycled,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “EPA continues to work to fill critical data gaps for these chemicals and ensure this data is publicly available.”

The nine PFAS substances were added to the TRI list as required by fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, the EPA said.

Wright-Patterson was one of 24 military installations found to have PFAS “forever chemicals” (as the chemicals are sometimes called) in its drinking water beyond EPA health advisory levels, according to an internal Department of Defense study released by a group of environmental advocates last month.

The chemicals, found in an array of products, are said to be remarkably durable, contaminating water and soil. Low chronic levels of PFAS exposure have been linked to a higher risk of cancer and other ailments.

About the Author