Columbus, Ohio — Today, the Ohio Environmental Council announced the submission of a Petition For Rulemaking to the United States Environmental Protection Agency regarding the agency’s regulation of toxic chemicals in our air, water, and land.
The OEC is asking for the US EPA to regulate the known carcinogen perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and all other perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.
PFASs are produced by companies like DuPont and 3M and used in a variety of industrial processes across the United States due to their stable nature. One particular PFAS, PFOA, was used for decades by DuPont to produce TeflonTM, the famous non-stick coating used in many types of cookware. Even though most companies have stopped producing PFOA, they have replaced this toxic substance with other similar, unstudied chemicals, which they pump directly into our air and water.
“These companies need to stop emitting these chemicals before extensively studying them, and our proposed rules would stop this dangerous practice,” said Chris Tavenor, Law Fellow at the Ohio Environmental Council.
PFOA plagued Southeast Ohio for decades as a DuPont plant discharged the chemical into the Ohio River. PFOA can persist for decades in the environment and the bloodstream, and it increases the risk of cancer, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.
“While the US EPA has spent decades gathering information about PFOA and has suggested numerous voluntary measures, it’s well past time that the Agency implement mandatory rules regulating PFOA and other PFASs,” said Trent Dougherty, General Counsel at the Ohio Environmental Council. “We hope that EPA Administrator Pruitt reads this petition and acts quickly to protect Americans’ drinking water from potentially dangerous chemicals.”
“Through these actions, the U.S. EPA can finally provide protection for Americans from PFOA and PFASs,” said Tavenor “It’s been almost twenty years since we learned about these dangerous substances. The time for inaction has passed.”
This petition was mailed for consideration to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Director Peter Grevatt of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, and Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp of Region 5. Courtesy copies of this petition were mailed to President Donald Trump, Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Rob Portman, Congressman Bill Johnson, Governor John Kasich, Governor Rick Snyder (MI), Governor Jim Justice (WV), Attorney General Mike DeWine, and Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler.
Under the Administrative Procedure Act, the U.S. EPA must respond, and it should respond as soon as possible to protect people’s drinking water.