In a First, EPA Designates Two PFAS Chemicals as Hazardous Under Superfund Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. ­– Two “forever chemicals” will be listed as hazardous substances under Superfund law for the first time by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fulfilling a campaign pledge by President Biden. The domestic manufacture of the chemicals PFOA and PFOS have largely been phased out by industry; today’s listing makes it easier to prioritize cleanup of sites contaminated by those chemicals nationwide. No other PFAS in the entire class of thousands of chemicals are regulated by the EPA.

The following are statements from NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) health and science experts:

“The EPA is taking an important first step towards cleaning up hundreds of contaminated sites and protecting millions of families across the country who are exposed to these toxic forever chemicals. Listing PFOA and PFOS as hazardous under Superfund law should allow EPA to hold polluters responsible for that contamination. Ratepayers and public utilities should not be footing the bill for industry's decades of wanton use of these dangerous chemicals.” ­–  Erik D. Olson, Senior Strategic Director, Health and Food

“Today’s listing is a long awaited and much needed action to help communities fighting to clean up toxic PFAS contamination. However, with the scientific consensus calling for the entire class to be addressed, cleaning up PFAS one or two at a time is inefficient and delays health protections. EPA should continue to take action and move quickly to require cleanup and regulation of the full family of PFAS.” – Anna Reade, Senior Scientist, Health and Food


For decades, industry has created thousands of different PFAS chemicals, many of which are found in the bodies of virtually every person in America. PFAS can be found in carpeting, food packaging, cookware, clothing, cosmetics, and even firefighting foam. PFAS chemicals do not break down easily, can spread quickly through the environment and are associated with a long list of harmful health effects at exceedingly low levels (for example, at less than one part per trillion in water), including cancer and developmental and reproductive harm.

NRDC Resources:

The Scientific Basis for Managing PFAS as a Chemical Class (June 2020)

Defending the Science on PFAS (February 2021)

The Big Reveal: Hundreds of Health Studies on Next Gen PFAS (April 2021)

The PFAS Crisis: Will the EPA Act? (February 2019)

The Broken Safe Drinking Water Act Won’t Fix the PFAS Crisis (September 2019)

New Report Finds PFAS Chemicals in Drinking Water Throughout California (August 2021)

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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