Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel, AGs call on EPA to strengthen PFAS rules

By: - April 28, 2020 12:49 pm

Susan J. Demas

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined 17 other attorneys general in urging a federal agency to strengthen rules pertaining to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), her office announced Tuesday.

The comment letter addressed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calls on the agency to strengthen and expand a proposed rule about the review and reporting requirements of new uses of materials containing PFAS. PFAS are used in a range of consumer products including cookware, fabric treatments, food packaging, firefighting foam and more.

The 18 attorneys general argue that the EPA’s proposed rule on the toxic “forever chemicals” should include a broadened requirement for reviewing and reporting all imported products containing long-chain (more persistent) PFAS, not just some.

In its supplemental rule proposal, the EPA has proposed to require importers of products containing certain long-chain PFAS in their surface coating to notify and receive approval from the EPA pre-importation.

This is in contrast with the agency’s original proposal, which would have applied these procedures to products that contain certain long-chain PFAS anywhere — not just in the surface coating.

“I am fighting here in Michigan to get toxic PFAS out of our drinking water and our natural resources, and the other attorneys general who signed this comment letter are fighting the same battle in their own states,” Nessel said. “EPA needs to do its part with strong, sensible review and reporting of materials containing PFAS that are entering our communities.”  

In January, Nessel filed a lawsuit against 17 PFAS manufacturers asserting that the companies produced and sold PFAS-laden products in Michigan with the knowledge that the chemicals would be harmful to people and the environment.

The April 17 letter is signed by attorneys general representing the states of Michigan, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins is a former Michigan Advance reporter. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service.