Biden Administration Introduces New Strategy to Tackle PFAS Chemicals Contamination
- Journalist: Patricia Jose Perez
In a recent announcement made by the Biden administration in the US a new strategy was laid down for grappling with the widespread contamination from the toxic “forever chemicals”. The strategy aims to stop future contamination at its source.
The plan for dealing with the chemicals known as Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) represents a stark contrast from the strategy which the Trump administration was following to deal with harmful chemicals. The Trump strategy struggled to reassure communities and legislators that it was proactively dealing with the problem. In the previous strategy chemical industry officials were placed in key regulatory positions and they were leaning more towards the industry requests.
Most notably, there has been shift in the new plan as it makes aggressive use of powerful new authorities which the congress granted in 2016 for regulation of chemical manufacturers. Previously when the industry officials took office in key regulatory bodies, the administration often declined to require chemical manufacturers to provide comprehensive safety data on their products and took a narrow approach in terms of restricting the companies having proven toxicity.
PFAS Chemicals are used in everything from non-stick cookware to food packaging, and firefighting foam. The chemical structure of these chemicals is such that it is virtually impossible for them to break down naturally in the environment. These substances have been found in thousands of drinking water supplies across the country.
The Biden administration requires chemical manufactures to conduct extensive health and environmental testing of the chemicals. The approach to testing would be grouping more than 2000 PFAS into about 20 different categories of similar substances which will allow the agency to draw conclusions more swiftly about chemicals and their harmful effects on health and environment.
As per ChemAnalyst, “the new plan for dealing with the problem of PFAS in the USA aims at more aggressively targeting these chemicals. As the administration tightens grip on chemical manufacturers, the companies will be looking forward towards developing more safer and sustainable chemical solutions. This is the reason why the demand for sustainable chemicals is expected to rise exponentially in the upcoming years in the USA particularly during the Biden administration which is hitting hard on these PFAS chemicals.”