The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced it is taking steps toward regulating toxic so-called forever chemicals as hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, a move the agency said will help strengthen accountability for polluters.
The agency said it is initiating the process of adding four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, as hazardous constituents under RCRA, which will subject them to corrective actions under the statute and establish a base for further efforts to regulate PFAS as hazardous waste in the future.
Theodore Leopold, a partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC who is co-lead counsel in a prominent PFAS-related suit targeting DuPont Co. and Chemours Co. over alleged chemical dumping in North Carolina, told Law360 that the RCRA announcement is a significant step and that, with more time and studies, it will become even clearer that PFAS chemicals are a danger to health and the environment.
"Sadly, many of these newer findings are things the industry has known about for years but have consciously tried to play down," he said. "Classifying these chemicals as 'hazardous' only reinforces the need to address these extremely dangerous chemicals as soon as possible."
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