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February 11, 2015

Lynn L. Bergeson, “EPA Eyes Perfluorinated Chemicals,” Chemical Processing, February 11, 2015.

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

Between the late 1990s and early 2000s, the EPA identified potential issues presented by PFOS, a perfluorinated acid. Data showed PFOS to be present in low levels in humans and wildlife worldwide, and that PFOS appeared to be highly persistent. At the time, PFOS was used in industrial and consumer applications, including soil and stain repellant sprays, fire-fighting foams and semiconductor manufacture. Between 2000 and 2002, 3M Company, the principal domestic manufacturer of PFOS, voluntarily phased the chemical out of production. Working with industry, the EPA followed this action with a series of SNURs that were effectively intended to limit uses for which alternatives were not available. Several years later, similar concerns were raised with regard to PFOA, other LCPFACs, and other chemicals known as fluorinated telomers that potentially could degrade to PFOA in the environment. The EPA worked with the manufacturers and users of these chemicals to understand the risks and encourage development of alternatives. These efforts yielded the 2010/2015 PFOA Stewardship Program through which industry made and delivered on a series of commitments that, over time, made the current proposed SNUR possible.