Federal Government Unveils Plan to Address PFAS Pollution

This week, the Biden-Harris Administration rolled out a plan to accelerate efforts to protect Americans from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which can cause severe health issues and persist in the environment once released. The efforts by the federal government are intended to safeguard public health and the environment by preventing PFAS from being released into the air, drinking systems, and food supplies.

The actions, spanning eight federal agencies, consist of:

  • EPA PFAS Roadmap: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a comprehensive three-year strategy to control PFAS at its sources, hold polluters accountable, ensure science-based decision-making, and address impacts on disadvantaged communities.
  • DOD PFAS Cleanup: The Department of Defense (DOD) is conducting PFAS cleanup assessments at nearly 700 DOD installations and National Guard locations where PFAS was used or may have been released. The initial assessments are anticipated to be completed by the end of 2023.
  • FDA Food Supply Testing: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the next three years will proactively engage with and continue to support states when suspected areas of PFAS contamination may impact food. The FDA will expand its PFAS analysis method and will announce additional testing results from the general food supply and targeted testing of seafood.
  • USDA Food System Research: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service is investigating the causes and implications of PFAS in the country‚Äôs food system. USDA will also continue extramural research on environmental contaminants including PFAS and impacts on animal and human health.
  • DHS PFAS Remediation: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted the first-ever inventory of PFAS use and prior releases from its facilities. A recent policy directive establishes procedures for notification, investigation, and remediation activities.
  • HHS Scientific Review: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continues to review rapidly evolving science on human health and PFAS, including through a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
  • Scientific Agency Innovation: A series of federal agencies are conducting research on the use of firefighting foam containing PFAS in emergencies and using technologies to reduce PFAS discharges in testing of firefighting equipment. Other agencies are working to develop innovative protective equipment for emergency responders.
  • Council on Environmental Quality Activities: The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) will facilitate the coordination of PFAS response activities across the government and help develop new policy strategies to support research, remediation, and removal of PFAS in communities throughout the country.

Additional information from the White House is available here.