Sustained Outrage

PFOA update: EPA moves to set stage for regulations

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Word just in today that a federal appeals court has declined to consider DuPont Co.’s appeal of a district judge’s decision that allowed New Jersey residents to pursue claims of private nuisance and strict liability as class-action suits against the chemical giant.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the company’s request that it overturn the earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb. residents are suing DuPont over contamination of their drinking water with ammonium perfluorooctanoate, or PFOA, also known as C8.

But the bigger C8  news today comes from Washington, D.C., where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its “action plans” for dealing with the growing concerns over four classes of chemicals, including perfluorinated chemicals such as PFOA. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson had promised these action plans back in late September, when she announced her agency was stepping up efforts to address the dangers of toxic chemicals and seeking to reform the Toxic Substances and Control Act.

EPA said it “plans to consider initiating rulemaking” under TSCA section 6, which it said “provides authority for EPA to ban or restrict the manufacture (including import), processing and use of these chemicals.

But it appears no such proposals will be forthcoming from EPA until 2012. A summary of EPA’s action plan on perfluorinated chemicals  is available here and the entire document here. The action plan’s conclusion:

To date, significant adverse effects have not been found in general human population; however, significant adverse effects have been identified in laboratory animals and wildlife. Given the long half-life of these chemicals in humans (years), it can reasonably be anticipated that continued exposure could increase body burdens to levels that would result in adverse outcomes. Consequently, EPA intends to propose actions in 2012 under TSCA to address the potential risks from long-chain PFCs.