AG Kaul Asks EPA to Strengthen PFAS Regulations

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul on April 20 joined 17 other state attorneys general in comments asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen its proposed regulations on importation of PFAS products.

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of thousands of man-made chemicals found in many everyday products, including nonstick pans, cleaning products, paints, and firefighting foam. The most extensively studied PFAS compounds are “long-chain” PFOA and PFOS, which have been phased out of domestic manufacturing over the past decade. Competing studies debate whether or not these chemicals have negative health effects and, if they do, at what level they are harmful.

EPA is proposing to require importers of products that contain long-chain PFAS as part of surface coating to notify EPA before importation. EPA would then evaluate the conditions of use associated with the intended significant new use of the product before manufacturing and processing could begin.

In their comments, the attorneys general ask EPA to strengthen these regulations on imported PFAS-containing products by

  1. Including the entire family of long-chain PFAS in the regulations, not just the individual PFAS chemicals specified in the proposed rule.
  2. Expanding the regulations to products that contain PFAS anywhere within them, not just within surface coating.
  3. Applying the rule to all processing of PFAS-containing products, not just imports.
  4. Removing exemptions for de minimis amounts of PFAS.

Joining AG Kaul in the comments were the attorneys general of New York, Pennsylvania, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.

More on proposed PFAS regulation in Wisconsin.

AG Kaul also recently joined a group of state attorneys general asking EPA to rescind its policy of limiting civil enforcement in environmental actions during the COVID-19 crisis.