Vermont Journal of Environmental Law

Volume 21 (2019-2020)

Zombie Chemicals—Learning from Our Past to Prevent Haunting in the Future: Why the EPA Should Regulate PFAS Chemical Compounds

PFAS are commonly used chemicals now found throughout the environment. The chemical properties that make PFAS popular (they are resistant to oil, fire, and water) also make them hazardous because they accumulate in the environment and biodegrade very slowly. PFAS are particularly mobile in aquatic environments, and thus create a significant public health risk when they are present in drinking water. The EPA has stated its intention to use the Safe Drinking Water Act to set a legally enforceable limit for PFAS in drinking water. To do this, the EPA would need to go through a lengthy rulemaking process. This note argues that to bypass a full rulemaking process and set a legally enforceable limit quickly, the EPA should either use the Safe Drinking Water Act “Urgent Threat” provision or “Emergency Powers” provision.

Zombie Chemicals—Learning from Our Past to Prevent Haunting in the Future: Why the EPA Should Regulate PFAS Chemical CompoundsZombie Chemicals—Learning from Our Past to Prevent Haunting in the Future: Why the EPA Should Regulate PFAS Chemical Compounds