December 4, 2018
We appreciate the opportunity to comment to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on nominations for the fifth drinking water Contaminant Candidate List (CCL5). The undersigned organizations represent millions of individuals concerned with ensuring that the public has access to safe drinking water.
PFAS Chemicals Should be Included in CCL5
We are nominating PFAS chemicals both individually and as a class for inclusion in the CCL5 due to demonstrated wide occurrence in drinking water sources and to robust data on health effects in drinking water. PFAS is a class of approximately 5,000 chemicals that are widely used and linked to serious medical problems, including cancer, infertility, and impaired fetal development.[i] Including PFAS chemicals on this list is an important first step in adopting regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that would offer meaningful public health risk reduction.
When considering whether to include PFAS in CCL5, EPA should consult all scientifically sound information available on PFAS from multiple sources, including the imminent PFAS Management Plan.
PFOA and PFOS Should Remain on the CCL List Pending Other Action
Two of the PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, have been in use the longest, and whose occurrence and health effects have been well-demonstrated were included in CCL4, and finalized in November 2016. Because formal Regulatory Determination has not been made for PFOA and PFOS, they should automatically be included in CCL5 pending any other EPA action.
PFAS Chemicals Monitored for in UCMR3 Should Be on CCL5
In addition to PFOA and PFOS, four other PFAS were included in the third round of Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring (UCMR3) and should be included in CCL5: perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA). The UCMR3 data demonstrates occurrence in source water that merits inclusion of those four PFAS chemicals included in that program on the CCL5 list.
Indeed, during UCMR3 monitoring, PFAS chemicals were found at lower levels than the reporting levels used in UCMR3. Therefore, PFAS contamination is even more widespread than documented in the UCMR3 published data. [ii]
PFAS Chemicals Should Be Considered as a Class for CCL5
Regulating PFAS is vital to protecting public health. PFAS are persistent and bioaccumulative. No studies indicate that PFAS are safe. Accordingly, at a minimum, GenX and all PFAS for which EPA Method 537.1 has been approved for quantitating levels in drinking water should be added to CCL5. We urge EPA to go a step further and include PFAS chemicals as a class on CCL5. As experts have acknowledged, “[a] pproaching PFAS as a class for assessing exposure and biological impact is the best way to protect public health.”[iii]
Adding PFAS as class to CCL5 is an important first step in addressing under the Safe Drinking Water Act the widespread PFAS contamination problem. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on nominations to CCL5.
[i] CDC. Fourth Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, Updated Tables, (January 2017) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services_Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport
[iii] [September 26, 2018] Testimony before the United States Senate of Dr. Linda Birnbaum, the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Toxicology Program (NTP) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).