Legal Newsline: Cancer-PFAS links remain ‘sparse,’ study finds; Regulation a favorite cause of Democrats — Evidence linking cancer and chemicals known as PFAS “remains sparse,” a study funded by the Centers for Disease Control says, as the Environmental Protection Agency – on President Trump’s last full day in office – announced new initiatives aimed at regulating them while stopping short of declaring a national maximum contaminant level. Noting the inconsistencies of cancer rates, as well as what chemical in the PFAS family was the subject of the exposures, their article called the results of the various studies “informative, but not entirely conclusive.”

MLive: EPA pledges to regulate PFAS in drinking water on Trump’s last full day — The EPA announced on Jan. 19 it “will now initiate the process to develop a national primary drinking water regulation” under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act for two individual compounds, PFOS and PFOA — the most well-known and studied among thousands of different PFAS variants in use or polluting various water supplies. The action starts a legal process that forces the agency to eventually propose and finalize a drinking water standard — something the EPA hasn’t actually done since the 1990s.

Bloomberg Law: Biden Day 1 Presages ‘Far More Aggressive’ Chemicals Stance — More than a quarter of the Trump-era EPA rules and decisions the Biden administration will review deal with chemicals, signaling the agency’s oversight of potentially dangerous substances will be top priority. Thirteen of the 48 Trump-era environment and public health rules under review involve decisions the Environmental Protection Agency made about pesticides or actions on commercial chemicals implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Legal experts expect the Biden Administration will take a more aggressive approach to implementing the TSCA, which includes a broader view of a chemical’s “conditions of use,” or how “a chemical substance is intended, known, or reasonably foreseen to be manufactured, processed, distributed in commerce, used or disposed of.”

North Carolina Health News: EPA rejects N.C. environmental groups’ PFAS petition — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rejected a petition from six North Carolina environmental groups that would have forced the Chemours chemical company to fund health studies on 54 types of “forever chemicals” released from its Fayetteville Works plant. The group sought a rule of order under the Toxic Substances Control Act compelling Chemours to fund and carry out health and environmental testing of the 54 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — commonly known as PFAS — through a panel of independent scientists. The groups plan to re-submit the petition to the Biden Administration.

Sante Fe New Mexican: 
State regulators tackling cancer-causing pollution by military — The New Mexican Environment Department has awarded a contract to map toxic plumes near two military bases while launching a project to test drinking-water sources in 19 counties for PFAS chemicals. The two major sources of PFAS pollution are Cannon and Holloman Air Force bases, located in Clovis and Alamogordo counties, respectively. In the 2020 legislative session, the Environment Department received $1 million to address PFAS in those two areas. The State Environment Department says that, if federal PFAS limits are not set, they will look into setting state limits.

About Lawsuits: 
Tyco PFAS Agreement May Be Blueprint for Future Firefighter Foam Settlements — Earlier this month, Tyco Firefighting Technology agreed to pay millions to resolve claims chemicals from the company’s aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) contaminated water supplies near hundreds of homes in Wisconsin, likely paving the way for similar firefighting foam settlements for communities nationwide. The deal is believed to be the first of its kind involving PFAS water contamination from the fire fighter foam chemicals, which have also caused widespread contamination surrounding other manufacturing plants, as well as military bases where the foam products have commonly been used during firefighting training exercises. Residents near the Wisconsin plant are estimated to receive between $60,000 and $70,000 per household from the settlement, based on the levels of contamination.