CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Obama administration announced Wednesday it might write rules to limit the manufacture, processing and use of C8 and related perfluorinated chemicals, but would not propose any such regulations until at least 2012.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials issued their promised “action plans” for perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, and three other families of chemicals that are under scrutiny for their potential health effects.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson had announced in late September that her agency would draw up the plans and also propose wide-ranging reforms to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, which regulates chemical manufacturing and use.
“The American people are understandably concerned about the chemicals making their way into our products, our environment and our bodies,” Jackson said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “Chemical safety is an issue of utmost importance, especially for children, and this will remain a top priority for me and our agency going forward.”
C8 is another name for ammonium perfluorooctanoate, or PFOA. In West Virginia, DuPont has used the chemical since the 1950s at its Washington Works plant south of Parkersburg. C8 is a processing agent used to make Teflon and other nonstick products, oil-resistant paper packaging and stain-resistant textiles.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Around the world, researchers are finding that people have C8 and other perfluorinated chemicals in the blood at low levels. Evidence is mounting about the chemical’s dangerous effects, but regulators have yet to set a federal standard for emissions or human exposure.
The EPA has never finalized a “priority review” of C8’s safety that was announced in 2002. The EPA last year issued a health advisory recommending people avoid drinking water with certain levels of the chemical. But the advisory did not address long-term exposure, and did not actually institute any sort of regulatory limits on emissions into the air, water or consumer products.
Recent peer-reviewed studies have linked levels of C8 present in the general U.S. population’s blood to early signs of liver damage and to higher cholesterol levels. But in its new “action plan,” the EPA said that, “To date, significant adverse effects have not been found in general human population.
“However,” the EPA added, “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,” the agency said.
Other EPA action plans announced Wednesday concerned phthalates, chlorinated paraffins, and PBDEs.