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EPA Rules on Forever Chemicals Will Take Forever to Do Anything

Stringent standards cost billions but accomplish nothing.

by | Apr 12, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

Biden’s EPA has announced new rules for Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), more commonly known as forever chemicals since they do not break down in the environment and build up in human bodies. The EPA is implementing drinking water regulations that track only six PFAS, but new industry regulations will require comprehensive reporting by companies that generate or import these forever chemicals. Given that the EPA currently lists 12,034 PFAS, this nearly-impossible compliance will cost billions – and it won’t actually stop a single particle of from contaminating the ecosystem.

A Brief History of Forever Chemicals

Humans create thousands of unnatural chemicals annually, but it can take a century to figure out if they are harmful. PFAS have been in widespread use since the 1940s and may linger in the ecosystem for … well, forever. A lot of public money is invested to develop new chemicals and technologies; almost none goes to researching their impact on human and animal health – let alone when combined in a toxic interactive soup of hundreds of thousands of untested compounds in the soil, air, water, and food supplies.

Americans may recall the “amazing” advent of Teflon frying pans, accompanied by scoffers who dismissed any concern that the black peelings consumed with scrambled eggs were of any health concern. As it turns out, the PFAS in Teflon are particularly damaging to young children (like lead paint chips), and ingesting them out of the frying pan and into the fire of a child’s belly was not well-advised. Techno-ignorance is not bliss.

Unfortunately, invisible forever chemicals are far more ubiquitous than frying pans. They’re found in drinking water supplies, food products and food packaging, household products, upholstery, clothing, paints, shampoo, dental floss, cosmetics, fertilizers, lubricants, pizza boxes, carpets, microwave popcorn bags, plastic water bottles, candy wrappers … and the list goes on almost as long as the chemicals themselves. These pollutants are just one category of toxins that are far more harmful to human health than carbon dioxide or other so-called “greenhouse gases,” yet Biden’s campaign to manufacture heat pumps, solar panels, and EVs on the taxpayer tab ensures that the forever chemical spigot will not only remain open for business but will, in fact, spew more environmental carcinogens and endocrine disrupters than have ever been generated before. It is far easier to generate them than to reclaim them from the bodies of trout, cows, or infants: For ending forever chemicals, the Biden plan appears to be never.

The lengthy menu of products and industries contaminated by forever chemicals is paralleled by a frightening list of still-to-be-discovered human health risks, which, according to the EPA, include (thus far): damage to the reproductive system including decreased fertility and high blood pressure in pregnant women; developmental effects in children including low birthweight, accelerated puberty, bone variations, and behavioral changes; elevated risks of certain cancers, including prostate, kidney, and testicular; compromised immune systems, including reduced vaccine response; increased cholesterol levels and obesity; interference with the body’s natural hormones (which could cause “gender fluidity,” but it is politically verboten to consider that as real science). No, this is not an upcoming John Carpenter horror flick – it’s the world we live in and the air, food, and water Americans consume every day.

Biden’s Bureaucratic Boondoggles

The EPA rules will impose daunting compliance costs on corporations (passed on to consumers) without demanding any pause in the ongoing generation of forever chemicals, let alone in the environmentally apocalyptic but immensely profitable “renewables” manufacturing industry. This is the “complexification” pattern of the bureaucracy-feeding Biden-Harris administration. EPA tailpipe emission standards comprise 1,184 pages; new SEC environmental reporting rules total 886 pages.

New banner Perpective 2The merely 43 pages of PFAS rules will likely impose even more costly compliance costs: The EPA requires “any person that manufactures … PFAS or PFAS-containing articles in any year since January 1, 2011, to electronically report information regarding PFAS uses, production volumes, disposal, exposures, and hazards” within 18-24 months. After the EPA collates the data a few years from now, it will “study” it:

EPA’s researchers and partners across the country are working hard to answer critical questions about PFAS:

  • How to better and more efficiently detect and measure PFAS in our air, water, soil, and fish and wildlife
  • How much people are exposed to PFAS
  • How harmful PFAS are to people and the environment
  • How to remove PFAS from drinking water
  • How to manage and dispose of PFAS

The EPA is still studying how to remove forever chemicals from drinking water, yet has issued rules requiring public water companies to reduce levels below four parts per trillion with paltry public funding, is issuing no comprehensive “cease and desist” orders against industry culprits, and is investing hundreds of billions of borrowed taxpayer dollars in “public-private partnerships” to turbo-charge the manufacturing and installation of “renewable” energy gizmos that will renew their discharge of forever chemicals (and many other toxic pollutants) at disposal and when replacements are procured in the future.

These PFAS regulations are thus a costly dilly-dallying delay focused on remediation and disposal (someday), not reduced generation of known toxins now. What then of phthalates, BPA, atrazine and other herbicides, neonicotinoids and other (bee-killing) pesticides, microplastics, and glyphosate? The EPA claims it is “protecting people from toxic chemicals” but more resembles a team of Keystone Cops with a firehouse watching Rome burn while all its citizens sleep. This administration has pulled out all stops (often unconstitutionally) to conquer greenhouse gases, halt oil and gas pipelines and drilling, and unscientifically malign cows, but it does nothing about cell phones, flat screen TVs, lawnmowers, downhill skiing, or other recreational pollution. Ditto for PFAS: It is merely “identifying” them – like police listing known pedophiles then letting them roam free.

Human Toxins Versus Carbon Dioxide

In contrast, consider the focus of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. running mate Nicole Shanahan, who seeks to prioritize cleaning up chemicals other than harmless watch-the-birdie carbon dioxide:

“We will find the answers to our most pressing health concerns within weeks, not decades if we have access to their databases. It is time to move out of the dark ages of medicine, we can solve the mysteries guarded by corporate influence. We can move from bandaid solutions and we can end this chronic disease epidemic once and for all,” she said. “We can figure out what is making us sick, we just have to ask the right questions and apply the right tools. We have to rid science of the corporate bias that contaminates it today.”

This sounds more responsive than Biden’s Kamala-like regulatory word salad, always accompanied by economy-crippling regulations, subsidies for corporations that manufacture “renewables” that spew massive plumes of chemicals (including PFAS) into the environment in the name of saving it, and bandaid “studies” that do absolutely less-than-zero to reduce chemical exposures of children, let alone end chronic disease. The federal government under Joe Biden has become too technocratic to accomplish much of anything, let alone retrieve toxins from the ecosystem.

Why isn’t Joe Biden championing net-zero PFAS?

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