White House Intervenes to Weaken PFAS Import Ban

Published Apr 29, 2021

What happened: The White House weakened an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) science-based guidance document that would have placed a strict ban on the import of products that contained toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals. Specifically, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) carried out large edits to weaken the EPA guidance document such that the ban only extended to imported products that were coated with PFAS, not imported products that contained PFAS inside the products.

Why it matters: Political officials at the White House significantly altered an EPA guidance document so that it no longer aligned with the best available science on chemical safety. PFAS chemicals are associated with a number of health harms, including certain cancers, reproductive problems, and immunological dysfunctions. Because PFAS-containing materials degrade over time, the exposure risk is present even when PFAS is located inside a product. As a result, the White House’s actions likely endangered the health and safety of people across the US.

Learn more about how the White House weakened the EPA’s guidance document that would have banned the import of all PFAS-containing products.