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US Firms Exploiting Trump-Era Loophole Over Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

Chemical companies are dodging a federal law designed to track how many PFAS “forever chemicals” their plants are discharging into the environment by exploiting a loophole created in the Trump administration’s final months, a new analysis of federal records has found.

The Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act put in place requirements that companies discharging over 100lb annually of the dangerous chemicals report the releases to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But during the implementation process, Trump’s EPA created an unusual loophole that at least five chemical companies have exploited.

The amount of PFAS being discharged into the air, water or disposed of on land “could be much higher than we already know”, said Jared Hayes, a policy analyst with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and a report co-author.

“Allowing manufacturers to skirt reporting requirements has serious public health consequences for communities that live near facilities that use PFAS and they have a right to know how many forever chemicals companies are releasing,” he wrote.