Textile Insight

Winter 2023

Issue link: https://viewer.e-digitaledition.com/i/1492065

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Page 33 of 43

I n January 2022, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) targeted the textile industry when it identified more than 1,500 textile mills that may be problem PFAS polluters in EWG's analysis of 29,900 U.S. industrial sites. e focus on PFAS pollution and the textile industry is global. In 2021, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) published "Engaging the Textile Industry as a Key Sector in SAICM: A Review of PFAS as a Chemical Class in the Textile Sector." e Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) named the textile industry as one of its four priority sectors, reporting that "more than 8,000 chemical substances are potentially used in the textile industry" and that "a significant portion of PFAS in manufacturing waste streams are released into industrial wastewater treatment plants" that cannot adequately capture PFAS. PFAS regulations abound, and more is expected. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said it will issue a final rule designating perfluorooctanoic (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), two of the most common PFAS compounds, as "Hazardous Substances" under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), a k a Superfund, this summer. e ruling would create "cradle-to-grave" requirements of PFOA and PFOS, authorizing the EPA to order investigations and remediation of sites impacted by the compounds and to recover costs incurred for remediation. In October 2021, the EPA said it would initiate the process to add PFOA, PFOS, Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS), and hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (commonly known as GenX) as "Hazardous Constituents" under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which would lead to site investigations, remediation actions, and increased waste management recordkeeping and costs. In the meantime, the EPA released a memorandum on April 28, 2022, stating that it would use the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program established by the Clean Water Act "to restrict PFAS discharges to water bodies." e EPA issues all NPDES permits in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories (except the Virgin WITH FOREVER CHEMICALS IN THE SPOTLIGHT, PERFORMANCE BECOMES AN ISSUE. BY AMY PHILLIPS TECHNOLOGY / CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT 34 • Textile Insight ~ Winter 2023 textileinsight.com PFAS PROBLEM PFAS: RISKS & REGULATIONS PFAS is a family of synthetic chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances used in manufacturing textiles with water and oil repellency, odor and stain resistance and antimicrobial properties. These "forever chemicals," don't naturally degrade, and are now found in the water, soil, air and human bodies around the world.

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