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Patching a Persistent Problem: PFAS and RCRA’s Citizen Suit Provision

November 2020

Citation: 50 ELR 10896

Issue: 11

Author: Paul Quackenbush

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a toxic, environmentally persistent class of chemicals that have been used widely in consumer products. Despite growing evidence of adverse health effects associated with PFAS exposure, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not yet promulgated a legally enforceable standard for any of the individual chemicals in the PFAS group. This has resulted in largely unrestricted disposal of PFAS waste and dispersal of these persistent chemicals throughout the environment. This Article presents the legal case for applying §7002(a)(1)(B) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to PFAS waste, and argues that this citizen suit provision has the potential to become a powerful tool to address PFAS in the absence of significant federal regulatory action.

Paul Quackenbush is a 2021 J.D. candidate at Vermont Law School. He holds an M.S. in Geological Sciences from the University of Southern California.

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