CERCLA Priority Pollutants Pollutant Category

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) hazardous substances are substances that are considered severely harmful to human health and the environment. Many are commonly used substances which are harmless in their normal uses, but are quite dangerous when released. They are defined in terms of those substances either specifically designated as hazardous under the Superfund law, or those substances identified under other laws.

Superfund's definition of a hazardous substance includes the following:

  • Any element, compound, mixture, solution, or substance designated as hazardous under section 102 of CERCLA.
  • Any hazardous substance designated under section 311(b)(2)(a) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), or any toxic pollutant listed under section 307(a) of the CWA. There are over 400 substances designated as either hazardous or toxic under the CWA.
  • Any hazardous waste having the characteristics identified or listed under section 3001 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Any hazardous air pollutant listed under section 112 of the Clean Air Act, as amended. There are over 200 substances listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act (CAA).
  • Any imminently hazardous chemical substance or mixture which the EPA Administrator has "taken action under" section 7 of the Toxic SubstancesControl Act.