By Anna Maria Stebbins, Advocacy Legal Intern
The Senate has the chance to pass an important bill that would require the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, highly toxic, man-made chemicals more commonly referred to as “PFAS.” After years of intentional cover-ups by industry and inaction by the government, these chemicals are now causing widespread drinking water contamination and are linked to a wide range of serious health issues. Despite growing knowledge about the dangers of PFAS, EPA has yet to take any meaningful action.
Please join us in supporting a federal bill that would direct EPA to regulate these dangerous chemicals!
PFAS are used to manufacture a range of goods, including non-stick cookware, stain-resistant clothing, firefighting foam, and dental floss. Despite their toxicity, there is no meaningful federal regulation of their disposal and use. Furthermore, PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they break down very slowly. This combination has led to these dangerous chemicals being found in drinking water throughout the United States. All people have some level of PFAS in their bodies. The health issues linked to these chemicals include fertility problems, reduced immune system function, and cancer.
On January 10, 2019, the bill “PFAS Action Act of 2019” (H.R. 535) passed the House of Representatives. This bill would direct EPA to take important steps towards regulating PFAS and cleaning up existing contamination. The “PFAS Action Act of 2019” classifies two types of PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), as hazardous substances. This allows EPA to use funds to clean up certain sites contaminated by PFOA and PFOS and hold responsible companies accountable. Additionally, the bill would require EPA to set standards for the amount of PFOA and PFOS that can be found in drinking water and set limits for the amount of PFAS that companies can release into the air. Finally, the PFAS Action Act of 2019 takes the much-needed first steps towards stopping the manufacturing and releases of PFAS to prevent future contamination. The bill would require EPA to impose a five-year moratorium on the development of new PFAS chemicals, and require testing of PFAS to evaluate the hazards posed by these substances to our water, air, land, and health.
The Senate has yet to vote on its version of the bill (S. 638). Furthermore, the Senate version does not currently include all of the protections in the House bill. Therefore, we are asking you to reach out to your Senator today and ask them to pass a Senate bill that is identical to H.R. 535.
Please join us in protecting your health and the environment from dangerous PFAS by taking action today!