Waterkeeper Alliance Endorses New PFAS Accountability Act that Promises to Hold Manufacturers Responsible for ‘Forever Chemicals’ - Waterkeeper

Waterkeeper Alliance Endorses New PFAS Accountability Act that Promises to Hold Manufacturers Responsible for ‘Forever Chemicals’

By: Waterkeeper Alliance

Photo credit: Francesco Scatena | Shutterstock

Waterkeeper Alliance proudly endorses the PFAS Accountability Act, which was introduced today in the House and Senate by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representative Madeleine Dean (D-PA). This important legislation aims to hold manufacturers responsible by advancing essential new measures to crack down on Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) pollution through new monitoring, accountability, and incentive programs.

Since at least the 1950s, PFAS have been widely used in manufacturing and are found in many consumer, commercial, and industrial products. These pervasive compounds are more commonly known as ‘forever chemicals’ as they do not break down over time. Instead, they are widespread and can accumulate in people, wildlife, and the environment —  with an alarming presence found in surface water, air, soil, food, and many commercial materials. In 2022, a Waterkeeper Alliance study found at least one type of PFAS in 83% of 114 waterways tested across the country. Scientific studies increasingly link these toxic chemicals to serious health conditions such as cancer, liver and kidney disease, reproductive issues, immunodeficiencies, and hormonal disruptions.

Marc Yaggi, CEO, Waterkeeper Alliance released the following statement:

“We applaud and endorse Senator Gillibrand’s and Representative Dean’s PFAS Accountability Act, which takes critical steps to finally hold polluting industries accountable for dangerous, toxic PFAS exposure in our waterways and communities. It is past time that our country puts the people whose health has been jeopardized by exposure to these compounds ahead of irresponsible manufacturers that are guided by their bottom line.This bill would ensure the public has tools to monitor for PFAS exposure, give industry incentives to develop new safety measures, and ensure stronger safeguards are in place to keep our communities and waterways safe from the dangers of PFAS exposure going forward. We urge Congress to follow the lead of Senator Gillibrand and Representative Dean by advancing this legislation as soon as possible.”

In a related action, Waterkeeper Alliance also submitted a letter—signed by 63 local Waterkeeper groups and 47 other conservation organizations—to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today in support of a petition to include PFAS, pesticides, and nearly 1,000 other chemicals in its Clean Water Act (CWA) toxic pollutants list. Last updated in 1976, the list does not include thousands of chemicals and substances that have been introduced to the market and are regularly discharged into U.S. waterways.

Updating the toxic pollutants list, which EPA admits is both important and out-of-date, will unlock key environmental safeguards under the CWA, including industrial sector guidelines, sewage collection chemical standards, and water quality criteria.