House Passes Bill Addressing PFAS Contamination

On Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives again passed a multifaceted bill, the PFAS Action Act, aimed at addressing contamination from PFAS or “forever chemicals” which have reportedly contaminated many water sources and military bases in the country. 

To address some of these issues, the bill would provide incentives to limit the use of PFAS, which are currently used in firefighting foam and for non-stick and weatherproof items, and incentivize addressing PFAS in community water systems. The bill would also require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to add PFAS to its hazardous substances list and do additional evaluations and determine if they should be considered toxic substances under the Clean Water Act. 

When a similar PFAS bill passed in the House in January 2020, sponsor of both bills, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) said, “let’s be very clear, PFAS is an urgent public health and environmental threat. And the number of contamination sites nationwide is growing at an alarming rate … It is time these chemicals are properly designated as hazardous substances under the EPA’s Superfund program. Doing this will accelerate the clean-up process.” 

After its passage, the PFAS Action Act was sent to the Senate where it will be considered next. 

PFAS contamination has led to multiple lawsuits, recently, Delaware reached a $50 million settlement with agrochemical companies to address PFAS contamination they allegedly caused in the state through manufacturing. 

The Food And Drug Administration has also been involved in addressing and evaluating PFAS, and was asked by groups in June to eliminate the presence of PFAS in food. Shortly after this request, the FDA said in a press release that it had found that PFAS are not at sufficient levels in food to cause a health risk, although reports did show some higher levels in some samples of fish and ground turkey.